Women’s Fund of RI Awards $50K in Grants to 5 Organizations to Advance Gender Equity

The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island (WFRI) has announced a total of $50,000 in grant funding to five organizations for proposals to advance gender equity.

“The grant process was very competitive. 26 non-profit organizations submitted proposals for a combined request of $211,000 in funding. Each proposal was subject to a rigorous review by a team of community volunteers with training in gender-lens giving. These programs clearly rose to the top,” said Christina Castle, WFRI Board Member and Chair of the Grant Review Team.

Grantees were asked to focus their proposals on addressing one or more of WFRI’s 2019 advocacy priorities, including disparities for Women of Color, and more generally, economic justice and access to reproductive health and freedom.

The Grant Recipients

The grant recipients and awarded programs are:

Building Futures- “Women in the Trades” leadership program to grow the percentage of women in the building and construction trade, promote stories of women succeeding in the trades and identifying/addressing structural barriers to women’s success in the trades.

Girls Rock- “Changing Our Tune Project” to decrease the incidence of gender based violence within the music and creative community and provide resources to survivors and community members. The project will train owners and staff of local music venues, as well as bookers/promoters, musicians, artists and audience members in sexual harassment and violence prevention. Includes creating resources to support the work.

RI Black Business Association- “Emerging Professionals Program” designed to create a leadership pipeline of women of color.

“With Black and Latina women making lower wages than white women, addressing the issue of income equality is critical to ending poverty. Ten thousand dollars can go a long way in closing the skills and leadership gap among women of color, and that’s why this grant is so important,” said Lisa Ranglin, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA).

This is the first program proposed to specifically offer a solution the “double jeopardy” hypothesis which renders Black women “invisible” when being considered for hiring or promotion.

Sista Fire- addressing the maternal health crisis that Black women, women of color and their children face within RI. Funds will allow SistaFire to provide leadership development training with a focus on maternal health and related systemic inequities, and engage members in participatory resource to deepen the understanding of women of color’s experience in pregnancy and birth. Funding will also help to create “Perinatal Safe Spots” in RI.

Planned Parenthood- Funding would provide support for the RI Coalition for Reproductive Freedom to protect and advance access to reproductive health care through advocacy and legislative action. The goal is to build an inclusive, intersectional reproductive justice movement that recognizes how race, gender, poverty, and citizenship status impact society’s marginalized communities.

BCBSRI grants $80K to Rhode Island Free Clinic

PROVIDENCE – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has awarded an $80,000 grant to the Rhode Island Free Clinic, BCBSRI announced Monday.

The company said that it has awarded the Rhode Island Free Clinic $870,000 over 14 years. BSBSRI also said the grant recognizes the company’s 80th anniversary.

“Blue Cross is one of Clinic’s longest and strongest partnerships. Their strategic investment and support has been key to the clinic expanding services over time,” said Marie Ghazal, Rhode Island Free Clinic CEO. “This support has been essential to helping the clinic provide vital care for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable adults.”

The grant is intended to support the volunteer-based clinic’s mission of providing comprehensive health and dental care to 2,400 uninsured Rhode Islanders yearly. The clinic is entirely supported by donations and support from partners as well as time donated by health care professionals. The clinic provides primary care, secondary care, dental and behavioral health care as well as lab work, diagnostics, medication and wellness programming.

Services are of no charge to low-income unemployed adults at the clinic. Blue Cross said that the clinic diverts uncompensated emergency department visits, saving millions of dollars in cost on the health care system.

The Rhode Island Free Clinic is one of BCBSRI’s premier funding partners in our aim to increase access to primary care for the uninsured population in Rhode Island,” said Kim Keck, BCBSRI CEO and president. “BCBSRI is committed to passionately leading a state of health and wellbeing and the work that the clinic does is aligned with our mission of facilitating access to affordable, high-quality health care.”

BCBSRI grants $225K to Bradley for youth mental health services

PROVIDENCE – Bradley Hospital will receive $225,000 in support from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to enhance and expand the Pediatric Psychiatry Resource Network, BCBSRI announced Tuesday. The grants will come in five yearly installments of $45,000.

The network is a children’s health consultation team at Bradley that supports pediatric primary care providers serving children and adolescents with mental health care needs. The network, called PediPRN, is run in collaboration with the R.I. Department of Health and the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Pediatrics Mental Health Care Access Program.

“We are fortunate that we were able to secure another five years of funding for PediPRN due to our partnerships with public and private funders,” said Dr. Karyn Horowitz, director of outpatient child psychiatry and behavioral health services at Lifespan. “The national shortage of child mental health providers, coupled with the increased prevalence of mental health disorders, requires close collaboration between pediatrics and psychiatry in order to meet the needs of children and their families.”

BCBSRI said that the program increases access for children and adolescents to mental health care by augmenting primary care practices with increased access to psychiatric consultation services.

Pushing Back Against Divisive Racist Rhetoric and Reaffirming Philanthropy’s Values

As I was reflecting on this post, I came across a poem by Diane Ackerman in Tara Brach’s book “True Refuge.” The poem, “School Prayer,” includes this stanza:

I swear I will not dishonor
My soul with hatred,
But offer myself humbly
As a guardian of nature,
As a healer of misery,
As a messenger of wonder,
As an architect of peace.

To all my friends and colleagues in the social sector, to all those we are privileged to work with, this is you—this is us. Even in a time of outrages, perhaps especially in such a time, the work remains the work—to be guardians of nature, healers of misery, messengers of wonder, and architects of peace. 

That is our most daunting challenge right now but also our greatest calling: Not to lose heart, not to succumb, not to fall silent, but to continue through our work to manifest love as the only known antidote to hate.

— excerpted from blog post from Grant Oliphant, Heinz Endowment

Many of us have been disheartened with the re-emergence of divisive and racist language in the national discourse recently.

It is vitally important that philanthropy push back against language that insinuates that immigrants and people of color somehow don’t belong in our communities and civic life. We want GCRI to be a safe place for Rhode Islanders in philanthropy to bring their best selves, without fear, and we know that immigrants and people of color bring invaluable experience, expertise and wisdom to our collective work.

If you are an immigrant or person of color, please know that we support you during this difficult time. Please reach out to immigrants and people of color in your workplaces, networks and neighborhoods, to let them know your support and care.

In addition, this is an important to reaffirm your values as an organization and step forward to lead our communities and conversations forward in ways that demonstrate respect, compassion, collaboration and solidarity.

As Jim Canales of the Barr Foundation stated, “We must boldly proclaim the values that unite us, drive us, and bind us to our work of higher mission and purpose. As exhausting and dispiriting as it is to find ourselves at such a moment again, we must persevere. And, as we do, the circle of voices carrying this message of resolve and of hope grows larger and stronger, the best of who we are is manifest again.”

Here are some foundations that have taken this opportunity to step forward and share their guiding values and principles:

Heinz Endowment
Barr Foundation
San Francisco Foundation
Boston Foundation
KR Foundation

United Way and OneCranston Partner to Explore “American Creed”

On July 24, The Cranston Public Library, in partnership with OneCranston Working Cities Challenge Initiative (a grant competition designed to advance collaborative leadership in smaller, postindustrial cities to transform the lives of their low-income residents), hosted a screening of the PBS documentary American Creed at Central Library. The screening was followed by a Community Conversation facilitated by Larry Warner, Director of Grants and Strategic Initiatives, United Way of Rhode Island.

In the documentary film AMERICAN CREED, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy come together from different points of view to investigate the idea of a unifying American creed. Their spirited inquiry frames the stories of citizen-activists striving to realize their own visions of America’s promise across deepening divides.

The post-viewing discussion engaged participants around concepts like “the gap between the promise of America and the reality for far too many,” America as the “Melting Pot,” and what happens when you stop showing up for democracy and cede the field to those who do.

Cranston Patch article

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.

Inequities in Charitable Giving Continue to Grow, Fueled by Tax Law

Dave Biemesderfer, CEO of United Philanthropy Forum

Data continues to come in to confirm a disturbing trend in our country: growing inequities in who is giving to charity and who is benefiting from it. This is happening amid a backdrop of an overall decline in charitable giving, fueled by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed by Congress.

The latest data to confirm these trends is from the well-respected 2019 “Giving USA” report released last week. The report shows that giving by foundations, corporations and individuals declined 1.7 percent in 2018, adjusted for inflation. This is the first drop in giving since 2013 and just the 13th decline since 1978, and has occurred despite assurances from Congress that the 2017 tax law would not negatively impact giving and in fact would increase it.

Read Dave’s full blog post

Mission Investors Exchange Offers Briefs for Practitioners

Seeking ways to maximize the social and economic returns of their place-based impact investments, foundations, CDFIs, private investors, and others are turning to collaboration. To support these efforts and facilitate lesson sharing, the Urban Institute and Mission Investors Exchange have produced a set of three practitioner briefs designed to focus on elements of place-based impact investing that have surfaced in research and conversations with practitioners as opportunities for knowledge exchange: building strong ecosystems, mapping opportunities and capacities, and deploying capital on the ground together through impact investing collaborations. Each brief presents the concept, highlights practitioner examples, and elevates lessons from the field.  

Place-Based Impact Investing Ecosystems: Building a Collaboration to Boost Your Effectiveness

Mapping and Assessing Local Capacities and Opportunities for Place-Based Impact Investing

Collaborative Place-Based Impact Investing Models: Deploying Capital on the Ground Together

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.”