RI Foundation Raises $1.3 Million to Increase Teachers of Color in Providence Schools

Providence Public Schools, RIDE will use the funding to hire more than 125 teachers of color over the next five years

The Rhode Island Foundation has raised $3.1 million to increase the number of teachers of color in Providence public schools. Students of color represent 80 percent of enrollment in the district while just 20 percent of teachers are members of minority groups.

The funding will be used to offer candidates a college loan-repayment incentive totaling up to $25,000 over the first three years of employment. The incentive will be in addition to the standard compensation package that the Providence Public School District (PPSD) offers all teachers.

The district hopes to hire more than 125 minority teachers over the next five years through the program. PPSD hires approximately 175 new teachers a year, generally to fill vacancies due to retirements or movement to other districts.

Full-time teachers who identify as Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latino or multi-racial are eligible for the loan repayment program. They must be new hires to Providence public schools—current teachers are not eligible.

This initiative builds off of the work of the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) has done to convene and retain educators of color statewide in Rhode Island.

The goal is to recruit approximately 25 new teachers of color a year for five years beginning in the 2021-22 academic year. Participants are eligible to have up to $6,000 of their college loan debt paid off after completing year one of teaching, up to an additional $8,500 after completing year two and up to another $10,500 after completing year three.

The donors are Judith and William Braden, Nancy and Charlie Dunn, Ruth and Jonathan Fain, Bhikhaji Maneckji, the Papitto Opportunity Connection, the Partnership for Rhode Island, The Stonehouse Mountain Family Fund and Jyothi and Shivan Subramaniam.

PPSD is using a multi-year $220,000 grant from the Foundation to hire a Diversity and Pipeline Design Specialist to coordinate all efforts related to the recruitment of teachers of color, including collaborating with existing teacher certification programs and developing supports for retention.

In addition, The Equity Institute received a $125,000 grant to help a diverse group of non-certified teaching assistants to become state certified teachers in partnership with College Unbound.

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

RI Council for the Humanities Awards $150,000 to 15 Public Projects and Documentary Films

The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities announced major grant awards to 15 public projects and documentary films that showcase the power of the humanities to connect communities and strengthen civil society.

Through video messages, Senator Jack ReedSenator Sheldon WhitehouseCongressman David Cicilline, and Congressman James Langevin, shared the role of the humanities to bring people together, especially in times of crisis, and congratulate this year’s grant recipients. In 2020, the delegation’s support resulted in $840,000 in federal relief funds from the National Endowments for the Humanities and Arts to Rhode Island. Additional relief funding for humanities and arts is expected through the American Rescue Plan, and details about those opportunities will be available later in May.

Women’s Fund Releases Statement Condemning Misogyny and Anti-Asian Racism

The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island joined with members of the Women’s Funding Network in a statement of solidarity that condemns violence and systemic racism and misogyny against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). The statement is a call to action for philanthropy to invest in, and value, AAPI lives. See the full statement here WFN Members’ Statement of Solidarity and Condemnation of Violence – Women’s Funding Network

RI Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund Awards Additional $550,000 in Grants

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded an additional $550,000 in grants from its COVID-19 Response Fund to help Rhode Islanders cope with the continuing effects of the pandemic. With these most recent grants, Foundation has awarded $7.3 million in grants since launching the fund nearly one year ago.

The latest recipients include the Dorcas International Institute in Providence, Operation Stand Down in Johnston, the Samaritans in Pawtucket, Turning Around Ministries in Newport and the WARM Shelter in Westerly.  Bradley Hospital, Crossroads Rhode Island, the Da Vinci Center, the Housing Network, the Interfaith Counseling Center, New Englanders Helping Our Veterans, Project Undercover, Project Weber/RENEW, R.I. Legal Services, the R.I. Parent Information Network, Sacred Heart Elderly Day Care and Women’s Refugee Care also received grants.

The Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund was launched in March 2020 initially in partnership with the United Way of Rhode Island. The $7.3 million in grants awarded to date reflect just the grantmaking by the Foundation. Nearly 150 nonprofits received grants. See the list of COVID-19 Response Fund grantees.

Empowering Communities and Addressing Racism

Thank you to those who participated in the GCRI Community Empowerment session last week.  As I mentioned at the beginning of the session, the last year (and the last few days) have highlighted not only the devastating impact of racism on our communities and on people of color around the country, but also the imperative for philanthropy to deepen its work in understanding and addressing issues of racial equity and racial justice in our communities.

Part of that work is to acknowledge the complexity, pervasiveness, and intersectionality of this work — to intentionally listen to the voices of individuals and communities who have experienced current and historical racism, and to support their leadership in addressing the root causes and symptoms.

To that end, I would encourage you all to listen to the session, and to support local initiatives to ensure that under-represented groups in Rhode Island, like communities of color, people with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, etc. have the resources they need to mobilize and play a leadership role in efforts to address the challenges facing their communities.  Historically, philanthropy has assumed that funders are better able to determine solutions than communities themselves, but now more than ever, it is critical that philanthropy recognize the necessity of resourcing and learning from community leaders.  (Email nancy.wolanski@unitedwayri.org to get the link to listen to the session.)

Supporting Our Asian American Colleagues and Communities

This week’s violence in Atlanta, where 6 of 8 of the victims were Asian American women, is only the latest in an increasing number of racist attacks in the US.  The STOP AAPI Hate project has documented over 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian racism over the last year, many targeted at women and seniors.  The language used by law enforcement in Atlanta, and the rhetoric used by some members of Congress in the hearing on Asian American violence, has exacerbated the pain felt by our Asian American colleagues and other people of color.   To our colleagues of color, please know that GCRI stands with you and your families and communities — we hold you close in this time of pain, fear and isolation.

As the racial justice protests over the last year have demonstrated, this is a pivotal moment for our country, and for philanthropy, to address the pervasive legacy — and current reality — of racism in the U.S.  We need to stand with all of those who have experienced the trauma of racism (and misogyny and other types of discrimination and violence) and to speak out against language and actions that stigmatize, demonize, or harm our friends, colleagues, neighbors or communities.  Our words matter.  And they need to be followed up with action.

As my colleagues Patricia Eng, CEO of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and Erik Stegman, Executive Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy, write in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, “It is time for philanthropy to do a lot more to curb the rising violence and hatred by using the power of its voice and its grant dollars…Although recent events have been incredibly painful, we hope the philanthropic sector will take this opportunity to stand up by investing in — and valuing — the diversity of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. A truly inclusive democracy demands that we meaningfully support these rich and diverse cultures, especially when some seek violence against them. As advocates for Native Americans and Asian Americans, we know too well what it’s like to be excluded and disregarded in philanthropy. This is a moment for the sector to act and stand with our communities.”
GCRI will continue to offer racial equity programming for all of its members, but we also encourage you to join the GCRI Racial Equity Catalyst Group, which will be offering opportunities to go deeper in your professional and personal roles as an ally, advocate, and funder.  If you are interested in participating, please fill out this survey so we can get your scheduling and content preferences.  Survey
On March 26 at noon, United Way of Rhode Island will be hosting From Challenge to Change, A Community First Conversation, a discussion about advancing racial equity in Rhode Island. This conversation will feature community leaders from United Way, Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE), the Latino Policy Institute, and the Equity Institute.
If you are interested in supporting the local Asian American community during this difficult time, you can consider supporting the RI Solidarity FundARISE, the Center for Southeast Asians, or other BIPOC led organizations, many of which are doing anti-racism work in the community.  The three local organizations that we heard from during yesterday’s session that are doing important work on supporting BIPOC leadership in Rhode Island are New Leaders CouncilOne Neighborhood Builders, and Rhode Island for Community and Justice.
Other Resources in Learning About and Responding to Asian American Racism
Channavy Chhay, from the Center for Southeast Asians shared about the impact of recent Asian-American racism on WPRI
Bystander Intervention Trainings — Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Chicago) and Hollaback!
Combatting Increased Anti-Asian Violence in the Wake of COVID-19 — Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Resource Directory
Philanthropy’s Asian American Exclusion Problem — Stephanie Peng, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Supporting Asian Americans in Georgia

 Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta has been working closely with AAPI community leaders and impacted folks in Georgia to learn what care is needed on the ground. If you would like to support them in providing community care, you can consider taking part in the action steps below and following their social media (FacebookTwitterInstagram) for updates on needs.

Three ways to support the Asian American community in Georgia:



Stop AAPI Hate

Thank you for your commitment to creating a more just and equitable Ocean State, where every Rhode Islander can thrive.  That work is more critical than ever.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan Foundations Give $1 Million to Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Education in Communities of Color

First joint community investment supports 42 organizations in five states

In their first joint community investment, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation are giving $1 million to support vaccine education, awareness and outreach in communities of color across New England, including $175,000 to Rhode Island organizations. Just one month after Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan announced their combined organization, this investment is an immediate response to emerging needs in Black and Brown communities across the region disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“With the pandemic continuing to have a devastating impact on Black and Brown communities, this funding will give a boost to organizations across the region working tirelessly to support the needs of their community members and create awareness around the importance of the vaccine, ” said Michael Carson, president of the combined organization of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, and chairman of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation board.

Grants will support a range of organizations—from statewide organizations to local community nonprofits. They include faith-based organizations, trusted Black/Latinx-led community nonprofits, and organizations with experience coordinating multilingual efforts.

Rhode Island grantees include Children’s Friend, Comprehesive Community Action Program, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Local Initiatives Support Corporatio, ONE Neighborhood Builders, Progreso Latino, Thundermist Health Center, United Way of Rhode Island, and West Elmwood Housing Development Corp.


Centreville Bank Foundation 2020 Giving Tops $1 Million

With its fourth quarter grant round of $113,861, the Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation awarded a total of $1,063,861 in grants for 2020, the largest annual giving amount in bank history.

“There is a critical need for financial support for many charitable organizations throughout Rhode Island and Connecticut, particularly as the pandemic continues, said Horvat. “We are fortunate to be in a financial position to support them as they help the most vulnerable populations with everything from health care, food, shelter and other basic needs, to education and literacy.”

The latest grants to 15 organizations in Rhode Island and Connecticut, included Beautiful Day, Community Preparatory School, Coventry Housing Associates Corporation, Cranston Public Library, Day One, Friends of CASA, House of Hope, Reach Out and Read Rhode Island and United Way of Rhode Island.


RISCA Distributes COVID-19 Relief Grants to Arts Community

The RI State Council on the Arts (RISCA) has awarded close to $1 million in Covid Relief Funds (CRF) to artists, professional arts education associations, and arts and culture organizations. These grants announced today provide badly needed assistance to organizations, artists and arts educators who continue to experience economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

or artists, the CRF assistance is being distributed through the Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund, a charitable fund set up by RISCA to help artists who have lost income due to the pandemic. A total of $321,200 was divided up into grants and distributed to 390 artists.

For arts and culture organizations, and arts education associations, the funds are being dispersed directly through RISCA.

In addition to artists, and arts and culture organizations, grant recipients include 11 organizations associated with the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program (RIEAP) and seven culturally specific nonprofits. RIEAP is a partnership among RISCA, RI Council for the Humanities (RICH) and Rhode Island Foundation to support community-based, culturally diverse arts and cultural organizations.

The grants were specifically designed to save jobs, help cover revenue losses and additional COVID-19 costs incurred in 2020.

State Arts Council Awards $750,000 in Grants to Artists, Arts Organizations

Arts and culture organizations, arts education programs, teaching artists in healthcare, folk artists and related community projects received $750,192 in grants distributed by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA). These 120 grants, approved by the Arts Council’s Board in December, will support arts and cultural activities throughout the state during this fiscal year.

These grants depend on support from the Rhode Island General Assembly and federally funded National Endowment for the Arts, in addition to matching dollars raised through contributions from businesses, individuals and earned income from ticket sales and admissions.

More information