Hurricane Relief Efforts — Florida and Puerto Rico

There are many ways to support those who have been affected by the devastation of Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Ian.

FLORIDA RELIEF EFFORTS

As the work continues to assess damage and needs, United Way Worldwide will update funds accordingly on Online.UnitedWay.org and UnitedWWay.org.

Additionally, because of the intense and far-reaching impact of this storm, to support communities in Florida and other areas affected by Hurricane Ian, United Way Worldwide has created the United Way Disaster Response and Recovery Fund.  As part of United Way’s collective mission to build stronger, resilient, and equitable communities, United Ways in affected areas will continue to raise money locally and respond to emerging needs as appropriate for their community.  The national fund will absolutely complement those efforts and provide a single clearinghouse for individual and corporate donors who want to support all affected areas.

This fund will help local United Ways meet immediate storm-related needs and support long-term recovery throughout the affected regions.  It would also allow donors to designate their funds to local United Ways.  We’ll be working with United Way leaders in the affected areas to determine the best distribution plan.

Other Florida Efforts (Shared by Florida Philanthropy Network (FPN))

FPN has compiled an initial repository of resources for foundations and non-profits. You can access all accumulated resources by visiting our resource page – FPN Hurricane Ian Resource Page

PUERTO RICO RELIEF EFFORTS

The Boston Foundation and the Latino Equity Fund has a list of organizations working on the ground in Puerto Rico that you can choose to support.

(Shared by Grantmakers in the Arts and Philatropia Puerto Rico)

Hasbro Establishes the Brian Goldner Center for Transforming Futures

$2.5 Million Contribution by the Hasbro Foundation awarded to three nonprofit organizations: Year UpGhetto Film School and Angel Flight Northeast in Honor of Former Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian D. Goldner

Hasbro announced the launch of the Brian Goldner Center for Transforming Futures to honor the life and legacy of Hasbro’s longtime Chairman and CEO Brian D. Goldner, who passed away one year ago in October.

The Center, funded by a $2.5 million contribution from the Hasbro Foundation, will provide multi-year social impact investments with a singular mission of transforming and uplifting lives.

Brian Goldner was a visionary for play, entertainment and storytelling, and he also championed Hasbro’s business as a force for good. During Goldner’s tenure leading Hasbro, he expanded the company beyond toys and games into entertainment, digital gaming and more – building essential touchpoints with Hasbro’s fans worldwide. He was particularly passionate about lifting others up through mentorship and opportunity and improving systems of care for vulnerable members of society.

Grants made by the Hasbro Foundation focus on its philanthropic mission to empower generations of storytellers, create sustainable impact and spark joy through play.

The Center’s investments will support three nonprofit organizations benefitting causes that were greatly significant to Goldner, including:

  • The Brian Goldner Student Support Fund with Year Up, which provides young adults (ages 18-29) with job training and corporate internships to connect them with meaningful careers. Year Up works to close the Opportunity Divide for thousands of young adults across the United States. The Brian Goldner Student Support Fund will play a crucial role in aiding Year Up students who need emergency assistance with medical bills, rent, car repairs and other expenses, to ensure they can remain enrolled in the program. The Hasbro Foundation will make multiyear gifts to the Student Support Fund, the Year Up Endowment and the Brian Goldner Alumni Community Impact Award, an annual recognition for an outstanding Year Up graduate.
  • The Brian Goldner Storytelling Fellowship at the Ghetto Film School, which provides underrepresented artists in Los Angeles, New York and London the opportunity to enter the film industry through a 30-month visual storytelling course. Inspired by Goldner’s passion for film and entertainment, funding will support underserved young artists, particularly female artists, to participate in the program and pursue a career in entertainment. The Hasbro Foundation investment will provide annual Fellowships, support employee engagement opportunities at Hasbro, and establish an endowment through the California Community Foundation to ensure Brian’s legacy lives on for future generations.
  • The Brian Goldner Flights of Hope with Angel Flight Northeast, which provides free air and ground transportation for children and adults to receive lifesaving medical treatment across the United States. The Hasbro Foundation will provide annual support for five years to Angel Flight Northeast, flying patients in Goldner’s honor.

To learn more about the Hasbro Foundation and the Brian Goldner Center, visit: https://globalphilanthropy.hasbro.com/en-us/brian-goldner-center.

Point32Health Grants $500,000 in Community Priority Areas

Point32Health Foundation announced 10 new grants to support priorities identified by communities across New England. The grants improve access to healthy food and advance healthy aging in places where disinvestment, systemic racism, and barriers to access have prevailed.  Grants total $505,000.Grants support both general operations, giving nonprofit organizations flexibility in allocating resources, and ideas generated by nonprofits to address specific community needs. These funds will go to organizations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.  The Rhode Island recipient was RIALA Senior Living Institute, which received a grant to make Rhode Island’s assisted living facilities more welcoming and supportive, especially for older LGBTQIA+ adults.

Citizens Renews Partnership With Feeding America to Fight Hunger

For the fifth consecutive year, Citizens has joined forces with Feeding America®, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, contributing more than $1 million as a Leadership-level partner to further broaden and deepen its efforts to help fight hunger.

The renewed relationship builds on a successful four-year partnership which has brought funding into local markets and seeded Feeding America’s Ending Hunger program. This year’s funding is primarily categorized as equitable access grants, which aim to increase access to nutritious food among households with individuals who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) residing in communities experiencing high food insecurity rates.

In 2021, through the Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger initiative, the bank helped provide 16.3 million meals* via its partnership with Feeding America and other local hunger relief organizations. Citizens colleagues volunteered nearly 90,000 hours to help combat hunger in communities across the bank’s enterprise.

As part of Hunger Action Month, Citizens colleagues will display their commitment to fighting hunger by participating in Citizens’ Step Up to Fight Hunger challenge in which colleagues’ healthy activities and steps are translated into meals to support local communities.

Additionally, throughout the month of September, Citizens will host a virtual food drive supporting Feeding America. Each dollar donated will provide 10 meals in communities served by the bank and Citizens will match each dollar donated up to $20,000.

Get more information about Citizens community initiatives here.

*$1 helps Feeding America provide at least 10 meals through local member food banks.

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:

 

Nonprofits Receive $350,000 to Serve Newport County Residents

Over 40 nonprofit organizations serving Newport County residents will share more than $350,000 in grants through the Rhode Island Foundation’s Newport County Fund. The funding will support work ranging from housing and summer youth programs to food pantries and behavioral health.

Conexion Latino in Newport, FabNewport, the Jamestown Community Food Pantry, Newport Mental Health in Middletown and the Washington Square Cooperative Services are among the 48 organizations that will share the funding.

Aquidneck Community Table received $6,600 to support its Root Riders program, which provides summer jobs to island high school students tending school and community gardens in Newport’s North End.

Best Buddies of Massachusetts & Rhode Island received $2,500 to support its Newport County School Friendship initiative, which will support the inclusion of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through one-to-one friendship programs and inclusive group activities and events from elementary school through college.

Bike Newport received $5,000 to buy bicycle helmets for students who participate in its in-school Bicycle Education Program in partnership with Newport Public Schools. The organization estimates the grant will enable it to give helmets to around 300 children.

The Boys & Girls Club of Newport County in Newport received $9,978 to install a portable pool chair lift that can be used by guests of all ages who cannot use the stairs due to mobility issues to safely enter and exit the pool.

Child and Family in Middletown received $10,000 to supplement its supportive housing program. The initiative is expected to provide safe, secure housing to as many as 12 homeless Newport families with children.  The organization provides participants with wraparound case management and access to a continuum of care that provides the resources necessary for them to eventually secure permanent housing and improve the overall health and wellbeing of their families.

Clean Ocean Access in Middletown received $4,000 to support its Blue Access for All initiative, which connects children with the bay, coastline and local ecosystems. The program is expected to serve approximately 120 children.

The Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation in Jamestown received $10,000 to support its STEAM Ocean Initiative, which serves students in Jamestown schools.  The program inspires young ocean and environmental stewards by engaging and educating over 500 elementary and middle school students each year. It was designed to address the gap between traditional and applied learning as it currently exists in science education.

Conexion Latina Newport received $10,000 to support its housing outreach program targeting residents who identify as Latinx. The organization estimates it gets 5-10 requests for help with housing a week.  The grant will be used to enable the organization’s director of operations to spend more time on working on housing outreach.

Day One, the only agency in Rhode Island specifically organized to deal with issues of sexual assault as a community concern, received $10,000 to provide evaluation, advocacy and treatment services to child and adult victims of sexual violence and abuse in Newport County. Last year, the organization supported over 350 children and adults through its Children’s Advocacy Center in Middletown and its adult advocacy and clinical programs.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport received $10,000 to subsidize its pre-school program. Half the students are English Language Learners and 96 percent come from low-income households.

The East Bay Community Action Program in Newport received $5,000 to support its Baby Steps program, which provides family education sessions and family enrichment activities that engage family members as partners in the education of children through the age of four.

ecoRI News received $6,500 to increase environmental reporting in Jamestown, Little Compton and Tiverton. It reports having an audience of 40,000 and a website that received nearly half a million visits in 2021.

Emmanuel Church in Newport received $7,080 to revive its monthly community meal program for needy residents. The grant will fund stipends for former food service workers as well as cover the cost of food.

FabNewport received $7,500 to provide transportation for approximately 90 middle school students who will participate in its NEX summer immersion program. The six-week program gives youngsters the opportunity to experience art, sailing, golf, farming, music, surfing and hiking among other activities.

Gnome Surf in Little Compton received $7,500 to add instructors at its Little Compton and Second Beach in Middletown sites, expand camps and develop an off-season surf fit program. The Little Compton-based nonprofit offers surf therapy, art therapy, eco therapy and yoga therapy to children and families of all abilities, including youth on the autism spectrum, youth with Down’s syndrome and youth who identify as LGBTQ.  In 2021 the organization used a $5,000 grant from the Newport County Fund in order to establish a secondary site at Second Beach in Middletown with weekly lessons offered by one instructor as well as two, two-week summer camps in partnership with FabNewport to introduce youth to surf therapy.

The Herren Project in Portsmouth received $7,500 to partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport County on a pilot program designed to meet the critical need for prevention, mental health and intervention strategies for children and adolescents and their families.

Island Moving Company in Newport received $10,000 to support its Dancing Through Boundaries program, a comprehensive educational program that serves 5,000 students across Newport County Schools annually. The goal is to improve academic performance in math, literacy and creativity.  The grant supports programs at the Pell Elementary School in Newport and the Wilbur & McMahon School in Little Compton.

The James L. Maher Center in Middletown received $9,866 to expand its “Fresh” initiative, which blends planting and cultivating fresh vegetables with nutrition counseling, meal preparation and culinary skills training. The work includes hiring a part-time chef in order to increase the food service program’s capacity; installing improved lighting; and buying blenders and other small appliances in order to provide meals that meet special dietary requirements.

The Jamestown Arts Center received $10,000 to support its Free Community Arts Experiences program, which will offer a diverse array of arts experiences for residents to enjoy and learn from in socially-distanced formats.  Plans call for a year-long series of free arts events, workshops and collaborative art-making. The initiative will feature partnerships with local schools and multiple community organizations for community engagement as well as program implementation.

The Jamestown Community Chorus received $2,600 to expand its “Everybody Chorus,” where anyone of any age and singing ability is welcome to come to sing in unison.  The two choruses will perform on the same program. The Jamestown Community Chorus will sing choral music in 4-part harmony and the Everyone Chorus will perform popular music, show tunes and folk tunes.

The Jamestown Community Food Pantry received $10,000 to re-stock its facility on Narragansett Avenue. The pantry, which is the only source of free meat, chicken, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, fresh produce and basic household supplies on the island, serves more than 70 Jamestown households comprising nearly 130 people.  In addition to food, the organization offers personal care items, pet food, and, in the colder months hats, gloves and socks for those who may need them.

The Jamestown Community Piano Association received $3,000 to stage live performances as the organization strives to re-build its audience in the wake of COVID shut-downs.  The organization will use its grant to sponsor performances by well-known pianists that are likely to attract patrons who have lost the habit of attending live concerts in person.

The Katie Brown Educational Program (KBEP) received $6,500 to provide evidence-based, relationship violence prevention education to Jamestown, Little Compton, Newport, Portsmouth and Tiverton students in grades 4-12. Through the KBEP students learn skills necessary to recognize, avoid, and prevent relationship violence by shifting unhealthy attitudes and changing behaviors.

The Little Compton Community Center received $10,000 to support its Senior Lunch Program. The center prepares meals for pick up, for home delivery and to be served in its dining room.  Since COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed, the organization has returned to serving meals in the center’s dining room. In addition, meals can be served outdoors on the facility’s patio during the summer.

The Little Compton Historical Society received $10,000 to research the history of the Indigenous people of the area as part of its “History of the Sakonnet People” project.  The organization plans to share the results of its research with the public with a book, a special exhibition and a series of public programs in 2025, which is the 350th anniversary of the English settlement of Sakonnet, now Little Compton.

Live & Learn in Jamestown received $10,000 to purchase additional and upgraded kitchen equipment and supplies, growing equipment and supplies, and computing equipment. The organization supports entrepreneurship, creative problem-solving and community-based, innovative approaches to community issues.  The equipment will include two new steel prep tables, a chest freezer, two new stand mixers, bulk bins to store food supplies, an additional sink, three shelving units for growing, additional LED grow lights and planting supplies.

Lucy’s Hearth in Middletown received $10,000 to support an on-site counselor during the evening and overnight hours at the shelter, which serves approximately 160 adults and children.

Meals on Wheels received $5,000 to support its work providing home-delivered meals to Newport County seniors and other homebound adults. In 2021, organization served more than 30,000 meals, a 30 percent increase since 2019.

MENTOR Rhode Island received $10,000 to support the Aquidneck Island Mentoring (AIM) program, which matches children with multiple risk factors with a volunteer mentor from the community who is recruited, screened, trained, matched and supported by the organization.

Newport Classical received $5,000 to support its free, year-round concert series that brings open-air, classical music concerts to community-centered locations across Aquidneck Island.

The Newport Community School received $10,000 to support its One Stop Hybrid Career and Employment Services program, which offers employment and training program services for people who are unemployed or under-employed. The organization expects to serve about 150 people.

Newport FILM received $5,000 to launch a pilot nonfiction story-telling program, in partnership with FabNewport, the Met School and Creative Communities Collaborative, anchored at the Florence Gray Center in the city’s North End.

The Newport Gulls received $5,000 to enable underprivileged children to attend its summer camps with players and coaches in Middletown, Newport and Portsmouth. The Gulls will work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County, the East Bay Community Action Program, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and local little leagues to identify needy children age 6 to 12 that come from families experiencing financial hardship.

Newport Mental Health in Middletown received $10,000 to transport clients to behavioral health and medical appointments. The organization expects the funding will cover the cost of hundreds of rides for clients.

Newport Partnership for Families received $7,000 to support its Reading Reaps Rewards’ Summer Learning Initiative. The program serves 235 Pell elementary students across four city sites: Newport Family & Child Opportunity Zone’s Summer Learning Academy at Thompson Middle School, the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and the Newport County YMCA.

The Newport String Project received $5,000 to support its after-school program for children and a professional chamber music series led by the Newport String Quartet. In partnership with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, the organization will provide free violin, viola and cello lessons to at least 40 students from pre-K through high school.

The Newport Tree Conservancy received $4,400 to support planting 100 trees in the Health Equity Zone in Miantonomi Park. According to the organization, the neighborhood contains only 7.5 percent of the city’s open space, but is home to 55 percent of Newport’s children under the age of 14 and 24 percent of students at the local public elementary school live under the poverty line.

The Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown received $5,000 to buy a sensory tub station and support the creation of a science drawing station and a literacy corner for its new Curiosity Lab. The space, which will encourage children to explore STEAM, is schedule to open in September.

Sail Newport received $10,000 to support its 4th Grade Science and Sailing Program at Pell Elementary School. The 16-week program, which is provided during the school day, takes place on Narragansett Bay, along the shoreline and in the organization’s shore-side classroom. In the school year that just ended, nearly 150 children participated.

The Salvation Army – Newport Corps received $5,000 to support its Pathway of Hope initiative, which primarily families of color. The program will serve up to seven families at a time with case management for up to two years.

Save The Bay received $10,000 to provide environmental and STEM education programs to approximately 350 students at Newport’s Pell Elementary and Thompson Middle schools. In addition to classroom activities, students will participate in a marine science cruise on Narragansett Bay and plant dune grass to restore shoreline habitat at Easton’s Beach.

Shri Service Corps received $3,370 to support its Adaptive Yoga Project at Looking Upwards in Middletown and the Seniors Yoga Project at the Jamestown Food Pantry. The Adaptive Yoga Project serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities while the Seniors Yoga Project serves residents ages 55 and up.

The St. Joseph Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Newport received $8,500 to provide emergency financial assistance to residents facing emergencies, including eviction, utility shut-offs, lack of home heating oil, need of prescription drugs and clothing among other needs.

The Star Kids Scholarship Program received $6,000 to provide one-on-one tutoring, school transportation and after-school and summer camp opportunities for at-risk Newport County children and youth in grades K-12 for the 2022-23 school year.

Turning Around Ministries in Newport received $10,000 to provide case management and job readiness services to under-served and at-risk persons living in the community who face homelessness, poverty, debt, addiction and unemployment.

Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice in Middletown received $5,500 to provide professional development and support at all levels of the organization, which serves residents throughout Newport County.

The Washington Square Services Corp. in Newport received $10,000 to provide intensive case management services to homeless men and women at the McKinney Cooperative Shelter. The shelter serves more than 40 people a day and over 100 individuals through the course of each year, according to the organization.

The Women’s Resource Center received $5,000 to support resident leaders as they begin implementing the Newport Health Equity Zone Collaborative’s North End Equitable Development Strategy, which focuses on housing affordability and open green and civic spaces. The work will include expanding the base of North End residents involved in advocacy as well as making significant progress in coalition-building with individuals, organizations and other constituencies.

The Newport County Fund awards grants of up $10,000 to strengthen or expand established programs, to support policy or advocacy efforts on behalf of community concerns, to fund new projects that focus on significant problems or opportunities, and to leverage strategic collaborations and partnerships. In making the funding decisions, the Foundation worked with an advisory committee comprised of residents from every community in Newport County.

Established in 2002, the Fund has awarded $5.3 million in grants for programs and services for residents of Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth and Tiverton. It is just one of the grant programs that enable the Foundation to serve Newport County communities.

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.

More information

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

Blue Cross Fuels Innovative Mobile Food Markets

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has established a partnership with Elisha Project, a food rescue organization that prevents food waste while supplying nutritious foods to Rhode Islanders experiencing food insecurity.

“This is an exciting new partnership for us,” said Managing Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Carolyn Belisle. “Elisha’s mission dovetails perfectly with our goal of comprehensive health and well-being for all Rhode Islanders. Access to healthy food is a critical driver of whole health, and Blue Cross is committed to increasing access to nutrition and other resources Rhode Islanders need to achieve their best health.”

Elisha Project Co-Founder George Ortiz concurred. “We are not a traditional food pantry,” he said. “Elisha focuses on rescuing fresh foods, especially protein, vegetables, and fruits, foods that are in scarce supply for the people who need them most. We recognize the tremendous health benefits of eating fresh food. People who are struggling socio-economically are often relegated to eating pre-packaged and inexpensive food high in sugar and saturated fats. These limited options can lead to dangerous health conditions like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Fresh, nutritious food is expensive. With its emphasis on keeping Rhode Islanders healthy, Blue Cross is a logical – and welcome – partner for the Project.”

The Project distributes food through its monthly share markets, which are currently held as drive-up events. Dates for the share markets for the remainder of 2022 are the following Saturdays (locations are not yet final except for the market on 4/30 at 786 Elmwood Avenue in Providence):  7/16, 8/20, 9/17, 10/22, 11/19, and 12/24. Each family of four can be expected to receive approximately 25 lbs. of nutritious, fresh food including protein, fruits, and vegetables, in addition to other needed household items like diapers and personal care items. Recipients can also find recipe cards in English and Spanish, to provide suggestions for preparing the food they receive.

The Project depends on volunteers to pack boxes and bags for share markets, to drive trucks and perform other tasks. In the past three years, more than 150,000 people have followed the Project on its three social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – where the Project also recruits its volunteers – and every market “sells out.” At the March 23 market, more than 45,000 pounds of food and other items were distributed. “We had nothing left over,” notes Ortiz.

In addition to BCBSRI, the Project partners with local colleges and universities and local businesses. A longstanding partner is Seven Stars Bakery, which loans the Project warehouse space in Pawtucket.