RI Foundation Awards $280,000 in Grants to Promote a Healthier Rhode Island

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation is marking a 10-year collaboration with the Rhode Island Foundation by contributing an additional $1.6 million, raising its total contributions to $4.9 million. The contribution came as Harvard Pilgrim joined the Foundation in announcing the latest round of grants – nearly $280,000 for everything from launching an urgent care pediatric psychiatric clinic to training nurses to deliver home health care to the state’s aging population.

“Developing an inclusive primary care system that promotes healthy lives is one of our core strategic initiatives. These grants will advance our continuing efforts to make quality health care more accessible and affordable,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

The Foundation awarded the grants through a fund created in partnership with Harvard Pilgrim in 2010. The goal is to promote the development of an effective primary health care system in the state.

“Philanthropic support can provide the seed funding necessary to take innovative programs like these to the next level,” said Karen Voci, president of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. “I am proud to announce that we are making a final $1.6 million contribution to the Rhode Island Foundation. The contribution caps a long partnership that has generated nearly $2.3 million in grants for health and health care across Rhode Island,” she said.

That new funding will enhance the Foundation’s capacity to invest in projects, programs and organizations that support health and healthcare in Rhode Island. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year as part of the Foundation’s general health-related grant-making.

The latest round of grants are being awarded to the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) in Cranston, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Rhode Island Center for Justice, Thundermist Health Center and the VNA of Care New England.

GCRI Members Partner on Arts Advocacy Workshop

In the arts community, there are many overlapping policy issues — from the need for affordable housing, investment in arts and afterschool programming as well as the need for financial literacy to create a more stable existence for many artists and those they serve.

United Way of Rhode Island worked with Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and the City of Providence to train over 40 artists and arts supporters at “Arts Trifecta: Advocacy 101.”

United Way is planning on a continued partnership with the arts and culture funders around advocacy training and intersectional social issues.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $315,000 to 3 RI Organizations

As part of a $1.9 million effort to support age friendly communities in New England, Tufts Health Plan Foundation has awarded $315,000 to three Rhode Island organizations.

Recipients included Rhode Island Parent Information Network for senior wellness programs, Rhode Island Public Health Institute for its “Food on the Move” mobile markets, and Saint Elizabeth Community for its supportive housing program for seniors.

“Each community has its own unique needs. Tufts Health Plan Foundation focuses resources in communities that want to achieve age-friendly practices that are relevant, focus on underrepresented communities and engage older people in the process,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “We are proud to support organizations that are responding to the needs of older people in their communities.”

Power Sharing Among Grantees and Funders Materials Available from FCCP

GCRI partner, Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP), recently hosted a webinar on Power Sharing as part of their Summer Equity and Power Sharing series.

Slides and a recording of the program are now available. Thanks to FCCP for making this available to the Forum network, and thanks to Lori Villarosa of Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) for walking funders through how philanthropy can intentionally tackle the realities of racism and connect these threads to present day grantmaking practices, as well as to Jennifer Epps-Addison with The Center for Popular Democracy, Dana Kawaoka-Chen with Justice Funders, Dimple Abichandani with General Service Foundation, and Farhad Ebrahimi with Chorus Foundation for addressing power sharing and grantmaking strategies that can change the who, what, and how of support through integrating a racial equity lens.

RI Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence Offers Programs to Build Nonprofit Capacity

RI Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence Offers Programs to Build Nonprofit Capacity

Rhode Island Foundation will be offering capacity building workshops for nonprofits through its Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence (INE).  INE workshops enable nonprofit staff, board members, and volunteers to learn skills and techniques that will enable them to better achieve their mission.

Topics include grantwriting, fund development and Board development.

More information


Blue Cross and Rhode Island Foundation Honor Nonprofit Best Practices

Blue Cross and Rhode Island Foundation Honor Nonprofit Best Practices

GCRI members Rhode Island Foundation and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island ended 2017 by recognizing exemplary nonprofit initiatives across the state.

“Our recipients emerged from a highly competitive process and an impressive group of nominees,” said Jill Pfitzenmayer, vice president of the Rhode Island Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence.  “There is something in each of their remarkable achievements that can help any nonprofit become even more effective.

Winners were recognized for their outstanding practices in the areas of Collaboration, Communications, Innovation, Leadership and Volunteer Engagement, working on projects ranging from cutting emergency room admissions to addressing the sexual exploitation of children.

“Supporting the best practice awards is a great fit for Blue Cross,” said BCBSRI Managing Director of Community Relations Carolyn Belisle. “We applaud all the award recipients for their efforts to address critical needs in our state, and we admire their commitment to implement best-in-class ways to deliver their programs and services. The work of these important organizations makes a difference to all Rhode Islanders.”

The winners received $1,000 grants, promotional videos highlighting their work and tuition waivers to any of the Foundation’s professional development workshop or seminar in the next 12 months.

Winning organizations were Foster Forward (Innovation); the Hattie Ide Chaffee Home (Communications); Clinica Esperanza (Volunteer Engagement); Day One (Collaboration Award); and Trinity Repertory Company (Leadership).

Investing in Nonprofit Staff: Fund the People’s Field Story Webinars

Investing in Nonprofit Staff:  Fund the People’s Field Story Webinars

GCRI’s Nonprofit Capacity Building Catalyst Group seeks to build nonprofit sustainability, including nonprofit leadership development and staff capacity building.  Our Forum partner, Fund the People, is presenting two “field story” webinar opportunities to learn from funders who have implemented different models of investing in nonprofit staff.

On November 17, New York Community Trust will present its Leadership Fellows Program, and other talent investing practices, and on December 12, Community Memorial Foundation in Illinois will be sharing how it holistically invests in strengthening nonprofit professionals and organizations, as well as the impact the foundation’s talent investments have on the effectiveness of Aging Care Connections.

These are two valuable opportunities to learn from peers in other regions, and will help inform our Catalyst Group work here in Rhode Island.

Forum Partner Events

One of the benefits of being a member of United Philanthropy Forum is access to content experts and funders from around the country.

Here are a few upcoming events sponsored by Forum members.  See links for registration and fee information.

Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP)

Relationships Matter:  Strong Funder-Grantee Relationships Webinar — November 16

What is a strong funder-grantee relationship — and what does it take to form one with your grantees?  Join CEP for a data-driven discussion of why funder-grantee relationships are so important to foundation effectiveness — and what areas in which program staff should focus to build and maintain strong ones. In the webinar, CEP Vice President, Research, Ellie Buteau will share findings from not-yet-released CEP research, followed by an interactive discussion with a panel of highly rated program officers about their experiences building relationships with their grantees, facilitated by CEP President Phil Buchanan.  Attendees will have ample opportunity to ask questions to the presenters and can expect to come away with a clear picture of what the data shows to constitute a strong funder-grantee relationship, as well as best practices to apply to their work at their own foundation.  More information and registration

Exponent Philanthropy

Great Funder-Nonprofit Relationships Webinar — November 9

What makes a great funder-nonprofit relationship?  Over the course of 2017, Exponent Philanthropy, in collaboration with the National Council of Nonprofits, explored that question along with funders and nonprofits from around the country.  This webinar will share findings, lessons learned, and practical strategies.  The session will cover funder and nonprofit feedback on building trust, leaning into discomfort, and navigating the power dynamics inherent in grantmaking, as well as ways to cultivate great relationships between funders and nonprofits.  More info and registration

Impact Investing:  From Concept to Reality Webinar — November 1

Through stories and examples, learn how Foundations have aligned their investment portfolios with their philanthropic missions.  This webinar was created for foundations that are beginning to explore impact investing, or for Foundations looking for ways to advance their impact investing program.  Topics will include fantasy versus reality: what can foundations expect out of an impact investing program in the first couple of years; helping trustees explore and define impact; how to implement impact investing into a portfolio; examples of customizing investment strategies to align with mission; costs associated with an impact investing program; and questions and discussion points to bring back to your trustees, or to your investment advisor.  More info and registration

Fund the People

Fund the People is offering a series of webinar case studies on the value of investing in nonprofit staff development. 

New York Community Trust Field Story Webinar — November 17
The webinar will provide a deeper understanding of The New York Community Trust’s values, philosophy, and talent-investing practices, with a focus on the impact talent-investing has on graduates of the Leadership Fellows Program, and their nonprofit organizations.  More info and registration

Community Memorial Foundation Field Story Webinar — December 12
Explore how the Illinois-based Community Memorial Foundation holistically invests in strengthening nonprofit professionals and organizations, as well as the impact the foundation’s talent-investments have on the effectiveness of Aging Care Connections. More info and registration

Funders Committee for Civic Participation

Key 2020 Census Milestones:  Preparing to Invest in a Fair and Accurate Count — November 16

Join us to learn more about important milestones before and during the 2020 Census, and ways your foundation can support “Get Out the Count” activities, including participation in state and local Complete Count Committees.  Co-sponsors:  United Philanthropy Forum, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Funders Together to End Homelessness  More info and registration

Health and Environmental Funders Network (HEFN)

Charting a Climate, Health and Equity Agenda:  Investing in Those Most Impacted to Improve Health and the Environment — November 14 

View the agenda and register.

HEFN’s 2017 Annual Meeting, “Rewriting the Rules: Opportunities for Health and Environmental Justice in Disruptive Times”  — November 15-16

View the agenda for the 2017 HEFN Annual Meeting and register.

Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers

Philanthropy and Racial Equity: Race Matters/Responsive in Black Communities Training — November 30

This training, derived from the Race Matters Toolkit, presents a valuable framework that has guided and informed ABAG’s work since it was first offered to ABAG’s Board, Staff and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee in April 2013. This training is designed to increase grantmakers’ understanding of key concepts and definitions for racial equity and three specific tools used for applying a racial equity lens to grantmaking.

Non-ABAG member grantmakers are invited to attend this workshop for a fee of $100.00.

Cox Opens Four New Tech Centers in Rhode Island

GCRI Member Cox Communications and the James M. Cox Foundation’s $100,000 grants helped launch four new Cox Technology Centers at Boys & Girls Club in Cumberland, East Providence, Newport and Woonsocket.  The centers are part of a $650,000 initiative to create 22 new Cox Technology Centers across the U.S.

The new clubs will provide high-speed internet bandwidth, along with the equipment and educational resources required for the Boys & Girls Club’s computer program, including tablets, cameras, laptops and creative suite software.  The centers are intended to provide access to technology and training for children who may not receive either through their homes or school programs.


“The simple fact is this: club kids are learning in ways we never thought possible, and stand to benefit from advanced training and technology at an early age,” said Gene Bailey, director of organizational development for Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Providence Business News. “The investments made by the James M. Cox Foundation and Cox Communications will be felt for generations to come, as club members tackle new challenges both within our Technology Centers and beyond.”

Since 2002, Cox has contributed more than $250,000 for 11 Technology Centers at Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Rhode Island, and more than $1.5 million in cash and in-kind support for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rhode Island and Connecticut. (Providence Business News, 8/2/17)

Rhode Island Foundation and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI Team Up to Recognize Nonprofit Excellence

Nonprofit organizations have until July 24 to apply for the Rhode Island Foundation’s 2017 Best Practice Awards. Winners will receive a $1,000 grant, a promotional video highlighting their work and tuition waivers for professional development workshops.

“This is a powerful way for nonprofits to showcase their innovative work while sharing achievements that have the potential to be of widespread value to other organizations,” said Jill Pfitzenmayer, vice president of the Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence (INE).

Sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the annual awards program recognizes outstanding practices by Rhode Island nonprofit organizations in the areas of advocacy, communication, innovation, leadership development and collaboration. The application and full details are posted here.