Ten nonprofits from across Rhode Island will receive $10,000 apiece in the first round of funding from the Vax Challenge, which awards grants to nonprofits on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic every time an additional 5,000 Rhode Islanders are vaccinated.
Jointly established by Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Commerce Department, the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Foundation in early July, the Vax Challenge encourages Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by offering grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery.
The recipients of the initial round of grants are Access To Recovery, Adoption Rhode Island, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Elisha Project, Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, Refugee Development Center, Rhode Island Free Clinic, Southern Rhode Island Volunteers, WARM Center.
The budget for the fund is $750,000 to be allocated in grants of $10,000 to Rhode Island 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. The state provided $500,000 and the Foundation contributed $250,000. Up to an additional four rounds of grants could be awarded each time Rhode Island administers an additional 5,000 first COVID-19 vaccine doses as reported by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
“Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is a way to keep yourself and your loved ones healthier and safer, and a way to support the critical network of nonprofit organizations that have been doing so much for Rhode Islanders since day one of this pandemic,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott. “Hitting this RI Gives Vax Challenge benchmark is great, but we have a lot more vaccinating to do. It’s never been easier to get a shot. If you have not been vaccinated yet, do your part and get vaccinated today.”
The Rhode Island Foundation will accept applications from interested nonprofits at rifoundation.org/vax through July 30.
Over 150 arts organizations in Rhode Island received grants from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) totaling $878,942 in funding.
Funding for the grants came from the General Assembly and federal funds through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Most required a match of contributions from businesses, individuals, and from ticket sales.
Fifty two of the grants went to individual artists, and the rest went to arts and cultural organizations, arts education programs, teaching artists in healthcare and education, culture workers, and other community projects.
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.
BankNewport has distributed $212,000 in grants focused on food insecurity, health services, education and skills training, and underserved populations, in support of nonprofits that had their operations and outreach impacted by the pandemic. Among the notable awards is a $100,000 grant to the Newport County YMCA for its Building Campaign.
The grant recipients are Comprehensive Community Action Program, East Bay Food Pantry, Newport Hospital Foundation’s Expansion of the Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center, Inspiring Minds, Providence Public Library, RI Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School, San Miguel School, Star Kids Scholarship Program, Newport County YMCA Building Campaign, Big Brothers Big Sisters RI, College Visions, Jonnycake Center for Hope, St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Joseph, Newport, Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice, VNA of Care New England and Project Goal.
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.
Citizens Bank announced $150,000 in grants to Rhode Island nonprofits through the Citizens Helping Citizens Manage Money program, to facilitate financial education programs across the state. Grantees include Connecting for Children and Families, Pawtucket Central Falls Development, Progreso Latino, and Woonsocket Neighborhood Development Corporation.
Citizens also announced a partnership with Girls Who Code to help 10th, 11th, and 12th grade girls learn computer science skills to make an impact in their community while learning more about careers in technology. The bank will sponsor the organization’s Summer Immersion Program (SIP), a free two-week virtual program where participants will learn to code in a supportive environment, gaining critical leadership skills.
The SIP virtual program will serve as many as 6,000 students around the world. It is open to rising sophomore, junior, and senior girls and no prior computer science experience is required. The organization will also release a self-paced program alongside the traditional virtual model—breaking down barriers for highest-need students to participate asynchronously with support from Girls Who Code teachers and coaches. In eight years, Girls Who Code has reached more than 500 million people globally and 300,000 girls through in-person programming, and is on track to achieve gender parity in computer science by 2027.
SIP is free and need-based stipends of up to $300 are available to those who qualify, in order to provide assistance in lieu of paid opportunities such as a summer job or a paid internship. Current 9th -11th-grade girls and non-binary students are eligible to apply. For the second year in a row, Girls Who Code will run their SIP virtually, citing significant gains achieved when it first ran online in 2020 in response to COVID-19. Students across the U.S. can apply online at www.girlswhocode.com/sipapply. Check out the Girls Who Code SIP Flyer or join a webinar to learn more.
This partnership is part of the commitment Citizens announced last summer that includes providing grants and charitable support for immediate and longer-term initiatives aimed at supporting underserved communities through technology, education and digital literacy initiatives. It also includes more than $500 million in incremental financing and capital for small businesses, housing, and other development in predominately minority communities. More information on Citizens commitment to social equity can be found here.
Providence Public Schools, RIDE will use the funding to hire more than 125 teachers of color over the next five years
The Rhode Island Foundation has raised $3.1 million to increase the number of teachers of color in Providence public schools. Students of color represent 80 percent of enrollment in the district while just 20 percent of teachers are members of minority groups.
The funding will be used to offer candidates a college loan-repayment incentive totaling up to $25,000 over the first three years of employment. The incentive will be in addition to the standard compensation package that the Providence Public School District (PPSD) offers all teachers.
The district hopes to hire more than 125 minority teachers over the next five years through the program. PPSD hires approximately 175 new teachers a year, generally to fill vacancies due to retirements or movement to other districts.
Full-time teachers who identify as Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latino or multi-racial are eligible for the loan repayment program. They must be new hires to Providence public schools—current teachers are not eligible.
This initiative builds off of the work of the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) has done to convene and retain educators of color statewide in Rhode Island.
The goal is to recruit approximately 25 new teachers of color a year for five years beginning in the 2021-22 academic year. Participants are eligible to have up to $6,000 of their college loan debt paid off after completing year one of teaching, up to an additional $8,500 after completing year two and up to another $10,500 after completing year three.
The donors are Judith and William Braden, Nancy and Charlie Dunn, Ruth and Jonathan Fain, Bhikhaji Maneckji, the Papitto Opportunity Connection, the Partnership for Rhode Island, The Stonehouse Mountain Family Fund and Jyothi and Shivan Subramaniam.
PPSD is using a multi-year $220,000 grant from the Foundation to hire a Diversity and Pipeline Design Specialist to coordinate all efforts related to the recruitment of teachers of color, including collaborating with existing teacher certification programs and developing supports for retention.
In addition, The Equity Institute received a $125,000 grant to help a diverse group of non-certified teaching assistants to become state certified teachers in partnership with College Unbound.
The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities announced major grant awards to 15 public projects and documentary films that showcase the power of the humanities to connect communities and strengthen civil society.
Through video messages, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline, and Congressman James Langevin, shared the role of the humanities to bring people together, especially in times of crisis, and congratulate this year’s grant recipients. In 2020, the delegation’s support resulted in $840,000 in federal relief funds from the National Endowments for the Humanities and Arts to Rhode Island. Additional relief funding for humanities and arts is expected through the American Rescue Plan, and details about those opportunities will be available later in May.
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.