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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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 (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for updates on needs.
Three ways to support the Asian American community in Georgia:
Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced that Rhode Island has been awarded an $8 million, 24-month grant to implement Central Providence Opportunities – a place-based initiative to increase social and economic mobility for residents of the 02908 and 02909 zip codes, and then scale these strategies statewide. The pilot initiative, set to commence next month, brings together the Governor’s office, state agencies, the Rhode Island Foundation, and ONE Neighborhood Builders.
The pandemic has further exacerbated and laid bare the degree to which a resident’s zip code determines economic, health and education outcomes. The Central Providence area, including the Olneyville, Hartford, Manton, Silver Lake, Valley, Federal Hill, Smith Hill, Elmhurst and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods, has been one of the areas hardest hit by COVID-19 in Rhode Island.
The Central Providence Opportunities will be led by ONE Neighborhood Builders. As the leader of this initiative as well as the Central Providence Health Equity Zone, ONE Neighborhood Builders will convene community partners and residents and ensure the focus remains on addressing health disparities through systems change and policy reform. The grant will fund strategies to increase economic security and opportunity for residents of Central Providence, and across the state. Included is a $1 million investment in Rhode Island’s Health Equity Zones, which will provide infrastructure to implement lessons learned statewide. The remaining funds will be invested in organizational capacity building, project oversight and evaluation, and direct investments in:
- Growing and sustaining community capacity;
- Increasing affordable housing;
- Improving leading indicators leading to 3rdgrade reading; and
- Advancing workforce and business development outcomes – with a focus on minority-owned businesses.
Blue Meridian Partners has made a two-year investment in the Central Providence Opportunities initiative. The investment will be managed by the Rhode Island Foundation, and leveraged by tapping into new and existing state-level resources. The Foundation will serve as the fiscal sponsor, supporting the initiative anchored by ONE Neighborhood Builders, the Governor’s office and state agencies, and working in partnership with both to invest the funds within the identified priority areas. The Foundation will also provide technical assistance aimed at building toward a plan to scale impact statewide.
Leaders of many philanthropic support organizations, including United Philanthropy Forum, Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, have issued a letter in solidarity with ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities in their call for philanthropy to take action on anti-Black racism.
ABFE is the oldest affinity group in the country, borne out of a moment of both conflict and action, when Black leaders raised their voices to protest the lack of representation within philanthropy. Since their founding nearly 50 years ago, ABFE has worked to mobilize grantmaking entities, donors and nonprofits to improve outcomes for Black communities and the country as a whole. Now, they are calling on philanthropy to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 and anti-Black racism by engaging in deep, transformative institutional change; supporting Black communities; and deploying an equity analysis in their work.
The leaders say, “We ask you to read ABFE’s call to action and commit to making change within your own institution. We also encourage your support of ABFE and their work by becoming members of their community. As ABFE says in their statement, “we must be in it for the long haul.” To that end, our organizations commit to working in partnership with ABFE to offer programming and engagement opportunities that help philanthropy develop the deep partnerships with Black communities needed to provide both immediate support and affect long term change.”
The ABFE statement begins, “Our long-term goal is to free Black people from disparate treatment that result in the racial disparities we see in COVID-19, police brutality and on almost every indicator of well-being. To get there, we must dismantle the structures (institutional policies and practices) that disadvantage and marginalize Black people as well as the false narratives about Black communities that allow for continued inhumane treatment. This will lead to stronger Black communities.
“Philanthropy has a critical role to play and must step forward. In addition, a more robust partnership moving forward between philanthropy, government, businesses and Black communities is needed to address immediate needs and opportunities (targeted COVID-19 relief and police reform); as well as the longer-term strategies to address racial inequity. We need deep, transformative institutional change in this country; foundations and donors that support Black communities, in addition to those from other sectors (government, business, etc.) must commit to and deploy an equity analysis to investments moving forward. This is a marathon, not a sprint and all of us in philanthropy must be in it for the long haul.”
The full statement includes 10 action priorities:
Data Released on Diversity of Leadership at Largest RI Nonprofits
The Association of Fundraising Professionals – Rhode Island Chapter (AFP-RI), through its IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access) Committee, recently completed a study that looked at the gender and racial diversity of the leaders of Rhode Island’s largest nonprofit organizations by net worth. Rhode Island has 4,140 registered 501(c)3 public charities which together hold assets of $31.7 billion.
Key findings of the report include:
- The largest 150 nonprofits in Rhode Island had total revenue of $11,515,924,424 in 2017;
- Revenues of these organizations ranged from $5,389,143 to $1,369,753,828;
- 876 women served on the boards of these organizations, representing 38% of all board members;
- 43% of the CEO roles were held by women;
- People of color made up 10% of all board members, despite representing 30% of Rhode Island’s general population; and
- Only 3% of the CEO roles were held by people of color, less than the national average of 10%.
“This report provides a baseline for nonprofits to consider what can be done to diversify the leadership of their organizations. From a fundraising perspective, diversity is critical to increasing dollars raised and expanding donor networks,” said Amy Gravell, President of AFP-RI and Managing Director for The Gamm Theatre.
Kelly Nevins, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island and Chair of the IDEA Committee of AFP-RI which worked on this report, added “The organizations in this report impact a broad and diverse swath of our community; ideally, their organizational leaders should also reflect of the communities they serve.”
The report includes several recommendations for improvement, including:
- Consider life experiences and transferable skills that can be used in place of certain prerequisites to give individuals more access to organizational leadership pipelines;
- Move beyond the personal networks of current organizational leaders by engaging outside organizations, consultants and stakeholders in sourcing future board members;
- Recommend women and people of color to serve on boards or be considered for an open CEO role;
- Use term limits to ensure fresh and new perspectives; and
- Provide training and support in fundraising and development, using best practices for both board members and staff in the leadership pipeline.
Annual revenue was the primary criterion for inclusion in the list of the 2019 Census of Nonprofit Directors and Chief Executives in Rhode Island’s Largest Organizations. Information on board members and chief executives was obtained from the organization’s websites, the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s corporation database or other publicly available sources. Where possible, this information was verified by someone on staff or board at the specific organization.
To download the report, please click here.
The Rhode Island Foundation announced that it is committing $1 million – above and beyond the Foundation’s annual grantmaking in education – to support improvements to the state’s pre-K to 12th grade public education system.
The funding announcement comes as the Long Term Education Planning committee, convened in late 2018 and led by the Foundation, releases final recommendations for improvements. The Foundation’s investment of $1 million will align with the recommendations in the report. The report includes input provided by more than 300 parents, students, educators, policymakers and leaders from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors at the Make It Happen: A World Class Public Education for RI brainstorming session at the R.I. Convention Center in December.
The Long Term Education Planning Committee, a 26-member group of educators, policymakers and leaders from the nonprofit and for profit sectors convened at the request of the Foundation, developed the 10-year plan for improving education in Rhode Island. Click on a link below to read the plan, “Chart a Course, Stay the Course: Rhode Island’s Path to a World Class Public Education System.”
“Participants at the Make it Happen event were extremely vocal about the need to amplify the role of student and family voice. These voices are fundamental and critical to making improvements in the system,” said Steinberg, who served on the committee. “We encourage all Rhode Islanders to work together on this effort – be ambitious and bold, display strong support for educators and continue to demand more for all students, in every community.”
In addition to a vision for the future of public education in Rhode Island, the final plan includes a set of four priorities and accompanying strategies, including aligning the state funding formula with both state and local needs and sustaining a rigorous, statewide assessment system.
The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island has released a new research report, titled “An Uneven Path: State Investments in Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency 2019.”
The report and accompanying executive summary drew on state budget documents, Rhode Island’s Standard of Need report, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other publicly available information to gauge the state’s progress on gender equity. Report and summary
#PCFHEZ Climate Resilience Project
What does race have to do with climate change? Which neighborhoods in the greater Providence area are most at risk from extreme heat and flooding? What can residents and local government do to make sure neighborhoods are safe and resilient to climate change?