Champlin Foundation Awards $9.6 Million to Nonprofits Statewide

The Champlin Foundation announced more than $9.6 million in capital funding to 87 nonprofit organizations across the state.  Nonprofits receiving funding in this cycle serve Rhode Islanders of all ages across youth services, healthcare, arts and culture, and beyond. Among the recipients are 12 first-time grantees. 

The Champlin Foundation specifically supports capital improvements across nine areas of focus: arts and culture, conservation and parks, education, healthcare, historic preservation and heritage, libraries, social services, youth services, and welfare of animals. Every area is represented in this round of funding. Total giving by the Foundation will be supplemented with a second round of grants in fall 2022. 

The funding includes three $1 million awards, given to the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum, Crossroads Rhode Island, and the Boys and Girls Club of Providence.   It is unusual for Champlin to award three grants of this size in one cycle, but it speaks to both the tremendous need in the nonprofit community and the leadership and commitment of the grantees.  

The Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum is preparing to build a comprehensive, four-building campus on 18 acres of rural University of Rhode Island land in South Kingstown that honors the region’s Indigenous history with a new museum, robust archives, a maker’s space, as well as a building for educational programming. 

In the face of an urgent statewide affordable housing crisis, Champlin awarded a $1 million grant to Crossroads Rhode Island, the leading provider of homeless services. The organization’s main headquarters, which is the epicenter of service and support for the more than 1,100 Rhode Islanders who face housing insecurity on any given day, is in need of significant exterior restoration and repair.  

The third and final $1 million grant in this cycle is going to the Boys and Girls Club of Providence, which plans to renovate and expand its Wanskuck Clubhouse. The branch opened in 1927 and has been providing recreational activities and educational programming to the young people of the city’s North End ever since. The Boys and Girls Club of Providence is also a longstanding grantee, having received the first of what has been an annual grant from The Champlin Foundation in 1958. 

In addition to the three mentioned, grants supporting other transformational projects were awarded to Teatro ECAS, which is building out a larger theater in the Valley Arts District; Save the Bay, which is moving its Newport aquarium to a greatly expanded new Downtown space; Revive the Roots in Smithfield, which is acquiring land and the historic Mowry house; and a grant to CCRI that will completely update the Dental Hygiene program’s equipment at the Lincoln campus.  

 The full list of grantees and their awards is available on the Champlin website

Blue Cross Fuels Innovative Mobile Food Markets

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has established a partnership with Elisha Project, a food rescue organization that prevents food waste while supplying nutritious foods to Rhode Islanders experiencing food insecurity.

“This is an exciting new partnership for us,” said Managing Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Carolyn Belisle. “Elisha’s mission dovetails perfectly with our goal of comprehensive health and well-being for all Rhode Islanders. Access to healthy food is a critical driver of whole health, and Blue Cross is committed to increasing access to nutrition and other resources Rhode Islanders need to achieve their best health.”

Elisha Project Co-Founder George Ortiz concurred. “We are not a traditional food pantry,” he said. “Elisha focuses on rescuing fresh foods, especially protein, vegetables, and fruits, foods that are in scarce supply for the people who need them most. We recognize the tremendous health benefits of eating fresh food. People who are struggling socio-economically are often relegated to eating pre-packaged and inexpensive food high in sugar and saturated fats. These limited options can lead to dangerous health conditions like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Fresh, nutritious food is expensive. With its emphasis on keeping Rhode Islanders healthy, Blue Cross is a logical – and welcome – partner for the Project.”

The Project distributes food through its monthly share markets, which are currently held as drive-up events. Dates for the share markets for the remainder of 2022 are the following Saturdays (locations are not yet final except for the market on 4/30 at 786 Elmwood Avenue in Providence):  7/16, 8/20, 9/17, 10/22, 11/19, and 12/24. Each family of four can be expected to receive approximately 25 lbs. of nutritious, fresh food including protein, fruits, and vegetables, in addition to other needed household items like diapers and personal care items. Recipients can also find recipe cards in English and Spanish, to provide suggestions for preparing the food they receive.

The Project depends on volunteers to pack boxes and bags for share markets, to drive trucks and perform other tasks. In the past three years, more than 150,000 people have followed the Project on its three social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – where the Project also recruits its volunteers – and every market “sells out.” At the March 23 market, more than 45,000 pounds of food and other items were distributed. “We had nothing left over,” notes Ortiz.

In addition to BCBSRI, the Project partners with local colleges and universities and local businesses. A longstanding partner is Seven Stars Bakery, which loans the Project warehouse space in Pawtucket.

GCRI Members CVS Health, Hasbro, Verizon Ranked in Top 100 Best Corporate Citizens Nationally

Each year, 3BL Media evaluates the largest public US companies on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, as well as transparency.  CVS Health was ranked 18, Hasbro was ranked 78, and Verizon was 83.

Congratulations to all three, and thank you for the ways that you not only lead nationally, but invest locally.

Since its launch in 1999, the ranking has become increasingly competitive as companies strengthen their ESG disclosures and elevate their performance.  The 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking serves as a valuable benchmark for companies working to improve their ESG transparency and performance. As the global community embarks on a decisive new decade, 3BL Media’s goal is for companies to step up efforts to achieve the transformational targets laid out in the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals and address social and racial inequities exposed during the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement.

RI Foundation, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI Recognize Effective Nonprofits

The Rhode Island Foundation honored three nonprofit organizations with its annual Best Practice Awards. The work that is being honored includes an initiative to support Latino-owned small businesses and a community gardening program that grew one ton of fresh produce for a local food pantry.

Sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the award program recognizes outstanding practices by Rhode Island nonprofit organizations in the area of collaboration, with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion.

The three recipients will each receive $5,000 grants in recognition of their achievements.

The Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown was honored for its “Good Gardens Program,” which focuses on growing produce for the food pantry at Newport’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center. In 2021, over a ton of fresh fruit and vegetables was donated.  The initiative is a collaboration with the MLK Center and the URI Master Gardeners. It includes a summer program that introduces kids to gardening.

The Woonsocket Afterschool Coalition was honored for doubling the number of school children receiving services. The Riverzedge Arts Project is one of six nonprofit organizations that comprise the coalition.

The Coalition aims to increase the number of students receiving services by an additional 4,000 in the next three years. The other partners are the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northern R.I., the Community Care Alliance, Connecting for Children and Families, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley and the Woonsocket YMCA.

The Rhode Island Israel Collaborative in Providence was honored for its R.I. Latino Biz Web Design Project, which matched skilled local students with Latino-owned businesses in Rhode Island to create websites in order to keep up with the move to e-commerce during COVID-19.

In partnership with the R.I. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 31 Latino-owned businesses were paired with students from Providence College and other local colleges to create websites using Israeli WIX, a cloud-based, web development platform located in Israel. The Israel General Consulate to the New England and other donors helped fund the project.

 

Citizens Bank Awards Financial Education Grants

Citizens Bank recently awarded $150,000 in grants to twelve Rhode Island nonprofits to support financial literacy programs, as part of the bank’s Citizens Helping Citizens Manage Money program.

Recipients included Amos House, Connecting for Children and Families, Crossroads Rhode Island, Genesis Center, Institute for Labor Studies & Research, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Junior Achievement of Rhode Island, Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corporation, Progreso Latino, The FLY Initiative, United Way of Rhode Island, and Woonsocket Neighborhood Development Corp.

 

Jewish Alliance Raises $250,000 in Ukraine Aid

The Jewish Alliance announced that the Jewish community has raised close to $250,000 to be sent oversees to partners on the frontlines, such as the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee working in eastern Europe supporting Ukrainians in need.

The money will be used by relief organizations in eastern Europe to purchase humanitarian supplies for Ukrainian refugees, such as food, medications, clothing, and hygiene supplies, as well as housing within Ukraine and within bordering countries. The alliance has a partnership with the Jewish Community Center in Warsaw, Poland, that is currently aiding Ukrainian refugees.

Papitto Opportunity Connection Commits $1 Million to Nonprofit Capacity Initiative

The vision shared by local nonprofits and led by United Way of Rhode Island to create a statewide Nonprofit Resource Center has received a major boost in the form of a $1 million commitment from the Papitto Opportunity Connection (POC). The funding will help United Way accelerate the development of the business model of what will be a central, multi-faceted entity aimed at strengthening the state’s nonprofit sector as a whole, and will be spread across four years.

United Way announced plans to establish a nonprofit resource hub in late January and placed a call for applicants to serve on the Design Team that will help guide its creation. The initiative will serve the state’s entire nonprofit ecosystem and work to enhance its capacity while prioritizing the needs and perspectives of BIPOC-led and other small and mid-size nonprofits. Programming may include training, advocacy, visibility, and research to advance organizational resiliency and infrastructure.

United Way also received funding from Rhode Island Commerce Corporation as part of their Network Matching Grant program, which was designed to build support systems for Rhode Island’s small business community.

Guest Post — The War in Ukraine Requires a Major Philanthropic Response and Overall Increase in Peace and Security Funding

Originally published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 1, 2022

“The Molotov cocktails are the worst,” says my 99-year-old grandmother, reflecting on the violence erupting in her homeland of Ukraine. She remembers dodging them in the streets of Odessa as she fled invaders eight decades ago. “But,” she sighs during our weekly Skype chat from her home in Germany, “what can we actually do at this point?”

The short answer for everyone, but especially philanthropy, is quite a lot.

First, grant makers must respond to the immediate humanitarian crisis in Ukraine by providing much-needed rapid-response funds to help those on the ground. Millions of people are likely to need shelter, food, water, and medical care. Foundations and individual donors that can give rapid-response grants should connect with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy or their philanthropy colleagues who are in direct touch with Ukrainian grantee partners and who can most effectively channel funds to meet immediate needs.

Grant makers that have not established flexible-funding approaches should take this opportunity to embrace the notion that timely philanthropy is the most effective philanthropy — especially during a crisis.

Pushing Back on Misinformation

Second, philanthropy can play an important role in pushing back on the warmongering, misinformation-driven narrative woven into the conflict itself and the debate surrounding it. Much has been written about Russia’s use of disinformation in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and, most recently, its characterizations of Ukraine and its government. In both cases, Russian disinformation was amplified by conservative news outlets and politicians in this country, fueling the partisanship that stands in the way of genuine policy debate and consensus building. Such misinformation also feeds narratives that peace, diplomacy, and compromise are weak.

One of the most effective ways grant makers can respond is by supporting independent journalism and analysis that counters these narratives. For example, the 762 Project, which is run by volunteers in Ukraine and elsewhere, has been collecting, analyzing, and posting information about the buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders since last spring. Supporting local news sources in Ukraine, such as the English-language news site the Kyiv Independent, is especially important to ensuring that propaganda from outlets like the Kremlin-funded RT and social-media misinformation campaigns don’t drive decision making about the invasion.

Bolster Peace and Security Funding

Finally, philanthropy must increase its investment in peace and security broadly, and diversify who receives that funding. Without meaning to sound insensitive, this step is more important and more difficult than the short-term response to the war in Ukraine. It is the only way to achieve lasting peace and security in both Ukraine and future conflicts — and to identify and spotlight innovative, peace-focused solutions.

Peace and security funding accounts for just 1 percent of all grant making, which is as lopsided as the funding disparity between the State Department and the Department of Defense. The State Department’s $65 billion budget is 1 percent of the overall federal budget, while the Defense Department’s is 10 times that, or $773 billion. In a recent op-ed about American militarism, Patrick Hiller, director of the War Prevention Initiative at the Jubitz Family Foundation, noted that “diplomacy is the sidekick of the U.S. war machine when it comes to relations with the rest of the world.” Is it any wonder that diplomacy doesn’t have much of a fighting chance?

The 57 members of the Peace and Security Funders Group, which I manage, make up a passionate and strategic bunch, but we struggle to get adequate funding for our issues. Why?

During my 14 years of working in this area, I’ve heard three perennial reasons from grant makers for avoiding peace work:

Peace is a long-term investment, with payout measured in decades, and boards lack the vision and patience to stay the course when there aren’t quick wins to showcase at quarterly meetings.  Peace work can feel too political because many of the issues involve policy or legislation.  It’s difficult to claim credit for avoiding a future nuclear terrorist attack or for preventing a conflict that would have happened absent locally led peace-building efforts.

In reality, hundreds of examples demonstrate how investing in peace building can stop or reduce conflict. And, as the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to investments in peace versus war. As for those concerned about crossing too far into direct political involvement or lobbying, there are many options in the advocacy toolbox that both grant makers and nonprofits can deploy to effectively and legally engage in this work.

The peace and security arena is itself at a crossroads. One foundation colleague of mine often jokes that the field is mostly “pale, male, and stale.” Some have called the lack of diversity a national security crisis, and myriad initiatives are pushing for more diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism efforts. For instance, the nonprofit group Organizations in Solidarity “seeks to diversify the fields of peace and security, foreign policy, and national security,” with the goal of making the work more inclusive and equitable.

The field is beginning to grapple with a toxic culture that dismisses new ideas, as well as its role in upholding a white dominant system that favors solutions for only some of the world’s people. This is necessary and long overdue. As philanthropist and financier Frank Giustra observed, “Without peace and security, you can forget about advancing any of the other social issues philanthropy is trying to address. … It’s impossible to implement solutions in issue areas like health, education, and poverty unless you have a peaceful and stable environment to work in.”

The tragic and unnecessary war in Ukraine is unlikely to end anytime soon — and philanthropy has no excuse for sitting on the sidelines. Funds should be directed toward immediate humanitarian needs while also supporting organizations that are charting a more inclusive, equitable, and just path forward. We all need to learn to talk about peace in a way that’s empowering, inspiring, and radically feminist. For those grant makers who aren’t yet in the peace game, this is your chance. We have an opportunity to change history’s trajectory and prevent another devastating war.

Philanthropic Efforts to Help Those Impacted by War in Ukraine

As we think about the people of Ukraine, dealing with the impact of a Russian invasion, and for those who have been displaced or injured by the fighting, the philanthropic community is mobilizing to provide support.

  • Our colleagues at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy have developed a Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis page with some initial information for funders to keep in mind on how they can help, and they note that they will continue to update this information as needs come into greater focus.  CDP has also established the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Recovery Fund, which will focus on addressing humanitarian needs that arise, particularly among the most vulnerable, marginalized and at-risk internally-displaced peoples (IDPs) and refugees.
  • The Philanthropy Europe Foundation (Philea) is tracking information and responses to the crisis here.
  • CARE has established a Ukraine Crisis Fund to reach 4 million with immediate aid and recovery, food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and cash assistance – prioritizing women and girls, families, and the elderly.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross is seeking donations to support its work to respond to the Ukraine crisis.
  • The Council on Foundations has put together a response page, including statements and relief funds from the field and our members.
  • Our sister organization, Human Rights Funders Network has shared that you can:
  • Support women, trans, and nonbinary activists on the ground through Urgent Action Fund’s Urgent Response Fund: Ukraine;
  • Donate directly to queer and young feminist organizations;

Philanthropy Roundtable has suggested the following additional organizations:

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation, based in Ukraine, directs donors to standforukraine.com to support local relief efforts.

The Ukrainian Institute in London shares the following options of organizations supporting Ukraine:

  • Support Ukraine NOW – Worldwide network with resources for donating, protesting, and volunteering. The website includes country specific tips for over 20 countries.
    With Ukraine, is a special fund to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine’s civilian population established by the Embassy of Ukraine in the UK
    The UNHCR Refugee Agency emergency appeal to help ensure that Ukrainians forced to flee their homes are sheltered and safe.
    The Red Cross have established a Ukraine Crisis Appeal to provide food, water, first aid, medicine, warm clothes, and shelter.
    Defend Ukraine have collated a list of fundraisers, charities, and donation links in support of Ukraine, covering financial and humanitarian aid, medical supplies, and military support.
    The Ukraine Crisis Media Center has published a list of recommendations of charities in Ukraine to support.
    Ukraine Charity, London: humanitarian appeal – Ukraine Charity are a UK registered charity.
    The Kyiv Independent needs support to continue reporting on the ground from Ukraine.
    In the US, Razom for Ukraine and Nova Ukraine are raising money for Emergency Response.

BankNewport 2021 Philanthropic Efforts Resulted in Over $1.2 Million Awarded to Over 350 RI Nonprofits

BankNewport announced that its 2021 philanthropic efforts resulted in over $1.2 million awarded to over 350 nonprofits in Rhode Island. The donations include all grants, sponsorships, community contributions from local branches, and year-end proactive and holiday support totaling $74,000 to nonprofits that meet basic needs for the underserved throughout Rhode Island.

Organizations in every county of Rhode Island benefitted from the giving effort, with areas of impact focused on basic human needs, children & families, education, economic security, healthy living, arts and culture and the environment. Over the past 11 years, BankNewport has awarded $7 million in grants, sponsorships, and donations to a wide range of nonprofits to help strengthen and enrich lives and communities throughout the state.

Financial education and community involvement by Bank employees in 2021 totaled over 7,300 hours. Through BNWise, BankNewport’s financial education program, over 2,500 students and community members were engaged in interactive financial education presentations on a variety of topics, from saving and budgeting to credit and entrepreneurship, which were made available in-person and virtually.

BankNewport also presented two high profile campaigns generating statewide awareness of food insecurity and for those organizations serving Rhode Island’s homeless population: Kind Souls Full Bowls benefitted the with a $50,000 Bank gift and over $7,500 raised from the community, and Kind Heart Fresh Start collected over 4,700 personal care items impacting more than 1,000 individuals in need with a $50,000 Bank gift and over $7,500 raised from the community, and Kind Heart Fresh Start collected over 4,700 personal care items impacting more than 1,000 individuals in need.

 

Grantmakers Council of Rhode Island