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Introducing moves to fuel growth and expansion
By Chris Barnett / February 22, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

Following a year in which it awarded $43 million in grants to more than 1,700 nonprofit organizations, the Rhode Island Foundation is launching a new grantmaking opportunity, refining its strategic priorities, adopting impact targets and adding new staff positions to support its work with partners, donors, nonprofits and community leaders.

“We are indebted to our visionary donors for joining with us to take on the state’s challenges and opportunities,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “There is considerable work ahead – increased community need and statewide opportunity for success – and we are determined to tailor our grantmaking, investment, fundraising and operational approaches to the task.”

The Foundation received more than $38 million in new gifts from generous individual, family, organizational and corporate donors of all sizes in 2017. The institution’s total assets increased to approximately $950 million and its total fund return for the year was 17.4 percent.

Last year, the Foundation also raised more than $400,000 for its Civic Leadership Fund (CLF), which enables the organization to go beyond traditional grantmaking efforts to provide leadership and a forum for dialogue on critical community issues. For example, CLF helps to support Foundation-led initiatives like Buy Local RI and a study of the resources available to Rhode Island’s small businesses published in 2017.

“We look forward to expanding our efforts to build a more engaged, connected, philanthropic community through our civic leadership efforts, thanks to the support of our generous donors,” said Steinberg. 

The Foundation’s three strategic priorities – Economic Security, Educational Success and Healthy Lives – will remain major focus areas for investment in 2018 and beyond. Grantmaking and leadership activities in each area will focus on three targeted strategies. The Foundation has adopted a set of 2025 impact targets to align with those strategies, progress will be reported to the community.

“Working with community partners, and our donors, we are able to support programs that make it possible for all young people to achieve educational success, for all Rhode Islanders to lead healthier lives, and put economic security within reach for even more of our state’s residents,” said Steinberg. “Investments of funding and leadership in these areas fuel positive change for our state.”

As an additional complement to the dozens of targeted grantmaking and scholarship opportunities the Foundation offers, the organization is launching a new, flexible funding opportunity this year. Responsive Grants will open up funding opportunities to even more nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island, and will respond to the expressed needs of the community.

“This new funding approach will enable our grantees to quickly address an urgent need, emerging opportunity, to test a new idea for service delivery, or to support a proven program,” said Steinberg. “While we will continue to provide support for the arts, housing, human services and the environment, we are opening our doors even wider so that more charitable organizations in Rhode Island have access to needed resources. This approach allows us to honor donor intent while more fully responding to community need.” 

The Foundation will begin accepting applications through the Responsive Grants program immediately.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. 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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