GCRI Welcomes New Executive Director, Courtney Bourns

Picture of new Executive Director, Courtney Bourns

On behalf of GCRI’s Board of Directors, I am delighted to introduce Courtney Bourns as our new Executive Director.

Courtney comes to us with a unique range and depth of experience in philanthropy: for the last six years, Courtney has served as a strategy and program consultant to dozens of foundations around the country, and prior to that she was the Senior Program Officer at the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, which focused on strengthening sustainable food systems across the New England region. Courtney also served as the VP of Programs at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), a national philanthropic support organization.

Courtney’s experience is the ideal match for the leadership of GCRI as we embark on our next chapter. She is ready to facilitate strategy conversations, design engaging programs and grow and strengthen our membership base. She is committed to a strong and effective philanthropic sector in Rhode Island, and is eager to get to know all of you and better understand how GCRI can tailor its offerings to your needs.

Courtney and I are working with GCRI’s board to map out the priorities for the next few months, which includes identifying a date for our next annual meeting and other opportunities to reengage our members in networking and learning opportunities. Stay tuned!

Please join me in welcoming Courtney to our community and wishing her well with all that lies ahead. You can reach her at courtney.bourns@unitedwayri.org.

Cheers,

Thomas Brendler

President, GCRI Board of Directors

 

Support for 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.
  • World Central Kitchen has also begun feeding refugees in several countries bordering Ukraine.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross is seeking donations to support its work to respond to the Ukraine crisis.

The Network of Engaged International Donors has a page of Ukraine Humanitarian Response Resources.

  • Victor Pinchuk Foundation, based in Ukraine, recommends donors support organizations listed at standforukraine.com

The Ukrainian Institute in London has suggested the following organizations:

  • 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.
  • British-Ukrainian Aid – supports people suffering from the war and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine by aligning UK and Ukrainian efforts.
    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.
  • 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;

Additional resources:

Blue Cross Invests $1.5 Million to Support Expanded 2-1-1

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Commits $1.5 Million to Expand Impact of 211, Improve Social Determinants of Health 

As part of an effort to improve the health of all Rhode Islanders, United Way of Rhode Island has upgraded the capabilities of its 211 service with a focus on linking health and social care providers around individuals with complex needs. In support of this work to expand the statewide role and impact of 211, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has committed $1.5 million in funding.

A major enhancement to 211 is the addition of a specialized technology platform called Unite Us that interconnects a network of health and social care providers. Now, when someone calls 211 for help or lets a healthcare provider know they are in need of food, housing, or other assistance, their information is entered into the platform and an electronic referral is made for the services they need. The referrals are tracked within the system and 211 staff ensure that individuals’ needs are being responded to in a timely fashion.

Currently, when healthcare organizations refer patients to community-based organizations to address social care needs, there is rarely a mechanism for the healthcare organization to know the outcome of the referral. This prevents effective follow-up and outcome measurement.

With social factors being such a significant driver of a person’s overall health, knowing the outcome of these referrals is foundational to providers’ ability to effectively meet their patients’ unique needs and manage whole-person health.

Powered by the Unite Us platform and 211 staff, health providers across the network can securely refer and track every person’s total health journey with their community partners. At the same time, it allows providers to report on all tangible outcomes across a range of services in a centralized, cohesive, and collaborative ecosystem. 211 plays the role of the coordination center in the network, ensuring clients are connected to the best program to address their needs, providers are closing the loop on clients’ needs, and that all providers are meeting network standards and performance measures.

Point32Health Employees Invest Over 3,000 Hours of Service in Volunteer Week

During the week of June 13, Point32Health – the combined organization of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan – held its second annual Volunteer Week. Volunteering is at the core of Point32Health’s values, shaping our culture and impacting community health.

More than 1,250 colleagues volunteered 3,300 total hours at 57 projects benefiting 49 nonprofit organizations across five states. Employees served a range of organizations working to address food security, clean up parks, tend to community farms, support people experiencing homelessness and so much more – all to create healthy, thriving communities.

In Rhode Island, Point32Health volunteers packed Meals4Kids and supplemental nutrition boxes for older people served by the Rhode Island Community Food Bank (photo).

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.

 

Champlin Foundation Awards $13.2 Million to Nonprofits Statewide

The Champlin Foundation announced today $13.2 million in capital funding to 126 nonprofit organizations serving a variety of priorities, including 17 first-time grantees. From building renovations and facility expansions to equipment upgrades and vehicle purchases, grants will help Rhode Island build back stronger.

This grant cycle builds on a round of $5.8 million in funding that was distributed in June for a 2021 total of $19 million.

Of the 126 organizations receiving funding, the greatest number of applicants came in the Social Services category, ranging from smaller projects like a storage shed for Amenity Aid to store basic care items for shelters, to larger initiatives like the work of Open Doors to provide transitional employment services to individuals with criminal records.

The first round of applications for 2022 grants will open on December 15th and close on January 15th. The second cycle will begin June 1, 2022, and close on July 1, 2022. A secondary track for campership grant applications will open in September 2022.

Full List of Grantees

Safe Haven for Afghans and Haitians in Crisis — Guest Post from GCIR

In light of the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and Haiti, we are sharing the following post from our sister organization, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR):

Safe Haven for Afghans and Haitians in Crisis

We at GCIR are heartbroken about the devastating crises unfolding in Afghanistan and Haiti. In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the collapse of the Afghan government, and the Taliban’s takeover, many Afghans are fleeing for their lives. Meanwhile, the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that recently struck Haiti heightens the urgency of Haitians seeking refuge at the southern U.S. border and the need for Haitians currently residing here to remain. As large numbers of people are being uprooted from their homes, we believe the United States can and must lead the world in protecting these refugees and offering humanitarian assistance.

In response to the events in Afghanistan, an immediate, large-scale evacuation effort and a significantly increased U.S. refugee admissions cap are imperative. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans are at risk in the wake of the Taliban takeover, tens of thousands of whom are in danger due to their association with the U.S. mission. Only 16,000 Afghans have been given protection in the United States since 2014 through the Special Immigrant Visa program, and an estimated 18,000 Afghan allies and 53,000 family members remain in the processing backlog. As the Taliban consolidates power in the coming days and weeks, the window for taking action is rapidly closing.

Haiti’s recent earthquake left at least 1,419 people dead and more than 6,900 injured, a toll that is expected to rise in the coming days. This disaster, coming on the heels of accelerating political turmoil in Haiti, makes it all the more important that Haitians already in the United States are not compelled to return to a perilous situation and that those who have fled to safety have access to asylum and humane treatment when crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Although the Biden administration extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to additional Haitians in May, it is also crucial to halt deportations for Haitians present in the United States today and for Congress to establish a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders and others.

We urge philanthropy to:

Beyond these current crises, the U.S. refugee resettlement system is in great need of rebuilding and strengthening. The administration is on track to admit fewer than 10,000 refugees this fiscal year–the lowest number since 1975 and well below the cap–and has merely resettled 6,200 refugees as of the end of last month. If the administration does not ramp up the pace of processing applications in the pipeline, fewer than the previous low of 11,814 refugees set under the Trump administration will enter the United States.

We at GCIR know our country can rise to our highest ideals by providing protection to those who most desperately need it and welcoming them into our communities, and we believe philanthropy has a critical role to play in helping our nation achieve that vision.

More information on Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees

United Way Awards $4.5 Million in Racial Equity Grants

United Way of Rhode Island announced $4.5 million in grants to 72 mission-driven organizations who are building racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders. Recipients are working in areas such as building economic security, advancing childhood learning, and driving policy and participation in Rhode Island.

“This is certainly an exciting grant opportunity for … how we can deploy resources with the mission of building racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders,” United Way Chief Community Impact and Equity Officer Larry Warner. “We’re really excited to make investments that will help remove systemic barriers to opportunities, as well as to prioritize work that addresses the needs to create equities for [Black, Indigenous and people of color] communities.”

Full list of grantees

Three GCRI Members Recognized as National Leaders in Corporate Citizenship

Points of Light recently named three GCRI members, CVS Health, Hasbro and Tufts Health Plan, as national leaders in corporate citizenship, as part of the 2020 class of The Civic 50.  Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, awards The Civic 50 each year to the top 50 corporate citizenship companies nationwide. All public and private companies with more than $1 billion in revenue are eligible.

This is the first year for Tufts Health Plan to be included on the list.  CVS Health has been recognized since 2017, and Hasbro has been recognized since the inception of the award in 2012.

The Civic 50 recognizes the 50 most community-minded companies in the nation each year as determined by an annual survey administered by True Impact. Since it was launched in 2012, the program has served as benchmarking tool and platform for sharing best practices in the corporate citizenship sector. The survey is based on Points of Light’s Corporate Civic Engagement Framework that creates a roadmap for companies committed to using their time, talent, and resources to drive social impact in their business and communities. The Civic 50 honorees are selected based on the four dimensions of their community engagement and social impact programs: investment of resources, integration across business functions, institutionalization through policies and systems and impact measurement.

Congratulations to CVS, Hasbro and Tufts Health Plan — we are so glad to have your leadership here in Rhode Island!

 

Latest Round of Funding from RI COVID-19 Response Fund Brings Total Grantmaking to $7.2 million

The Rhode Island COVID-19 Response Fund has now allocated a total of $7.2 million to 180 organizations, to provide emergency support for food, rent, utilities and medical expenses.

The sixth round of grants also provided protective gear for health care workers caring for patients at nearly a dozen nursing homes and medical facilities across the state.  The fund includes over $1 million in funding from GCRI member organizations, and is spearheaded by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island.

Full list of grantees