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Offering grants to empower RI's Black community
By Chris Barnett / August 17, 2016 /   Loading Disqus...
Nonprofit organizations that serve the African-American community have until Sept. 15 to apply for grants from the Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI), a field-of-interest fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.

"Only by working together can we address the years of economic disadvantages that Rhode Island's Black community has endured and continues to endure. Achieving real progress takes commitments of time and resources by all of us,” said the Honorable Edward Clifton, co-chair of the BPI grant committee.

The proposals must serve the African-American community and focus on economic sustainability and the Black family in three specific areas: housing, financial literacy and job training. The average grant was $5,000 last year.

“Achieving permanent, systemic changes that betters the lives of Rhode Island’s Black community is our objective. By supporting proposals that promote equity and access, we can build pathways to achievement and accomplishment,” said Linda Newton, co-chair of the BPI grant committee.

Last year’s recipients included the Urban League of Rhode Island, which received $8,000 to support career counseling, mentoring and financial fitness; Higher Ground International, which received $5,000 to prepare people age 16-to-26 for employment and community leadership; and the Refugee Dream Center, which received $5,000 to offer English classes and computer training to prepare adult refugees from Africa and the Caribbean for self-sufficiency and employment.

In addition, the Capital Good Fund received $5,000 to provide one-on-one coaching that covers the basics of budgeting, banking, credit, debt management and savings and the Rhode Island Black Business Association received $2,000 to support its financial literacy and small business seminars.

BPI is the first fund at the Foundation devoted exclusively to causes and issues affecting Black Rhode Islanders. In addition to Clifton and Newton, the members of the BPI advisory committee are Jason Fowler, Beverly Ledbetter and the Honorable Walter Stone. Since 2012, BPI has awarded more than $110,000 in grants.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2015, the Foundation awarded $41.5 million 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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