We are here to respond to the needs of the people of Rhode Island and we are guided by a Strategic Plan that allows us to approach this challenge systematically and with focus.
We know we cannot do this alone. Because our agenda is ambitious and the challenges we face are complicated, we rely on our many partners to help us accomplish our goals. By creating and supporting a culture of ongoing learning here at the Foundation, and together with our donors, grantees, and friends, we believe we can direct our resources in the most effective and meaningful ways.
A Systems Lens on Change
We are committed to strategies that incorporate a systems lens. No one organization or program can solve inequities in education or health outcomes and no single entity operating in isolation can grow our state’s economy. We recognize the interdependence of many organizations, subsystems, and networks in making and sustaining meaningful change.
We also know that the landscape in which we all work is constantly evolving, which means we are making decisions about initiatives and programs as they are in process. This dynamism means we are incorporating new factors and learning.
How We Think about Impact
There are many ways to think about the impact of our work. Impact, as a term, has come to mean many different things. It is often used interchangeably with “outcomes” or to mean measurement, or demonstrable proof. But the word impact is more accurately synonymous with effect or influence. In that sense, we see that the impact of a program, initiative, or approach is not always easily quantifiable, nor can it always be reduced to one or two results. To evaluate the effect or influence of our work – and the work of our partners – it is helpful to take a systems approach here, too.
Our portfolios – the way we approach our grantmaking – include strategies and objectives that are designed to focus on different parts of the systems in which we are working. As a community foundation with a mission to serve the entire state, we cannot overlook breadth and reach as considerations in our investments. This often makes discussing impact – in the way it is most often used – more complicated, but we believe that we can be strategic and proactive in certain areas of work and more responsive in others. We are committed to learning from everything we do, reporting on outcomes when we feel confident that the information is meaningful, and looking to our partners – who are working more directly with the communities where we hope to make change – to help us analyze and interpret the changes that affect our efforts.
If you would like to learn more about how we are evaluating and learning from our strategies, you can review our Strategic Plan
Take a closer look at the work in our sectors and see what we have supported recently in Economic Security
, Educational Success
, and Healthy Lives
. We also make investments in Arts and Culture, Basic Human Needs, Children and Families, the Environment, and Housing.
Recent Foundation Grants
We distributed a record $45 million in grants to hundreds of nonprofits throughout the state in 2016, and we continued our commitment to address the state's most pressing issues and needs.
Impact through Leadership
Learn more about our work through the following:
Organizations that also are interested in measuring community impact and increasing capacity are invited to check out the Nonprofit Resources page of the Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence section of this website.