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North Smithfield residents to benefit from grants
By Chris Barnett / June 11, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...

North Smithfield residents will benefit from $6,510 in grants from the Rhode Island Foundation through the North Smithfield Ambulance and Rescue Association Fund. The funds will underwrite a variety of services including expanding health care programs and sending needy youngsters to summer camp.

“Every grant we make underscores our commitment to moving Rhode Island forward. We work closely with our donors and grantees to ensure there are the resources and the resourcefulness to achieve great impact,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

Camp Ruggles was awarded $1,000 to provide scholarships for North Smithfield youngsters. Camp Ruggles is the only summer day camp in Rhode Island for children ages 6-12 medically diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disabilities.

“Because of their challenges, most of our campers cannot succeed in a traditional camp setting,” said James Field, the organization’s executive director. “We annually rely on foundations and private donations to underwrite camperships because most of our campers cannot afford the cost of camp fees.”

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley received $500 to provide low-income residents of the Marshfield Commons neighborhood expanded access to health and wellness programs such as exercise classes, cooking demonstrations and a community vegetable garden.

“This will enable residents to engage one another in order to build relationships while learning about healthy living. Workshops such as kickboxing, zumba and cooking, in addition to a resource fair and creation of a community garden, will help families implement healthy practices within their homes,” said Margaux Morisseau, director of community building and engagement.

The North Smithfield Heritage Association was awarded $1,500 toward the cost of labor and materials to remove and replace the two, main outside front staircases at Heritage Hall.

“Replacing these two staircases will improve the quality and safety of the access to and from the building and ensure the historical documents will be more readily available to the public,” said John Faricy, president of the historical society.

Built in 1877, the former Forestdale School House now serves as a repository for artifacts, displays and documentation of the town’s early years from farming community to manufacturing hub.

Thundermist Health Center received $2,000 to provide comprehensive, coordinated primary care and walk-in services in a patient-centered medical home model to needy residents of North Smithfield.

“We have seen a sharp rise in the number of local patients. We saw 838 patients from North Smithfield in 2012 and 1,404 in 2014. That’s an amazing 60 percent increase,” said Charles T. Jones, the organization’s president and CEO.

WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Care was awarded $1,510 to provide subsidized health care services to uninsured, low-income North Smithfield residents. Last year, WellOne provided care to North Smithfield residents 405 times, including 47 visits by residents who were not insured.

“Our goal is to ensure that the neediest residents of North Smithfield continue to have access to high- quality, timely, locally available primary medical, dental, behavioral health and other related services regardless of ability to pay,” said Peter Bancroft, president and CEO of WellOne.

The North Smithfield Ambulance and Rescue Association Fund supports projects and activities that benefit the health and welfare of the citizens of North Smithfield. Preference is given to organizations that do not have access to other sources of funding. The Foundation now has made more than $75,000 in grants since the fund was established in 2003.

The Association formed in 1954 to provide free ambulance and rescue services to residents. Its activities were funded through annual door-to-door drives and direct mail appeals.

In the early 2000s, when ambulance and rescue runs began to be billed to insurance companies, the Association disbanded. The North Smithfield Fire Department picked up the ambulance and rescue service, utilizing a rescue truck, boat and other equipment donated by the Association. The Association then transferred its remaining assets to the Foundation to establish a permanent endowment.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.  In 2014, the Foundation awarded $34.8 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.
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