United Way Invests $10 Million to Build Racial Equity and Opportunities for all Rhode Islanders
With a focus on achieving the goals of its LIVE UNITED 2025 plan to build racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders, United Way of Rhode Island announced an investment of $10 million in the work of community organizations over three years. These latest grants, awarded from United Way’s Community Impact Fund, benefitted 45 local nonprofits, following what were intentional changes to the organization’s grantmaking program.
In 2021, United Way made the commitment to invest $100 million over five years to build racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders. With this round of funding, the organization’s contributions through programs, grants, and philanthropy now total more than $71.25 million toward that goal in just three years. Additionally in 2023, United Way will offer more opportunities for funding with a focus on summer learning, opportunity grants, equity initiatives, and family stabilization, among others.
United Way’s overhaul of its grant program was designed to better serve organizations whose work is rooted in actively advancing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Among the changes are three years of funding rather than two, awarding only unrestricted grants, instituting nontraditional reporting, and addressing the funding inequities faced by nonprofits led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) leaders. On average, these organizations have less than half of the staff and budget as non-BIPOC-led nonprofits.
Aligning with United Way’s strategic priorities, the focus areas of the awarded grants include out-of-school time and experiential learning opportunities for students in underserved communities, housing, job training and economic empowerment, and community-based advocacy to advance social justice and racial equity.
Among the grantee organizations, two — Inspiring Minds and Mt. Hope Learning Center — were funded at the recommendation of United Way’s Women United group.
Organizations were invited to apply for up to $75,000 in annual funding for the three-year period of 2023 to 2026. Proposals went through a multiphase review process, in which a committee of 29 took a holistic approach to reviewing each application. Proposals were scored on alignment with United Way’s mission; organizational readiness to invest; population served and geographical reach; justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion plans; and proposed activities. There were 238 grant applications received, totaling $17.8 million in funding requests.
Citizens Gives LISC $1.25 Million For Digital Inclusion
The Citizens Charitable Foundation announced today a $1.25 million grant to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to fuel digital inclusion in historically marginalized communities, helping residents build the skills they need to compete for jobs.
Supporting work at eight LISC Financial Opportunity Center® (FOC) partners, the funding will help launch and expand digital services that prepare people for growth industries, including the information technology field. LISC FOCs are community-based programs that integrate services related to employment training and career coaching, job placement, financial coaching, and wrap-around social support like child-care, housing and transportation so that people can achieve long-term financial stability.
Since FOC services are delivered by experienced community-based nonprofits, the digital training is tailored to local economic and employment conditions, with a particular focus on people and communities where job loss, discrimination and underinvestment have limited opportunities. Importantly, the experience gained from these efforts can then be replicated throughout LISC’s national network of more than 120 FOCs, which serve 25,000 people each year.
The funding directly benefits people who face the steepest structural barriers to opportunity. More than 83 percent of FOC clients are people of color, and 60 percent are women. They take advantage of a range of FOC programs—including the Bridges to Career Opportunities program, which focuses on foundational skills like math and reading, as well as technical training—so they can move into better-paying jobs and build a more stable financial future.
Citizens has been a long-time supporter of LISC and FOCs, with more than $4 million in funding since 2018.
Rhode Island Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund Awards $110,000 for Services to RI’s Black Community
Nonprofits serving the state’s Black community have received nearly $110,000 in grants through the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.
The fund, established in 2007 to address the needs of the Black community in Rhode Island, supports nonprofits that offer youth development and mentoring, promote the history and achievements of Blacks in Rhode Island, preserve the culture of the Black community and strive to uplift low-income Black Rhode Islanders.
Nineteen organizations received grants:
- African Alliance of Rhode Island
- Oasis International
- Sankofa Community Connection
- Youth Moving Forward
- Everett: Company, Stage & School
- Inspiring Minds
- MAP Behavioral Health Services
- New Bridges for Haitian Success
- New Urban Arts
- Power Up RI, Inc.
- Rhode Island Black Storytellers
- Rhode Island for Community & Justice
- Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education
- Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts
- Urban League of Rhode Island, Inc.
- Stages of Freedom
- WattsNatural Tutoring
- Youth In Action
The fund also offers scholarships for Black students who are pursuing or advancing a career in health care in college or a technical school. Last year, the fund awarded $54,500 to 25 recipients. The deadline to apply for 2023 scholarship assistance is April 10.
The Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund is just one of the grant programs the Foundation uses to support nonprofits that serve Rhode Island’s community of color. Recent initiatives include creating a capacity-building program to support nonprofits led by Asian, Black, Latino or Hispanic, Indigenous or multi-racial executive directors or other decision-makers within an organization; and launching a grant program to help nonprofits create anti-racist organizational cultures.
Schott Foundation for Public Education Grants over $500,000 in Support of Public Schools
Between April and June, the Schott Foundation for Public Education awarded $589,710 across ten grantees to support parent, youth, and community organizations working to defend and improve public schools and fight for race and gender justice in their communities — more than $1.5 million in 2022 so far. Schott grants this quarter have gone to longtime Schott partners like the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools and One Voice, as well as newer grantees like Village of Wisdom and Being Black in the Burbs.
Several of the grants this quarter were made as part of the multi-partner Invest Together Fund – which is a national organizing effort to defend public education locally with NYU Metro Center and Race Forward’s H.E.A.L. Together Initiative.
Point32Health Foundation Commits $1 Million to Organizations Working on Social and Racial Justice Across Five States
Point32Health Foundation announced grants totaling $1 million to advance social and racial equity across five states. The funds will support nonprofit organizations that include diverse voices and perspectives, eliminate systemic barriers, and advocate for stronger communities. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation, which combined to become Point32Health Foundation, have committed more than $5.5 million to support racial equity since 2020. AMOR Coalition, Center for Southeast Asians, and SISTA Fire.The grants will support 16 nonprofit organizations, two in Connecticut, three each in Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and four in Massachusetts. Organizations will have flexibility in how the resources are used and are not tied to a specific project or initiative. $125,000 will go to Rhode Island nonprofits. The three recipients are
To engage its own community of colleagues, the Foundation also has expanded Point32Health’s employee match program. A new two-for-one match aims to incentivize colleagues to support nonprofits that advance social and racial justice as well as eliminate systemic barriers. This new double match is available year-round.
Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation Donates $190,000 to RI and CT Organizations
The Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation has awarded $198,850 in funding to 21 organizations throughout Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Rhode Island organizations receiving second quarter grants are:
- Back to School Celebration of RI – $10,000 to purchase of 1350 backpacks and school supplies for children in Rhode Island communities.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of RI – $5,000 for the Family Empowerment Investment Fund.
- Children’s Friend – $5,000 for the Connecting with Families and Communities Pilot Program.
- Clínica Esperanza – $40,000 for the Neighborhood Health Station, which offers rapid COVID-19 testing and vaccines and other medical tests to support underserved communities.
- Community College of Rhode Island Foundation – $30,000 to support the CCRI Student Emergency Fund.
- Inspiring Minds – $5,000 to support in-school tutoring and mentoring.
- J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center – $2,500 towards children’s technology needs.
- McAuley Ministries – $10,000 towards the “Lunch on Us” Program, where healthy food is provided to 200+ people each day Monday-Friday.
- Sojourner House – $30,000 towards supportive housing for victims of abuse.
Leaders of 10 Local Organizations Chosen for New Nonprofit Innovation Lab
The leaders of 10 local organizations have been selected as fellows to participate in the latest Nonprofit Innovation Lab. This marks the third cohort of the joint effort of United Way of Rhode Island and Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) that launched in 2020. The unique program challenges organizations to think outside the box to develop new solutions to pressing social issues, and offers an opportunity to secure seed funding to bring those ideas to life.
With the Nonprofit Innovation Lab, United Way and SEG help to accelerate organizations’ ability to hone and implement unique ideas with the potential to create positive social impact. The effort pairs each fellow with a custom team of coaches and provides the knowledge, resources, and networking opportunities that help turn transformative ideas into reality. The months-long program culminates with “Sparked!”, a “Shark Tank”-like presentation broadcast on Rhode Island PBS where fellows compete for $90,000 in seed funding and other in-kind services and supports. The fellows selected and their organizations are:
- Christopher Antao, Gnome Surf
- Elizabeth Cunha, The Center for Dynamic Learning
- Eugenio Fernandez, Melior
- Bior Guigni, Beat the Streets New England
- Jody Jencks, Meeting Street
- Helene Miller, The Partnership for Providence Parks, Recreation Centers, and Streetscapes (P3)
- James Monteiro, Reentry Campus Program
- Nicole O’Malley, Hands in Harmony
- Valerie Tutson, Rhode Island Black Storytellers
- Kristen Williams, Riverzedge Arts
- Among the projects selected for advancement are Meeting Street’s vision to create a Teacher’s Assistant Apprenticeship Program to address both an ongoing labor shortage and the longstanding underrepresentation of minorities in the field; Hands in Harmony developing a specialized Mental Health and Music Wellness program to decrease stress and improve healthcare utilization; and Riverzedge Arts expanding its art and entrepreneurial programming to serve adults while simultaneously growing its career development and employment offerings for at-risk youth.
Olneyville Programs Awarded $182,708 in Grants by United Way of Rhode Island
Through its Olneyville Community Fund, United Way of Rhode Island has awarded $182,708 in grants to programs whose work is strengthening the Providence neighborhood it calls home. The investments focus on creating opportunities for all by improving access to services for residents, enhancing educational offerings for children through adults, and increasing nonprofit capacity to meet community need. Eleven organizations received funding.
Grantees include Amenity Aid, Children’s Friend, Clínica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Community Libraries of Providence, FirstWorks, Inspiring Minds, Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Project 401, Providence Promise, and Teatro ECAS.
Champlin Foundation Awards $9.6 Million to Nonprofits Statewide
The Champlin Foundation announced more than $9.6 million in capital funding to 87 nonprofit organizations across the state. Nonprofits receiving funding in this cycle serve Rhode Islanders of all ages across youth services, healthcare, arts and culture, and beyond. Among the recipients are 12 first-time grantees.
The Champlin Foundation specifically supports capital improvements across nine areas of focus: arts and culture, conservation and parks, education, healthcare, historic preservation and heritage, libraries, social services, youth services, and welfare of animals. Every area is represented in this round of funding. Total giving by the Foundation will be supplemented with a second round of grants in fall 2022.
The funding includes three $1 million awards, given to the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum, Crossroads Rhode Island, and the Boys and Girls Club of Providence. It is unusual for Champlin to award three grants of this size in one cycle, but it speaks to both the tremendous need in the nonprofit community and the leadership and commitment of the grantees.
The Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum is preparing to build a comprehensive, four-building campus on 18 acres of rural University of Rhode Island land in South Kingstown that honors the region’s Indigenous history with a new museum, robust archives, a maker’s space, as well as a building for educational programming.
In the face of an urgent statewide affordable housing crisis, Champlin awarded a $1 million grant to Crossroads Rhode Island, the leading provider of homeless services. The organization’s main headquarters, which is the epicenter of service and support for the more than 1,100 Rhode Islanders who face housing insecurity on any given day, is in need of significant exterior restoration and repair.
The third and final $1 million grant in this cycle is going to the Boys and Girls Club of Providence, which plans to renovate and expand its Wanskuck Clubhouse. The branch opened in 1927 and has been providing recreational activities and educational programming to the young people of the city’s North End ever since. The Boys and Girls Club of Providence is also a longstanding grantee, having received the first of what has been an annual grant from The Champlin Foundation in 1958.
In addition to the three mentioned, grants supporting other transformational projects were awarded to Teatro ECAS, which is building out a larger theater in the Valley Arts District; Save the Bay, which is moving its Newport aquarium to a greatly expanded new Downtown space; Revive the Roots in Smithfield, which is acquiring land and the historic Mowry house; and a grant to CCRI that will completely update the Dental Hygiene program’s equipment at the Lincoln campus.
The full list of grantees and their awards is available on the Champlin website.