Over $840,000 in Federal Funds to Rhode Island for Arts & Humanities COVID-19 Relief

Rhode Island’s statewide arts and humanities agencies will receive $840,600 in federal funds designated for relief to arts and cultural organizations affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, according to a joint statement by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (Humanities Council).

The funds come from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, established in part to preserve jobs and help support organizations forced to close operations due to the spread of COVID-19.

RISCA will receive $424,300 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Humanities Council will receive $416,300 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Rhode Island’s share is part of the $150 million allocated to the federal cultural organizations through the CARES Act.

Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, expressed thanks for the increased federal support. “Rhode Island’s arts and cultural organizations have been deeply affected by the current crisis,” said Rosenbaum. “The economic loss to arts organizations is estimated at over $4.5 billion nationwide. Here in Rhode Island the livelihood of a sector that contributes over $1 billion annually to our economy is being threatened.”

Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities noted that “This is a daunting and uncertain time, and humanities organizations have experienced unprecedented losses. The Humanities Council and RISCA were chosen to distribute these funds because of our well-established relationships with museums, historical societies, libraries, theaters, arts organizations, and cultural institutions that are anchors of our communities. One thing I am certain about is that these organizations will help Rhode Islanders understand and weather this crisis.”

Both Rosenbaum and Francis expressed gratitude to the state’s Congressional delegation. “This support from the NEH and NEA as part of the CARES act is thanks in large part to the sustained commitment by Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Representatives Langevin and Cicilline to the arts and humanities in Rhode Island.”

Independent Sector Open Letter in Support of Nonprofits in SBA Process

Independent Sector has released an open letter calling on financial organizations that administer and directly impact the recipients of SBA 7(a) loans to prioritize nonprofits as loan recipients, recognizing them as essential to our nation’s safety net.  Nonnprofits account for a third of the country’s workforce and are the backbone of our recovery effort.  If you are interested in signing on to the letter, please email letters@independentsector.org by 11:59pm on April 8.  Here is the letter:

April 6, 2020

To American Bankers Association and Bank Policy Institute:

Thanks to each of you for your leadership in providing critical financial support as our nation navigates the response to COVID-19. On March 27, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The nonprofit sector is committed to ensuring that an essential, yet often overlooked, segment of our infrastructure receives access to the SBA 7(a) loan provisions of the CARES Act. We need your partnership to make this happen.

Independent Sector, a nonpartisan membership organization representing hundreds of nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs, calls those who administer the loans and directly impact the recipients of 7(a) loans to prioritize nonprofits as loan recipients, recognizing them as essential to our nation’s recovery.

Nonprofits play an indispensable role in meeting the needs of our communities and supporting our economy in times of crisis. Even as this public health crisis has shut down vast portions of our economy, nonprofit organizations continue to serve on the frontlines to meet a wide range of needs in our communities, from providing meals to families, to offering emergency child care, to identifying emergency financial support for those who’ve lost their jobs in recent weeks.

The economic consequences of COVID-19 are staggering for all sectors of our economy. The nonprofit sector – the third largest workforce in our nation that contributes over five percent to the national GDP – is especially vulnerable because of what we expect to be precipitous declines in charitable giving and earned revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are, therefore, extraordinarily dependent upon equitable access to the financial assistance provisions of the CARES Act, especially the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and the Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act Program.

Small nonprofits, especially those operating in underserved areas, often have limited banking relationships, which may make it difficult for them to successfully navigate the loan process. Further, many banks are only extending loans to existing customers. This also may impede small nonprofits from obtaining a loan due to their prior bank history. In short, there is real concern that charities, particularly those that are led by people of color and/or serving communities of color or tribal communities, may find themselves shut out of the process to secure financial resources that are critical to their survival.

We cannot let this happen. Independent Sector stands ready, with our nonprofit and philanthropic partners, to work with government and private financial institutions to devise and deploy strategies that ensure there is equitable access to SBA 7(a) loans for all nonprofits that qualify, consistent with the intent and provisions of the CARES Act.

We need to get this right. By working together in partnership, we believe that we will. We urge you to support and include nonprofits as you administer SBA 7(a) loans and help make a difference in our communities.

Sincerely,

Dan Cardinali
President and CEO
Independent Sector

RI COVID-19 Fund Awards $2.4 Million to Nonprofits Providing Services and Basic Needs

Dozens of nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis are getting $2.4 million in grants from a special fund created by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island, which has now awarded $3.6 million in grants, including the first round of grants made March 27.

Among the organizations receiving funding from the COVID-19 Response Fund are the Blackstone Valley Emergency Food Center, Clinica Esperanza, the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, the East Bay Community Action Program, Newport Mental Health and the Northern RI Food Pantry.

“As our state prepares for a coming surge in this crisis, these grants have the potential to save lives,” said United Way of Rhode Island President and CEO Cortney Nicolato. “I am grateful for every donor for their support, and equally thankful for the resilient nonprofit employees who step up every single day to take care of our families and neighbors.”

The grants ranged from $10,000 to $75,000. Many will help local nonprofits provide food, housing and health care to Rhode Islanders affected by the crisis. Additionally, funding was awarded for medical supplies as care providers face unprecedented challenges to maintain operations and deliver services to those most in need.

“There isn’t anyone in our community who hasn’t been touched by this crisis, and nonprofits are the boots on the ground for all of us. Seeing donors and service providers rise to this unprecedented and growing challenge is inspiring,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.

Full list of grantees

Application Information

The Foundation and United Way established the COVID-19 Response Fund on March 17 and have combined to raise $5.8 million in contributions.

The Importance of Supporting Nonprofit Sector in Relief Efforts

We are gathering information about the needs of Rhode Island nonprofits in this difficult time.  United Way and Rhode Island Foundation have done an initial short survey, identifying supply needs (mostly food for distribution, sanitation supplies, and technology for remote work), client financial needs (rental assistance, utility assistance, food, unemployment, etc.) and their organizational financial losses resulting from their compliance with public health restrictions.
At the same time that many nonprofits are providing critical services to the most vulnerable in our communities, virtually all of Rhode Island’s nonprofits have lost some or all of the revenue they depend on.  In order to protect public health, they have cancelled fundraising events and arts performances, and are not able to continue programming for which they have fee for service contracts.  In addition, moving forward many of their donors are themselves facing job losses and financial hardships and will not be able to contribute support.
Charitable nonprofits are not currently eligible for Small Business Administration emergency loans so there are currently no resources to help community-based organizations, service providers, and arts organizations survive this crisis and the resulting economic downturn, which John Macintosh of SeaLevel Partners is calling an “extinction level event” for nonprofits.
United Philanthropy Forum, as well as countless other nonprofits, have called for Congress to specifically include the charitable sector in COVID-19 relief legislation.
If members are interested in connecting with members of Congress in Rhode Island or other districts in which you have operations, the Forum, Independent Sector and the National Council of Nonprofits recommend that the relief package:
  • Expressly include charitable nonprofits in the $200 billion loan fund for businesses. The charitable sector needs an immediate infusion of $60 billion and the loan program is a fast way to get cash in the hands of organizations serving immediate needs in communities, yet facing lost and declining revenue due to the pandemic.
  • Clarify that charitable nonprofits of all sizes are able to participate in the emergency Small Business Loan Program by using the tax-law definition of charitable organizations (Sec. 501(c)(3) public charities) and removing the language that excludes nonprofits that are eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursements.
  • Improve the above-the-line charitable deduction by raising the cap to $2,000 and allowing all taxpayers to immediately claim the deduction on their 2019 taxes (due on July 15), and afterwards through 2021.

RI Afterschool Report Released, Shows Need for Dedicated Funding

The Rhode Island Afterschool Network released “The State of Afterschool Learning Programs in Rhode Island 2019” report, supported by the GCRI members Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island.

The report provides an overview and highlights of the landscape of Out of School Time (OST) programs in Rhode Island, drawn from statewide convenings, stakeholder engagement, existing data and qualitative research.   

Several themes were highlighted in this report, particularly the benefit of engaging our children in structured, high-quality educational activities outside of school hours. Educational and developmental research demonstrates, and parents, teachers, childcare providers agree, to the importance of OST programs for promoting educational success, social and emotional learning, and racial equity for youth.  OST programs also support financial stability by allowing parents to remain productive and at work through the end of the business day. The report emphasizes that there is an opportunity to advance Rhode Island’s educational goals by supporting and investing in OST programs, and elevating and embedding oversight of OST programming within the Rhode Island Department of Education.

Full Report

United Way Awards $100,000 in Affordable Housing Grants, Releases 2-1-1 Data Report, Invests in Olneyville

United Way Awarded $100,000 to five community organizations from the Housing for All Fund, established at United Way’s 2016 Housing for All Summit in 2016

The funded programs, by Foster Forward, Housing Network of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Center for Justice and West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, focus on education, financial literacy, workforce and economic development and collaboration.

“We know that too many working families are housing cost-burdened, spending more than one-third of their income to keep a roof over their heads and face difficult choices among the basic needs they can afford,” said Anthony Maione, President and CEO, United Way of Rhode Island. “We also know there’s a lot of good work happening in our state to tackle this issue, which was evident in the proposals we received, and we are excited to see the progress of the programs we’re investing in.”

More information

2-1-1 Data Report Released

United Way also released its annual 2-1-1 data report, with analysis of the almost 200,000 calls for assistance 2-1-1 received in 2017.  The most common requests include financial assistance (rent, utilities, etc.), health information, food and housing.

Full report

UWRI Awards Olneyville Grants to 9 Local Organizations

Nine local organizations were the recipients of a shared total of $90,000 in grants from the United Way of Rhode Island’s Olneyville Community Fund in late June.

The 10-year-old fund, which was created when UWRI moved its headquarters to the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence in 2008, aims to support community-based organizations that benefit local residents and businesses.

Recipients include The Manton Avenue Project, Providence Housing Authority, Meeting Street ONE Neighborhood Builders, the Center for Resilience, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Providence Community Library and Sojourner House.

February and March Program Opportunities

GCRI Program Opportunities

Meet the Funders — February 15, 5:30-8:00pm, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI

Federal and State Budget Impact on RI Communities — March 29, 9:00-11:00am, Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island

Catalyst Group Meetings

CyberGrants Users Group webinar on reporting — February 15, 2:00pm

Employee Engagement Conference Calls — February 27, 9am and March 27, 9am

Early Literacy and RI Reads — February 26, 3:00-4:30pm, United Way

Financial Empowerment — March 6, 9:00-10:30am, United Way

Partner Webinars

Hurricane Harvey Recovery Funder Briefing Webinar
Monday, February 12, 3:00-4:00pm
In addition to a recovery update, this briefing will focus on research that is helping to identify community needs. Funders will have an opportunity to share their work and to ask questions of each other at the close of the briefing. Speakers include Traci Brasher, TEM, Recovery Division Director FEMA Region 6;  and Shao-Chee Sim, Ph.D., Vice President for Applied Research at Episcopal Health Foundation.  Sponsored by The Simmons Foundation and Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Going Public:  Overcoming the Foundation Transparency Challenge – Webinar
Thursday, February 22, 2:00-3:00pm
Join United Philanthropy Forum and Foundation Center for the “Going Public: Overcoming the Foundation Transparency Challenge” webinar. This program will begin with a compelling case for greater transparency; provide an overview of the powerful and free tools designed to help you improve the transparency of your foundation’s online presence; demonstrate a free tool for assessing your foundation’s online transparency practices (how will yours stack up?); and highlight examples from foundation peers that have been active in creating greater openness at their foundations.  Calls for greater transparency and accountability in the philanthropic sector are nothing new, but today as people access greater quantities of information online, public expectation is rapidly growing about what information is made available.   And today’s reality is that transparency and openness are not only trending, but revolutionizing the world around us. From user experience designed websites to Twitter to LinkedIn to the explosion of the blogosphere, shared networks and open data are transforming the way we shop, learn, and connect with each other.  There is also the deeper conversation about the nature of openness in our philanthropic relationships versus just being transparent about our work.  Openness referring to more of a relationship between philanthropy and their grantee partners and the communities they serve.   While many of us generally agree that transparency is a virtue, figuring out how to assess and improve existing foundation transparency practices can be a challenge. Attend this webinar to learn about free tools that are designed to help philanthropy work more openly, efficiently, and effectively.

Other Events in the Philanthropy Sector

Everything I Needed to Know..But Nobody Told Me:  A Retreat for New Foundation Staff — 2/25-27, Ardmore, OK.  Sponsored by Philanthropy Southwest

Grantmakers Concerned for Immigrants and Refugees National Convening — 2/27-3/1, Los Angeles

Funders Together to End Homelessness Funders Forum — 2/28, Los Angeles

Funding Forward (LGBT Funders) — 3/14-3/16, New Orleans

AACP: The Conference (corporate philanthropy) — 3/18-3/21, Portland, OR

CFUnited (community foundations) — 3/18-3/21, Las Vegas

PEAK Grantmaking Annual Conference (grants management) — 3/19-3/21, Orlando

Resource Generation’s Transforming Philanthropy (younger generation members of family foundations) — 3/22-3/25, Pomona, CA

 

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).

2018 Meet the Funders

2018 Meet the Funders

Each year, GCRI presents a Meet the Funders session for 50+ nonprofits to “speed network” with GCRI funders.  This year, we have tentatively scheduled the session for Thursday, February 15.   We usually have about 10 GCRI funders participate and try to have a variety of funders — geographic distribution across the state, different issue area funders, and while we usually have some funders from the previous year, we like to have a number of new funders as well.

If you are interested in participating in the 2018 Meet the Funders, please let Nancy know before December 15.

Last year, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island generously hosted the session, and we are looking for a location for 2018.  If any of you are interested in hosting, we need a space for about 75 people, with break out areas for smaller groups.