Standing in Sympathy and Solidarity

GCRI is committed to building a safe, equitable community, where all Rhode Islanders can grow and thrive.  There are always challenges to that work, but this week has brought heartwrenching news of political and racial violence and threats across the nation, that require us to renew our commitment to our work and to our community with even greater urgency.
We send our deepest sympathy to the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, which yesterday suffered the worst anti-Semitic violence in our nation’s history.  And we stand with the Jewish community here in Rhode Island, and all those who have been threatened or have been victims of hate and violence.
The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, a member of GCRI, is hosting a Community Prayer and Action Vigil tomorrow — Monday, October 29 at 5:45pm — and we encourage you to attend to join in sympathy and solidarity with our neighbors and friends as they mourn the tragic events in Pittsburgh.  And we continue to stand together in unity against those who would cause harm and sow discord and hate.
Please visit Jewish Alliance’s Facebook page for more information.
GCRI’s sister organization, Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania, has an update of the situation on their website, as well as opportunities to support the victims of this tragedy.

Puerto Ricans a Year After Hurricane Maria

A year after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, residents of the island are still struggling with the storm’s impact on their housing, finances, and mental and physical health, a survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post finds. Based on face-to-face interviews, the report, Views and Experiences of Puerto Ricans One Year After Hurricane Maria (37 pages, PDF), found that 83 percent of survey respondents had a home that was destroyed or significantly damaged, lost power for four or more months, had to drink water from a natural source, experienced a job loss, developed a health condition or had an existing one worsen, and/or received mental health services as a result of the storm.

Report

Merrimack Valley Relief Efforts

Merrimack Valley

Our thoughts are with our neighbors in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover as they struggle with the results of the recents gas explosions.

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley has established a relief fund for those affected by the gas explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

Essex County Community Foundation has also established a relief fund for victims in conjunction with the Massachusetts Governor’s office.

Hurricane Florence Relief

The effects of Hurricane Florence are still ongoing and our thoughts continue to be with those in the Forum family affected by this storm. Forum member, North Carolina Network of Grantmakers, is compiling information and resources related to the philanthropic response in the state. NCNG will continue to update the resource page as new information becomes available.

http://www.ncgrantmakers.org/Resources/Resources-for-Grantmakers-(1)

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) also has resources on its website, and will be doing a webinar this afternoon, September 18:

  1. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has launched its 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Fund. More information can be found here or if you wish to donate you can do so here.
  2. Tanya Gulliver-Garcia, Assistant Director of major initiatives gives an overview of disaster funding following disasters and offers advice for how philanthropists can effectively respond to all disasters, including hurricanes.
  3. CDP — with generous support from the UPS Foundation, and in close collaboration with the Southeast Council on Foundations, the Council on Foundations, and The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities — will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, September 18 at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT to discuss Hurricane Florence’s impact and provide insight on how funders can support the recovery effort.

Lastly, CDP is keeping a profile of Hurricane Florence up to date on its website. Please check here daily for more information on the hurricane, as well as intel on critical needs and resources for how philanthropy can support the recovery effort.

United Way has a relief fund established as well.

If you have family, friends or coworkers who would like to do tangible supply assembly, VOAD makes use of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Cleaning Kits, Hygiene Kits and School Kits.  Volunteers can gather, assemble and donate completed kits to UMCOR for this current Hurricane Florence effort and other future disaster relief efforts.

So please encourage anyone who is interested to follow the specific instructions for the assembly of these kits:  https://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies.  There are lists of required supplies, an instructional video, shipping label and packing list.

Rivers Keep Rising and More Deaths Are Feared as Florence Pushes Away

People are still being rescued, even as the remnants of Hurricane Florence move out of the Carolinas. At least 31 people have been killed. Record-breaking rain has pushed rivers over their banks, and water levels are unlikely to recede fully for days.

Read more in New York Times.

In Flood-Hit Public Housing, a Reminder That the Poor Bear Brunt of Storms’ Fury

This week, after a brief evacuation, Keisha Monk returned to Trent Court to find that flooding from Florence had turned her place into a sodden wreck. She also realized that she was now a player in the kind of redevelopment drama that tends to swamp storm-battered places like this — a story of race, class, gentrification and safety fears, and questions without easy answers about who gets to live on often alluring, sometimes treacherous, waterside real estate.

Read more in New York Times.

Florence Recovery Page on United Way Online

America’s Charities lists additional organizations working on relief efforts in the Carolinas:

  • Feed the Children delivering over 400,000 pounds of food and disaster supplies to community partners in vulnerable areas.
  • The Salvation Army National Capital Area has officers and staff on site in the Carolinas to assist families with food and spiritual care. Monetary donations allow for us to purchase and serve food and water to those in need.
  • Best Friends Animal Society is working with partner organization throughout the affected areas to identify shelters/rescue groups in need of help. We’ve already started supporting many with transporting animals out of the area, and will continue post-hurricane to ensure that as many animals as possible are moved to safety.

Feeding America is working with its network of local foodbanks to deploy and provide support, food and supplies to people in communities impacted by Hurricane Florence. For every dollar donated, the Feeding America network of food banks can secure and distribute at least 10 meals to those recovering from the storm.

GCRI Members Recognized by Providence Business News

As part of the 2018 Business Women Awards, Providence Business News recognized a number of leaders at GCRI member organizations.  Highlighting the event were Kathleen Malin, vice president of technology and operations at Rhode Island Foundation, honored as Outstanding Mentor; and Sandra J. Pattie, President and CEO of Bank Newport and Chair of the Board of United Way of Rhode Island, honored as Career Achiever.

In addition, Carolyn Belisle, Managing Director of Community Relations at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, was recognized as Professional Services Woman to Watch (and featured in a separate PBN article), and Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island, was recognized as an Achievement Honoree.

Congratulations, all!  We see your tremendous impact every day and are glad to have your partnership in GCRI!

 

 

 

Welcome to The Champlin Foundation

We are excited to welcome The Champlin Foundation as a new GCRI member.  The Champlin Foundation, long a leader in the Rhode Island philanthropic sector, is a new Champion member of GCRI.

Since 1932, The Champlin Foundation has awarded more than $550 million to fund capital projects for Rhode Island non-profit organizations. These investments have fostered better medical care, improved education, expanded access to social services, conservation of open spaces, preservation of historic buildings, enrichment of the arts, advancement of animal welfare and more.

We are particularly excited to welcome Nina Stack, Champlin’s new Executive Director, to Rhode Island and GCRI.  Nina comes to Champlin after serving as the President and CEO of our sister organization, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, for 13 years, and served on the Board of Directors of United Philanthropy Forum, so she is well versed in the importance of philanthropy-serving organizations like GCRI.

Nina, who has a long family history on Block Island, says, “I fell in love with Rhode Island as a child and that deep connection has continued ever since.” 

Welcome back to Rhode Island, Nina!  And a warm welcome to The Champlin Foundation from GCRI.

Collette, Rhode Island Foundation Help Launch Books Are Wings Literacy Program in Central Falls

Collette, Rhode Island Foundation Support Launch of Books Are Wings’ Literacy Efforts in Central Falls

Thanks to funding from two GCRI members, Collette and Rhode Island Foundation, Books Are Wings will partner with the City of Central Falls to provide literacy training for the City’s Parks & Recreation summer camp counselors, three book parties throughout the summer, establish six Little Free Libraries in strategic locations throughout Central Falls and distribute over 5,000 free children’s books to Central Falls students throughout the year.

The Little Free Libraries are available to both children and their families anytime, and invite participants to keep books for their personal use. Grant funds will also support the purchase of bilingual books to be included in the book selection.

Books Are Wings will visit Central Falls elementary schools multiple times throughout the school year to distribute free books. By the end of the school year every child will receive up to 6 free books to keep.

According to the 2017 PARCC, only 15% of third graders in Central Falls are meeting grade-level expectations in reading. This is a 2% gain from the previous two years. “The summer months are critical academic times for children. Children’s access to and ownership of books is crucial to maintain the reading skills they acquired during the school year,” states Jocelynn White, Executive Director of Books Are Wings. “We are thrilled to partner with the City of Central Falls to address this need and get more books in the hands of children.”

“The city is excited to partner with Books Are Wings,” says Rob Sayre-McCord, Director of Parks & Recreation and Community Services. “Together, the city and Books Are Wings firmly believe that this initiative will highlight the life-long importance of reading for youth in our community and will be a step towards offsetting the literacy issues our community encounters.”

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Supports Efforts for Make Communities Better for All Ages Through $1.8 million in Grants

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced nearly $1.8 million in new community investments that reflect its commitment to make cities and towns great places to grow up and grow old. The new grants will support initiatives at 16 community organizations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire working to make communities healthier for people of all ages, with a specific interest in engaging older adults. These investments are in addition to nearly $1 million in previously announced work.

The supported grants in systems improvement and best practices reflect a trend of increased regional and local efforts to create age- and dementia-friendly communities. The initiatives promote cross-sector collaboration, expand engagement of older people, advance improvements to support the health and wellbeing of older people, and foster intergenerational connections.

“Each community will follow its own path to becoming age- and dementia-friendly. Support from Tufts Health Plan Foundation helps ensure resources reach under-represented communities at greatest risk for disparities,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “Everyone has a voice; it’s important that we listen.”

The two Rhode Island recipients of grants were:

Local Initiative Support Corporation (Providence, R.I.) The Intergenerational Farmers’ Market Project—to address social isolation for older adults through relationship-building activities that capitalize on the integration of arts, culture and community resources across Rhode Island. Two-year grant for $120,000.  (For more information on this innovative program, read the ProJo feature on it!)

Rhode Island Parent Information Network (Cranston, R.I.) Own Your Health: A System to Support Evidence-Based Health Promotion in R.I. for Older People—to improve Rhode Island’s system for providing evidence-based programs for older adults and their caregivers. One-year grant for $63,085.

United Way Launches Giving Platform

United Way Launches MyFund Giving Platform

United Way of Rhode Island announced a new electronic giving platform, MyFund, that provides a mechanism for donors to consolidate their charitable giving.

Said United Way CEO Tony Maione, “Giving is deeply personal; donors want as much control over when, where and how they donate as possible.  People conduct so much of their lives online, we needed to build a product that would make online giving quick, easy and secure.”

Maione said that the new account was designed to be accessible, with a minimum yearly donation total of $1,000, and no transaction fees.

More information

LISC Rhode Island Grants, Initiatives and People Recognized

LISC Grants, Initiatives and People Recognized 

LISC Rhode Island awarded Amos House $476,000 to implement its Bridges to Career Opportunities (BCO) model, a comprehensive education and support program designed to provide tailored services to move people into employment. The new grant is part of $72 million in funding awarded to 32 organizations through the U.S. Labor Department’s Reentry Project, which is focused on evidence-based opportunities to reduce recidivism.

Read more in  ProJo feature

With this funding, Amos House will be able to expand its job training and education programs and integrate them with the Financial Opportunity Center offerings, a highly successful program developed by LISC that helps participants with job placement, financial coaching, and access to public benefits. Amos House will adapt the BCO model to address the specific needs and services necessary for individuals recently released from prison.

“As a result of this funding, Amos House will provide intensive wraparound supports related to barriers specific to the re-entry population,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island.  “Participants will be able to complete the education and skills training components of the Bridges to Career Opportunities program and transition to employment.”

With a grant from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), LISC launched its Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) model nationally in 2010 and featured several sites in Rhode Island, including Amos House.  FOCs provide clients with three integrated services: employment coaching, financial education and coaching, and assistance accessing income supports. This bundling of services helps clients make important behavioral changes about money and improve their financial outlook, while preparing them to succeed in the workplace. The model has been successful in helping clients see real improvements in net income, net worth, and credit scores. Additional SIF funding allowed LISC to then introduce the Bridges to Career Opportunities model, which incorporated contextualized educational services along with career training programs and provided opportunities for those FOC clients who needed to build additional foundational skills to successfully complete higher-level skills training and be more competitive in the job market.

“In addition to job training and education, providing services to help participants navigate legal and technical matters related to child support, fines, court, parole/probation, as well as help with transportation, housing barriers, and substance abuse, will translate into meaningful change for this vulnerable population,” said Cola.

Approximately 2.3% of adults in Rhode Island are on probation or parole, which as of 6/30/17 was 23,081 adults in the state, and there were 2,797 individuals released in 2017 [1]. Of this number, about 5% of sentenced releases self-reported that they were homeless or had no permanent address. The Department of Corrections also reports that of the total prison population, 52% of men and 61% of women were unemployed at the time they were incarcerated.  Additionally, of this 2017 population, 35% of incarcerated men and 25% of incarcerated women had less than a high school education, and 51% of men and 38% of women were re-sentenced within 36 months of release [2].

“We are very grateful to LISC,” said Eileen Hayes, President and CEO of Amos House. “This was a very competitive process and the funding will allow us to focus much more intensively on people entering our training programs and accessing FOC services within 6 months of being released from incarceration.”

Nationwide, there are more than 2.3 million people in prisons, jails and other detention facilities, with 650,000 released each year from prisons alone. Studies on recidivism done by the National Institute of Justice based in Washington D.C. indicate that nearly 77 percent are arrested again within five years.

The award is part of a larger grant from the U.S. Department of Labor which awarded $4.5 million in new funding for LISC Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) nationwide. The grant will extend the reach of LISC FOCs in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Providence that operate in communities with high rates of poverty, crime and reentry. Amos House is one of only seven organizations across the LISC footprint to receive these funds.

The FOCs are part of a broader LISC effort to expand economic opportunity for low income people. It dovetails with LISC’s community safety work that builds police community partnerships, supports data-driven strategies to take on crime hotspots, and integrates safety into broader programs on economic development, housing and jobs.

People in the News

LISC Rhode Island’s Executive Director Jeanne Cola, who was recently profiled in the Providence Business News, published a ProJo op-ed on the value of supporting childcare as a taxpayer investment.

Deputy Director Cindy Larson received the 2017 Sue Connor Special Friend of Rhode Island’s Children Award from the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children (RIAEYC) during the organization’s 51st opening banquet of their Annual Rhode Island Early Childhood Conference. Larson received the award for her lifetime of work as an early childhood advocate.

In presenting the award, Lisa Hildebrand, Executive Director of the RIAEYC, acknowledged Larson’s advocacy and leadership in early learning and child care in Rhode Island, her role as the founding director of LISC’s Rhode Island Child Care & Early Learning Facilities Fund (RICCELFF), and her long history of work in education.

“We are presenting this award in recognition of her leadership, commitment, and truly tireless efforts working on behalf of the early child care and education community, as well as the children and families of Rhode Island,” said Hildebrand.

“Cindy led the team that conducted a comprehensive study of child care and early learning facility infrastructure in Rhode Island. She was instrumental in receiving special permission to use Race to The Top dollars toward facility improvement and making funding available to help address critical health and safety issues across Rhode Island’s early childhood centers,” said Hildebrand.

In accepting the award, Larson noted that there is still work to be done despite broad acceptance on the critical importance of the issues around early childhood.

“Thank you all so much, this honor means a great deal to me,” said Larson. “It should be really easy to be an early childhood advocate – all the research suggests that the early years of life are the most critical; we have widespread agreement with the importance of early education; we know that quality child care is essential to building a workforce and having a strong economy.

“Everybody agrees on all these things, and yet every single day we have programs that are struggling just to make ends meet.  So the money is not connecting to what we know, despite our best efforts. We welcome all the new champions and I hope your voices will be loud and strong.  We will continue to advocate strongly with you for the resources that you need to make a difference in the lives of children.”