The Point32Health Foundation announced today that 10 community organizations across the region will receive grants totaling more than $1.1 million. Funding will support work to advance policies and practices that address disparities and create more inclusive communities.Building on the legacy of service and giving established by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation, the Point32Health Foundation will work with communities to support, advocate and advance healthier lives for everyone. These grants advance systems-level change to remove barriers responsible for inequities in New England communities. The Rhode Island beneficiary was Progreso Latino in Central Falls, which received a two-year grant for $150,000.
$500,000 supports nonprofits in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire
Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced 50 community organizations across the region will receive a total of $500,000 in Momentum Fund grants to advance health equity and support community resilience. The organizations serve people disproportionately affected by the pandemic after years of system inequities, especially older people.
The 2021 Momentum Fund grants support organizations that improve nutrition security; make access to transportation more equitable; address social isolation and mental health; deliver reliable and clear COVID-19 information; support caregivers; and advance workforce solutions. The grants were informed by more than 100 conversations with community members.
A total of 10 organizations in each state — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire — will receive unrestricted grants due to the challenges many have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources can be used to address the most urgent community needs.
The Rhode Island grantees are Aldersbridge Communities, Center for Southeast Asians, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Conexion Latina Newport, Grands Flourish, Higher Ground International, Refugee Dream Center, RI Minority Elder Task Force, We Share Hope, and West Bay Community Action Program.
Several community leaders — Mario Bueno of Progreso Latino, Anthony Hubbard of YouthBuild Preparatory Academy, Cortney Nicolato of United Way, and Daniel Schliefer of New Urban Arts — published a commentary piece in the Boston Globe on the importance of investing in the capacity and sustainability of the nonprofit sector.
Rhode Island can no longer overlook, and underfund, its nonprofit sector
Over the last 19 months, Rhode Island’s nonprofit organizations have been the heart, hands and feet of Rhode Island’s relief and recovery efforts. They provided food and shelter to Rhode Islanders in need. Helped underserved communities access testing and vaccines. Supported children and families with the challenges of distance learning. Provided physical and behavioral health care. Helped isolated seniors connect with loved ones and services. Provided support and training for small businesses and social entrepreneurs. Trained workers for new jobs. Uplifted somber days with beautiful music and art.
In some ways, the last year-and-a-half has been a story of unprecedented commitment and heroism. Faced with the confluence of health, economic, and racial justice crises, Rhode Island nonprofits rose to the challenge of skyrocketing need. At great personal and organizational cost, they overcame public health restrictions, inadequate staffing, physical and emotional exhaustion, and fundraising limitations to deliver services in innovative ways. They were a lifeline to thousands of Rhode Islanders during their darkest moments.
In other ways, the commitment and heroism displayed by our state’s nonprofits during the pandemic is completely normal. It is what happens when organizations are driven by mission and collective social benefit.
Every single day, pandemic or not, quiet, essential work is done across Rhode Island by nonprofit organizations. Skilled, dedicated, compassionate staff work with limited resources to care for our neighbors, empower our children, and build flourishing communities. Community-based organizations provide the expertise, energy, and innovation to make the state’s vision for strong, equitable, prosperous cities and towns a reality. Every. Single. Day.
And every day, whether in times of crisis or plenty, the state depends on these same nonprofits to make Rhode Island lives and communities better. Yet, at nearly every turn, this vital sector is under-resourced, stretched thin, and often taken for granted.
Like the steel beams that undergird our bridges, the crucial work of our state’s nonprofits is so integral to the health and well-being of our communities that it can easily be overlooked. But like our physical infrastructure, our “civic infrastructure” of unheralded nonprofits, collaborative networks, and community-based initiatives cannot continue to carry the weight of our state’s critical needs without comprehensive, long-term investment.
Nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis have been awarded another $380,000 in grants in the final phases of the RI Gives Vax Challenge. The funding was triggered as a result of the more than 25,000 Rhode Islanders who got vaccinated since the program was launched in July. More than 81 percent of adult Rhode Islanders are now at least partially vaccinated
The RI Gives Vax Challenge encouraged Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by awarding grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery every time another 5,000 people were vaccinated. As a result of hitting the 20,000- and 25,000-vaccination milestones, another 38 nonprofits from across Rhode Island received $10,000 grants in the final phases of the initiative.
With the final rounds of grants, the Foundation has awarded $750,000 to 75 organizations in partnership with Gov. McKee, the Rhode Island Commerce Department and the Rhode Island Department of Health.
The RI Gives Vax challenge supports public health initiatives, bolstering the steadfast work of Rhode Island nonprofits and securing stable footing as the state moves into the next phase of pandemic recovery and response.
The other recipients of the Round 4 and Round 5 grants are Amenity Aid, Capital City Community Centers, Central Falls Family Self Sufficiency Foundation, Clothes to Kids RI, Foster Forward, Hope’s Harvest RI, Interfaith Counseling Center, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, Lucy’s Hearth, McAuley Ministries, New Beginnings, Operation Stand Down, Progreso Latino, Providence Rescue Mission, Rhode Island for Community & Justice, We Share Hope, Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education, Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County, Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, Bridgemark, CartwheelRI, Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Good Neighbors, Housing Hotline, Inspiring Minds, Mentor Rhode Island, Open Doors, New Urban Arts, Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust, Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need, Silver Lake Community Center, St. Martin de Porres Senior Center, West End Community Center, West Warwick Senior Center.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) announced the 13 community partners for its tenth annual day of service this fall to support the health and well-being of Rhode Islanders.
Since the day’s inception, BCBSRI employees have signed up to provide support for tasks at 118 service day projects, including curating outdoor spaces, packaging footwear for children impacted by homelessness, building affordable and safe homes, creating meal kits for distribution by local food banks and conducting impactful projects virtually.
In addition to volunteer support, project sites will receive a financial contribution of $5,000 from BCBSRI to support their work. Since the inaugural Blue across Rhode Island in 2012, employees have provided more than 30,000 volunteer hours and the company has donated more than $605,000 in funding to nearly 70 agencies around the state.
Recognized nationally as a “Best in Class” volunteer initiative, Blue across Rhode Island has become not only a signature event for BCBSRI employees, but also an invaluable resource for the organizations and those involved – making a lasting impact on the lives of more than 133,000 people throughout the state.
The local organizations selected for Blue across Rhode Island 2021 and the projects BCBSRI employees will work on include 134 Collaborative, Amenity Aid, Boys & Girls Club of Northern Rhode Island, Children’s Friend, Gotta Have Sole Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Providence, South County Habitat for Humanity, Happy Hope Foundation, Hope Alzheimer’s Center, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Partnership for Providence Parks, Recs & Streetscapes, Playworks New England, Riverzedge Arts.
Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced 16 new grants to support collaborative initiatives helping communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island be great places to grow up and grow old.
The grants, totaling $1.95 million, aim to increase access to healthy food, housing, technology, and other supports. They invest in community-led efforts to promote systems change and encourage collaboration.
HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University was awarded a two-year, $120,000 grant to develop a comprehensive, 10-year strategy to address housing needs and challenges for older adults across Rhode Island as part of the Collaboration ad Community Engagement grant program.
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.
Investments focus on engaging older people in solutions
As part of new funding totaling $1.325 million across four New England states, Tufts Health Plan Foundation has awarded $300,000 to two Rhode Island organizations to advance policies and practices that support healthy aging. The new grants engage older people in systems-level change to remove barriers responsible for inequities in communities across the region.
The Policy and Advocacy grants were awarded to the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island, and University of Rhode Island’s Foundation and Feinstein Center for a Hunger-Free America.
The Foundation has announced more than $7 million to support community organizations this year, including $3.4 million for pandemic response and advancing racial justice.
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.
CVS Health announced its commitment to flattening the “second curve,” the less visible but escalating mental health crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. To help address America’s expanding mental and emotional wellbeing needs, the company is enhancing its nationwide mental health programming effort with new charitable investments focused on health care workers, essential workers and seniors.
Since March 1, CVS Health has seen a 200 percent increase in virtual mental health visits as compared to the same period last year, as well as substantial increases in calls for help with psychological distress including anxiety, grief and loss, and trauma. Health care workers are under extreme stress and anxiety fighting to save lives, while in many cases, isolating themselves after shifts to keep their own family safe. Self-isolation also affects older adults whose only social contacts are outside of their homes.
CVS Health will increase access to the following resources through targeted financial support:
- Supporting Americares COVID-19 Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Project with a $500,000 contribution from the Aetna Foundation to help frontline health care workers, particularly those who serve low-income populations, improve their mental health awareness, knowledge and resiliency, and understand the mental health concerns impacting their patients.
- Expert crisis support for frontline health care and essential workers through Crisis Text Line via a $300,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation. For the Frontlines is a dedicated effort to provide 24/7 confidential direct mental health support for those on the frontlines, including health care workers dealing with the stress, anxiety, fear, depression and/or isolation associated with COVID-19. Health care and essential workers can text FRONTLINE to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. to communicate with a trained volunteer crisis counselor at no cost.
CVS Health is also making Aetna’s Resources for Living (RFL) program available to everyone, which includes phone support, assistance for employers, support for basic needs, as well as educational resources.
Finally, CVS Health is offering increased support for its own employees through various resources that help build mental health resilience, cope with uncertainty, reduce stress and stay connected. These services will be delivered with 7 Cups, an online platform that connects people to a caring, emotionally supportive volunteer listener to prevent depression and anxiety.