Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island


The Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island supports place-based collaborations that address health disparities and improve population health in Rhode Island communities.


The Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island (FHRI) was created in February 2008 when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island contributed $20 million to create a permanent endowment at the Rhode Island Foundation to support “projects designed to have the greatest impact on the provision of quality and affordable healthcare services in Rhode Island.” 

With input from key stakeholders, primary care was the selected focus for the 2009, 2012, and 2015 grant cycles given its importance and relevance to the health of all Rhode Islanders. Increasing primary care access, utilization, and quality continues to be an important goal of the Foundation’s health grantmaking, and Rhode Island has made steady progress in the past decade.

In addition to quality primary care, we know that factors outside of the clinical setting must be addressed to achieve optimal health outcomes and reduce or eliminate health disparities between groups. Roughly 75-90% of an individual’s health status is influenced by social and environmental factors – the context in which Rhode Islanders live, work, play, and learn. These factors are recognized as social determinants of health. Achieving and maintaining good health is more likely when people are part of communities that promote health and healthy choices. Creating healthier and more equitable places requires meaningful, sustained collaboration.

2018 Priorities

For 2018, we welcome proposals to improve the health of communities with high rates of illness, chronic disease, or other adverse health outcomes. We seek place-based initiatives that bring together clinical organizations, community-based agencies, and community members to implement a shared vision and action plan to address social determinants of health and improve the health of their community.

Scoring Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated on the strength of their alignment with the following elements: 

1. Collaboration for impact

Applicants must establish or utilize existing partnerships with community and public organizations to:

  • leverage each other's strengths and resources;
  • develop and agree on shared goals and outcomes for the community and not for individual agencies;
  • foster close ties with grassroots organizations, schools, and government agencies to initiate and organize programs that will benefit the place/community; and
  • ensure the work of all partners is mutually reinforcing – each partner should do the work they excel at in a way that supports and is coordinated with the work of the other partners and works towards the community’s shared vision.

2. Community engagement

Applicants must actively engage residents in the geographic area and ensure that populations that have been traditionally excluded or under-represented in planning processes have meaningful participation in the collaborative. We will be looking for place-based initiatives that engage racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, youth, and/or elderly residents, among others, and involve non-traditional partners in the pursuit of health equity.

3. Needs assessment

Applicants are expected to draw on concrete data to identify the health status and needs of local residents and to describe the disparities and/or inequities of greatest importance to the proposal. For most health outcomes and communities, it is expected that existing data will provide the information needed for these assessments. In some cases, applicants may need to collect data as part of the implementation plan.

4. Action plan

Applicants are expected to include a strong and focused multi-year implementation plan with their proposal. Year 1 activities should be well thought out and informed by baseline data. Year 2 and 3 activities can be more general and updated during Year 1. We will be looking for the creativity and logic behind the proposed approach, including vision and fit with the general expectations described in this call for proposals.

5. Evaluation plan

Applicants will be expected to articulate their plan for evaluating outcomes associated with the collaboration and activities, including clear identification of community need(s) they seek to address, goals and objectives, and measurable outcomes based on data. Data sources, timeframe for collection, and incorporation of findings into a learning agenda should be described. Applicants should prove their ability and willingness to build evaluation and data capacity and share insights and learnings with the Foundation and its partners.

6. Implementation capacity

Applicants must demonstrate that they:

  • Possess the organizational infrastructure with sufficient capacity for the work, including financial infrastructure and staff to manage the grant.
  • Have the necessary project management and leadership skills, including experience coordinating and managing multiple projects and priorities simultaneously.
  • Have demonstrated their ability to engage in cross-discipline collaboration.
  • Have the time and commitment of leadership to make this work a priority and to launch partnership opportunities soon after the award is made.
  • Have given thought to a plan for sustainability and collaborative capacity, including the ability to foster partnerships with appropriate partners.

7. Financial leverage

We are seeking projects that leverage support from other funding sources.


Proposals may be for projects one to three years in duration, and up to $200,000 per year. Funding and reporting periods will be structured as follows:

  • Year 1 (Oct 2018 – Oct 2019) 
  • Year 2 (Nov 2019 – Nov 2020)
  • Year 3 (Dec 2020 – Dec 2021)


  • Nonprofit, 501(c) organizations located in the state of Rhode Island are eligible to apply.
  • The FHRI does not fund individuals, scholarships or research, capital or endowment efforts, or fundraising events.
  • Grants may support faith-based organizations for secular programs or projects.
  • Research as part of a program evaluation is permitted, however, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or exemption must be obtained where human subjects are involved.
  • The Rhode Island Foundation believes that our community can best be served by charitable organizations that both reflect and serve the diversity of our community. We do not award grants to applicants or for programs that have a policy that discriminates against any person or group in any way that is either unlawful or inconsistent with the mission or values of the Foundation.

Application Overview

The application process is comprised of three steps: 1) Stage 1 application; 2) Stage 2 application by invitation; and 3) site visit. The entire application and reporting process is to be completed online. Paper applications or supporting materials will not be accepted.

Step 1: Stage 1 Application

  • The Stage 1 application provides the opportunity to briefly describe the work and goals the applicant seeks to achieve.
  • Stage 1 applications may be submitted by a partnership of organizations or an organization representing a community coalition.
  • Each collaboration must have one backbone organization named in the application. Only one application per collaborative will be considered.
  • Stage 1 applications will be reviewed by Foundation staff, and a determination made as to whether the applicant will advance to the next steps.

Step 2: Stage 2 Application

  • If selected to advance to the next stage, the applicant will be invited to submit a Stage 2 Application.
  • Stage 2 applications will provide greater detail on the challenge(s) to be addressed, project goals, capacity to lead the project, partners in the collaboration, and evaluation plan.
  • Detailed instructions will be provided to those proposals that are advanced.

Step 3: Site Visit

  • Finalists will be contacted to schedule a site visit to be conducted by two or more review committee members, likely to take place between late June and early July.
  • The purpose of the site visit is to discuss the proposal with the applicant, organizational and program leadership, and key partners.

To Apply

The deadline to submit a Stage 1 application is 4 p.m. on April 2, 2018. All applicants will be notified of their standing by the end of April. 

Submit a completed online application

Appendix: Applicant Planning Resources

$2.7 million in grants awarded for health care

Five local initiatives that offer “imaginative thinking around (health care) delivery and administration” are sharing a total of $2.7 million in 2015 grants from the Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island. Read about the grantees and projects.

Support the Fund

Want to help strengthen the primary care system by improving access to primary care for Rhode Islanders?

Donate to the Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island.


LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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