RI Foundation to Host Stakeholder Session on Public Education

The Rhode Island Foundation is hosting Make It Happen: World-Class Public Education for RI, a one-day event to convene parents, students, educators, administrators, business leaders, and community members to participate in collective brainstorming.

The event will be led and hosted by the Long-Term Education Planning Committee convened by the Foundation in late 2018. Throughout the year this senior-level group – which includes the Commissioner of Education and Chair of the Board of Education, labor leaders, traditional public school and public charter school representatives, business leaders, representatives from local higher education institutions, and nonprofits serving children and families – has been meeting regularly and have agreed to a vision, priorities, and strategies aimed at developing and sustaining a world-class public education system for our state over the next 10 years.

Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner Angélica M. Infante-Green is expected to attend.

RIDOH Announces New Health Equity Zones

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced that expanded support and funding to three new communities to establish Health Equity Zones. East Providence, Cranston, and Providence’s West End neighborhood were chosen through a competitive process that drew nearly 20 applicants from communities across the State. These new communities will share approximately $1.4 million in funding with seven existing Health Equity Zones receiving support to continue their work in local communities.

RIDOH’s Health Equity Zone initiative is an innovative, place-based approach that brings people together to build healthy, resilient communities across Rhode Island. The initiative is grounded in research that shows up to 80% of health outcomes are determined by factors outside clinical settings, such as access to affordable, healthy foods; high-quality education; employment opportunities; and safe neighborhoods. The model encourages and equips community members and partners to collaborate to address factors like these and create healthy places for people to live, learn, work, and play.

“We are thrilled to expand our Health Equity Zones initiative to additional Rhode Island communities,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “With plans for strong mentorship from existing Health Equity Zones, these communities are taking the forces that shape their health and well-being into their own hands. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next few years as we continue to lift up this initiative as a national model of how such an infrastructure led by community members can create the conditions needed for every person to thrive.”

Each successful application was submitted by a municipal or nonprofit, community-based organization that will serve as the “backbone agency” for the local Health Equity Zone. These agencies, which include East Bay Community Action Program, Comprehensive Community Action Plan, and West Elmwood Housing Corporation, will facilitate a community-led process to organize a collaborative of community partners, conduct a needs assessment, and implement a data-driven plan of action to address the obstacles to health and well-being in local neighborhoods. RIDOH will provide seed funding and support to ensure that communities ground their work in public health principles and best practices, so that measurable outcomes are reached and evaluated.



DHS, DOH Partner to Award Preschool-development Grants

As a result of a partnership between the RI Department of Health and the Department of Human Services, five health equity zones throughout the state have received a total of $360,170 in preschool-development grants.

The selected health equity zones will use the funds to help families prepare children to succeed in school.

“Family members are the first, and often the most important, educators in a child’s early life, yet vulnerable families face significant economic, social-emotional and other barriers to fulfilling that role,” said Womazetta Jones, R.I. Health and Human Services secretary and Children’s Cabinet co-chair. “The preschool-development grants will increase the accessibility, choice, affordability and intensity of programs that are available in these communities.”

The successful HEZ’s were Woonsocket, Central Providence, Pawtucket/Central Falls, Washington County and West Warwick.


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.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $1.1 Million in Healthy Aging Policy and Practice Grants

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $1.1 Million to Advance Policies and Practices Supporting Healthy Aging

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced new community investments of more than $1.1 million, reflecting a commitment to advance inclusive policies that create thriving and vital communities that work for people of all ages.

“Communities have greater interest in age-friendly initiatives. There’s a growing understanding of the critical role older people play. They are an asset to community, and their voices and insights are invaluable to the public discourse on what communities need,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, vice president, corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan and president of its Foundation.

The Foundation’s new grants support initiatives to engage and train more advocates to participate in policy discussions; extend dementia-friendly programs to new communities; and address gaps limiting access to services and healthy, nutritious food. All are aligned with the Foundation’s focus on support for communities that work for everyone.

Three of the eight grants awarded went to Rhode Island organizations.  The Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island was awarded a $50,000 policy and advocacy grant for a program to engage low-income seniors and develop them as community leaders with the capacity to effectively advocate for policy change.  Rhode Island College Foundation received a two year James A. Roosevelt, Jr. Leadership Fund (community engagement) grant for $252,400 to build a powerful community coalition to advocate, design innovative solutions and develop programs/services for an Age-Friendly Rhode Island.  The Alzheimer’s Association of Rhode Island also received a one year systems and best practices grant for $15,000 to support the update of Rhode Island’s five-year plan on Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders.

The new grants engage nearly 80 community organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

LISC Advances Health Equity in Pawtucket/Central Falls

LISC Advances Health Equity in Pawtucket/Central Falls

LISC reports that tremendous strides have been made on the Pawtucket Central Falls Health Equity Zone (HEZ) initiative after just the first two years of a four-year commitment.

In its 2017 Report to the Community, Jeanne Cola, LISC Executive Director, says, “We are enormously proud of being able to provide leadership services and act as the backbone agency for this hard working collaboration of community leaders…. After just a year of executing the plan, we are already seeing the benefits to the community. We are making strides on expanding access to nutritious food and increasing levels of activity; we are developing programs to foster intergenerational relationships, diabetes education and management, and HEZ partners are focused on creating affordable  housing solutions.”

Read the 2017 HEZ Report

Interview on WPRO

Rhode Island Foundation Awards Almost $500,000 in Place-Based Grants

The Rhode Island Foundation awarded almost a half million dollars in place-based grants this summer, through its Community Grants program and Newport County Fund.

The Community Grants program provided $225,000 in grants to support work that ranges from creating performance spaces and urban farms to restoring playgrounds and historic parks.  The Foundation received nearly 130 proposals; 30 received funding.

“Our grants will create places to gather, build relationships and inspire new collaborations that will strengthen community connections all over Rhode Island, said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.  Description of funded projects

The Foundation also awarded more than $270,000 to dozens of nonprofit organizations serving Newport County residents, through its Newport County Fund (NCF).  The grants will underwrite a host of activities ranging from job readiness training and after-school activities to preventing relationship violence and stocking food pantries.

“From enriching arts and educational opportunities for young people to underwriting critical health and environmental programs, we are proud to work with partners that are improving lives here,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We are grateful to the donors who make our support possible and the local men and women who keep us closely connected to the community.”

Established in 2002, the NCF has awarded more than $3.8 million in grants for programs and services for residents of Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth and Tiverton.  The NCF offered grants of up $10,000 in seven key funding areas: arts and culture, basic human needs, children and families, economic security, the environment, healthy lives and housing. In making the funding decisions, the Foundation worked with an advisory committee comprised of Newport County residents.  Description of funded programs

Strengthening the Youth Sector: Lessons for Funders, Leaders, and Boards Webinar

Strengthening the Youth Sector: Lessons for Funders, Leaders, and Boards  Webinar

Thursday, June 22nd, 12:00-1:00 PM ET

Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP), a sister organization in the Forum, will be hosting a webinar based on the Youth Engagement Fund’s new report, Strengthening the Youth Sector: Lessons for Funders, Leaders, and Boards. This report was produced with input from over 40 executive directors, staff and board members leading youth-oriented civic engagement organizations to help us better understand how we can better support the development and retention of excellent leaders in this sector of work.


More Value to Short-Term Investment or Smaller, Long-Term, Endowment Based Giving?

Atlantic Philanthropies has banked its investment decisions on the philosophy that since a foundation’s grants generate a social return, those returns compound at a higher rate than its financial assets would, so more immediate grants will generate more social value than preserving the capital and making more grants later.  This is the premise behind limited life foundations.  Value, Time, and Time-Limited Philanthropy, highlights discussions among philanthropic leaders, advisors, and scholars about the social value a philanthropic initiative can be estimated to generate — taking into account direct outlay, social value, ripple effects, and durability — and whether, considering social utility, rates of return, and the compounding or erosion of value over time, the premise holds true for three Atlantic Philanthropies-funded initiatives.  Initial study is showing that Atlantic’s short-term investments are paying off, in part because other foundations have taken a slower, more sustained approach, so there may be an important role for both approaches to funding to address systemic issues.


Changes to GCRI May Calendar, Upcoming Regional Conferences and GCRI Member Discounts

May’s GCRI schedule has been changed, so please make a note of the new dates and times.

Tuesday, May 9 at 9am — Employee Engagement Catalyst Group Conference Call

Thursday, May 25, 1:00-2:30pm — Financial and Social Returns:  Maximizing Impact Through Mission-Related Investments

The roundtable on Low Income Supports originally scheduled for May 18 has been postponed.

Contact Nancy at nancy.wolanski@uwri.org with any questions about upcoming events.


There are a number of upcoming conferences and events in the region — many of them offer discounts to GCRI members, so be sure to take advantage of them!

Youth Organizing Funder Roundtable
Aspen Forum for Community Solutions
Boston, May 22
The Aspen Forum has invited GCRI members to a Funder Roundtable on “Radical Possibilities:  The Power of Youth in the Fight for Social Justice.”  The session will take place from 2:30-6:00pm at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, and is co-sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Funders Collaborative for Youth Organizing and the Hyams Foundation.  The purpose of the roundtable is to share models of youth-led organizing and examples of authentic youth-adult partnerships in the work for social change.  The session will showcase the possibilities and power of youth voice, leadership and organizing, and the role of philanthropy in supporting these efforts.  For more information, contact Christina Kostuk, christina.kostuk@aspeninstitute.org or 202-736-5809.

2017 Collective Impact Convening
Collective Impact Forum

Boston, May 23-25
As a local partner, GCRI members are eligible to receive $100 discount on registration.  The Collective Impact Forum is a partnership between FSG and the Aspen Institute, and the convening will attract more than 400 funders, backbone leaders, and other collective impact partners. GCRI members who are currently involved in cross-sector partnerships — or interested in learning more about best practices in collective impact — can use promo code RI100 at the end of registration, which will take $100 off the individual three-day funder registration rate of $1095. Note: if you plan to bring more than one person from your organization, you do * not * need to use this promo code because there is a price break already built in for bringing multiple representatives from the same organization.”

Grantmaking Fundamentals Workshop 2017
Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers
Baltimore, June 6
A full-day professional development workshop for grantmakers taught by regional experienced practitioners! Topics include:  Your grantmaking within the local and national philanthropic landscape; Developing grant guidelines and communicating with the public; Reviewing proposals and conducting due diligence; Legal and ethical guidelines for grantmaking excellence; Maximizing grant impact; Strategies for continued learning and improvement.  GCRI members are eligible for the ABAG member price, using discount code: 2017RANETWORK.

2017 Conference on Scaling Impact
Social Impact Exchange
New York, NY, June 14-15
The 2017 Conference on Scaling Impact is for foundation officers, philanthropists, corporate executives, trustees, and wealth managers and philanthropy advisors interested in learning about innovative methods to support high-impact nonprofits in education, youth development, poverty alleviation, health and impact investing.  The conference includes presentations from foundation CEOs and nonprofit leaders, as well as knowledge sessions and peer networking opportunities. Members of the Forum are eligible to attend at the discounted rate of $895 (regular price is $1,695).  To receive the discount, visit the registration site and indicate in the drop down menu that you are invited by the Forum. Space is limited so we encourage you to register soon.

Community Foundation Boot Camp
Associated Grantmakers
Boston, August 29-30
The two-day Community Foundation Boot Camp program offers a comprehensive overview of the structure and operations of a community foundation.  The program is an ideal in-depth introduction to community foundations for new community foundation staff, community foundation board members or more experienced community foundation staff looking for a good refresher.  Training is provided by Indiana Philanthropy Alliance.  GCRI members are eligible to participate at the AGM member price of $450/person.