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 Hawaii

We have all seen the footage of the devastation wrought by wildfires in Maui.  Many residents lost everything in the fire and will need significant support to rebuild their lives.

If you are interested in making a donation to recovery funds, the Hawaii Community Foundation is hosting the Maui Strong Fund.  The Maui United Way also has a Maui Fire Disaster Fund.

Our sister organization, Funder Hui, has a list of fundraising efforts and resources related to the fire, and is co-sponsoring a webinar on recovery needs for this Friday, August 17.

Hawaii Wildfires:  What Will Recovery Look Like?

August 17, 4:00pm
Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Funder Hui

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Funder Hui are hosting a webinar to address the urgent and long-term needs of communities affected by the wildfires. Panelists will focus on the unique nature of island recovery, including Hawaii’s ecology; the impact of losing such a critical cultural, political and economic engine; and lessons learned from wildfire recovery in other communities.

At the end of the webinar, donors and grantmakers will:

  1. Understand the distinctive immediate and long-term needs in an island setting.
  2. Learn about how pre-existing inequities will affect outcomes for recovery.
  3. Increase their knowledge of Hawaii’s unique characteristics and how funders can help maintain them during recovery.

While primarily aimed at funders, it may also be of interest to emergency managers, academics, disaster responders and NGO staff interested in or working on disasters and other crises.
Register

BankNewport Awards More Than $500,000 in Grants to 45 RI Organizations

As part of its All In Giving program, BankNewport is pleased to announce that it recently awarded over $505,000 in grant funds to organizations throughout Rhode Island that focus on areas of need including food insecurity, education and workforce development, arts and culture, healthy lives, and underserved populations.

Among the recipients are the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County, to support the expansion and renovation of its Central Clubhouse; the Providence Public Library, to support its Technology Career Pathway education, enrichment, and workforce development program; and the Central Falls Children’s Foundation, to help establish El Centro Community Center in the City of Central Falls, a new one-stop supportive community center for residents.

Recipients of the last quarter grants are:

· Back to School Celebration

· Battle of Rhode Island 1778 Association

· Big Brothers Big Sisters of RI

· BikeNewport

· Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County

· Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick

· Capital Good Fund

· Central Falls Children’s Foundation

· College Visions

· East Bay Food Pantry

· FABNewport

· Genesis Center

· Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation

· Hope & Main

· Hope Alzheimer’s Center

· Innovation Studio, Inc.

· Inspiring Minds

· International Yacht Restoration School

· Jonnycake Center for Hope

· Junior Achievement of RI

· Local Initiatives Support Corporation

· Local Return

· Looking Upwards

· Meals on Wheels of RI

· MS Dream Center of Rhode Island

· New Bridges for Haitian Success

· Newport Art Museum

· Newport Hospital Foundation

· Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust

· Potter League for Animals

· Preservation Society of Newport County

· Providence Public Library

· Redwood Library and Athenaeum

· Rhode Island Philharmonic

· Rhode Island SPCA

· Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education

· RI Elder Info

· San Miguel School of Providence

· Save the Bay

· South County Art Association

· South County Museum

· St. Vincent DePaul Society

· The Groden Network

· Thrive Outside

· Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice

RISCA Awards $828,000 to 138 Arts Entities

The Governor and R.I. State Council on the Arts announced 138 grants totaling $828,328 were awarded throughout Rhode Island to arts and culture organizations, individual artists and schools. Some of the grants also support collaborations with healthcare, education, economic development and Veteran’s affairs.

The grants received support from appropriations by the General Assembly and were federally funded through the National Endowment for the Arts.

Download the full listing of grantees here.

Providence Awards $200,000 to Local Arts, Cultural Organizations

Mayor Brett P. Smiley and Director of Art, Culture, Tourism Joe Wilson Jr. today announced WaterFire ProvidenceCommunity MusicWorksTrinity Repertory CompanyHope Street Merchants AssociationThe Puerto Rican Professional Association of RIRPM Voices of RIWest Broadway Neighborhood AssociationAS220 and Rhode Island Black Storytellers as the grantees for the Special Events Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Sector funding through the American Rescue Plan Act.  

Arts and cultural institutions were some of the hardest hit businesses throughout COVID-19, and many are still struggling to rebound. This grant program is part of the city’s larger effort to ensure that the art institutions that make Providence unique can rebound and grow over the long-term. The $200,000 grants that were awarded are part of over $3 million the city has awarded to various art programs and cultural institutions fighting the economic impacts of COVID-19.  

 

Nearly 1,200 Residents Turn Out to Vote in State’s Largest Ever Participatory Budgeting Initiative

Nearly 1,200 Central Providence residents cast ballots earlier this month and voted to allocate a total of $1 million toward eight community projects that will improve the health and quality of life throughout the 02908 and 02909 zip codes. The Nine Neighborhood Fund is a community-lead participatory budgeting initiative. It is the state’s largest direct budgeting effort and work has been facilitated by ONE Neighborhood Builders and its Central Providence Opportunities: A Health Equity Zone team. ONE|NB is one of the state’s leading community development corporations. Election results were tabulated and finalized during a meeting of the Nine Neighborhood Fund Steering Committee on Thursday evening.

Residents aged 13 and older that live or attend school in Central Providence had the opportunity to vote on seven large projects with budgets over $30,0000 and six small projects with budgets of $30,0000.

The four winning large projects in order of votes received were:

  1. Bathrooms and Plants in Our Parks: $368,000 will be directed to install two new composting toilets at Merino Park and increase access to existing bathrooms in Donigian and Davis Parks. In addition, this initiative will support the planting of native shrubs to enhance the beauty of the green space, encourage community use, and protect the environment.
  2. Lead-Free Water: $330,000 will be directed to provide all households in the Central Providence neighborhoods who have lead-contaminated pipes with an NSF-certified water filter dispenser. Additionally, these funds will help support community education about lead safety.
  3. Peer Mental Health: $50,000 will be directed to launch a peer mental health training program for high school students in the nine Central Providence neighborhoods. The training will help young people detect the signs that their classmates and friends may be experiencing mental health issues. Students who complete the training will receive a certificate and have the opportunity to train other students in their high schools.
  4. Improving Our Bus Stops:  $132,000 will be directed to add seating, lighting, and additional amenities near approximately 4 bus stops that currently do not have shelters.

Additionally, four small projects of $30,000 each were funded:

  1. Life Skills Classes for Youth will provide classes for youth that discuss skills around parenting, personal finance, domestic activities, and other basic life skills.
  2. Food Bearing Tree Planting will plant 20 food-bearing trees native to Rhode Island (apple, pear, peach, berries, nut trees) around Central Providence to help address food insecurity, lack of green space and tree cover.
  3. Soccer for Youth will expand the accessibility of soccer-playing to more local youth in Central Providence, by providing free access to equipment, outdoor space, and coaching.
  4. Bike Distribution and Repair will distribute 50 bikes and repair kits and offer bike maintenance and repair workshops to low-income residents of 02908 and 02909.

The Nine Neighborhood Fund election prioritized accessible voting. Voting took place over the course of two full weeks. Of the nearly 1,200 votes cast, 923 were cast in person at 30 pop-up voting stations and 264 were cast online. More than 200 young people aged 13 to 17 cast ballots.

Projects included on the ballot were developed by community members who served as “project delegates” and narrowed down from more than 300 ideas collected from local residents. The Nine Neighborhood Fund Steering Committee, comprised entirely of residents of 02908 and 02909, led the idea collection process and oversaw the community-wide vote.

Participatory budgeting provides a democratic process for individuals who live in the community to make direct decisions about how to spend a portion of a budget. The Nine Neighborhood Fund is the largest known participatory budget allocation in Rhode Island and is focused on improving community health outcomes and strengthening quality of life throughout Central Providence. Funding for the Nine Neighborhood Fund was made available by the state Executive Office of Health & Human Services and Department of Health and through private grant funds secured by ONE|NB.

Funds cannot be used to supplement existing programs, services, or projects that normally would be funded by state or local government. In addition, there are program design and cost considerations to ensure that all projects can be achieved and that the sustainability of the project is built into its implementation.

Rhode Island Foundation Awards $1.2 Million to Improve Student Performance

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded nearly $1.2 million in grants to improve student performance in Providence, Pawtucket, Newport and Central Falls schools.

Research has shown benefits, particularly for students of color, when students are matched with a teacher of their same race. Low-income Black students, for example, who have at least one Black teacher in elementary school are 29% less likely to drop out of high school, according to a Johns Hopkins report.

In the most recent RICAS results for Providence, only 12% of Hispanic students and 16% of Black students scored proficient on the ELA assessment compared to 30% of White students. In math the gap is even greater, with 9% of Hispanic and Black students scoring proficient compared to 25% of White students.

The recipients of the grants are Equity Institute, Rhode Island College, the University of Rhode Island, and the Central Falls School District.

The Equity Institute will receive $300,000 to establish a teacher apprenticeship program to recruit and train teacher assistants of color to be state certified teachers in Newport public schools. The partners include Apprenticeship Rhode Island, BloomBoard, the Teachers Association of Newport and Newport Public School District. The goal is to develop a federally approved apprenticeship program that can bring additional federal funding into the state.

The Feinstein School of Education and Human Development at Rhode Island College will receive nearly $300,000 to establish a Grow Your Own Equity Fellows Program (GYO) focusing on diversifying the workforce in career and technical education, with a focus on Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls schools. The goal is to train GYO participants to prepare high school students for college and a career in teaching.

The University of Rhode Island will receive $300,000 to enhance its own programs targeting students of color who plan to become teachers and to develop a teacher-preparation program at Highlander Charter School, including admissions testing assistance and promoting continuing education credits.

The Central Falls School District will receive $300,000 to integrate its Learning Pods Program, which pairs small groups of students with mentors from the community, into its strategic plan. The program prepares students to participate in teaching certification programs offered in the city.

Expansion Arts Names New Cohort

Five local arts and culturally specific organizations of color will share $150,000 to increase their capacity to bring their cultural traditions to the public.

The funding is through the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program. A partnership between the Rhode Island Foundation, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RI Humanities), the program targets organizations whose programs and missions center on the cultural practices and traditions of Rhode Island’s diverse communities.

This year’s recipients are the Andean Cultural Center of Rhode Island, the Cultural Society of East Bay, the PVD World Music Institute, the RAÍCES Rhode Island Folk and Cultural Association and the Rhode Island Black Film Festival. In addition to the funding, the program provides opportunities for group learning, direct technical assistance and intercultural collaboration and tools and resources that can enhance the work of each organization.

In addition to the funding, consultants will work with the groups to help them build knowledge and expertise in the areas of financial management, marketing and audience development, leadership development and strategic collaborations.

Members of the new cohort are:

  • The Andean Cultural Center of Rhode Island in Providence, which preserves and promotes the culture of Andean countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The nonprofit educates the public about Andean culture, preserves Indigenous heritage and hosts events to promote the civic and educational engagement of Rhode Islanders of Andean descent.
  • The Cultural Society of East Bay in East Providence, which focuses on helping young Asian Americans find their ethnic identities through talks, discussion, retreats and conferences.
  • The PVD World Music Institute in Providence, which celebrates, educates about and enriches the musical and arts traditions of diverse cultures in Rhode Island, with a special focus on African refugee and immigrant communities. The organization’s mission is symbolized by the Inanga, an ancient musical instrument shared by East Africans, including the Burundian refugee community of Rhode Island that its founder Chance Boas belongs to.
  • The RAÍCES Rhode Island Folk and Cultural Association in Pawtucket, which promotes and preserves Colombian and South American arts and culture. The organization primarily serves residents of Central Falls, Pawtucket, Lincoln, Providence and North Providence.
  • The Rhode Island Black Film Festival in Providence, which screens feature films by a diverse group of first-time and established filmmakers and serves as a platform for increasing the pool of students of color applying to film schools while nurturing film students’ interest in a career behind the lens.

The Expansion Arts Program is offered every three years. Previous recipients include the Korean American Association of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Cape Verdean Heritage, the Columbian American Cultural Society, the India Association of Rhode Island, Sankofa Community Connection and the Laotian Community Center of Rhode Island. The Foundation expects to begin taking applications for the next round of funding in 2025.

NEA Awards $1.134 Million to RI State Council on the Arts, Arts Organizations

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced grant awards of more than $1.134 million to six Rhode Island-based arts and culture organizations. The allotment included $934,100 to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) to support arts programs, services and activities associated with carrying out the agency’s NEA-approved strategic plan.
The other five R.I. grantees are:
  • Rhode Island Arts Foundation at Newport (Newport Classical), $20,000, to support artist fees and venue costs for Newport Classical’s annual summer festival.
  • AS220, Providence, $40,000, for multidisciplinary arts education programming and creative workforce development for youth.
  • Community MusicWorks (CMW), Providence, $70,000, to fund free music education and performance programs for children and youth from historically marginalized communities.
  •  FirstWorks, Providence, $60,000, to support a series of multidisciplinary arts commissions, presentations, residencies and related engagement activities.
  • LitArts RI (What Cheer Writers Club), Providence, $10,000, to offer free podcast training and recording for R.I.-based artists.