Strategy Grants

Strategy Grants support projects that address significant community challenges and strive for impact, with an emphasis on serving disadvantaged Rhode Islanders.


What we fund

Strategy grants are awarded in seven key funding areas. For each area, we have developed a specific focus, an important issue or concern that we believe our available grant resources can most effectively address. Our priority funding areas are our three strategic initiatives:

 

  • Educational success: improve educational outcomes for all public school students
  • Healthy lives: improve access to and quality of primary care for all Rhode Islanders
  • Economic security: improve Rhode Island’s environment for economic growth so all Rhode Islanders can prosper 

We also make strategy grants in these areas:

  • Arts and culture: diverse participation in the arts, arts education, and a vital arts sector
  • Children and families: a strong continuum of care for children and families through evidence-based practices and systems reform
  • Environment: environmental resilience through strong food, energy, transportation, and natural resource systems
  • Housing: increased affordable housing in the state

To apply for a strategy grant, your work must align with one of these sectors and the corresponding focus area. This allows us to cluster grant investments for maximum impact – creating opportunities for more productive evaluation, convening of grantees, and other assistance.

We make strategy grants for program support, organizational development and capacity building efforts, and advocacy or systems reform initiatives. We provide general operating support to organizations that are central to progress in one or more of the seven sectors described above. Typically, general operating is per invitation of a program officer.

What we don't fund

Strategy grants are awarded for charitable purposes primarily to nonprofit organizations or public entities. The Foundation does not fund individuals. We rarely commit to multi-year grant awards.

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.

Criteria

We review your application according to the following criteria:

  1. Alignment: Your proposal aligns well with our sector strategies and/or available funds.
  2. Potential impact: You have articulated measurable outcomes and demonstrated an organizational commitment to learning.
  3. Implementation plan: You have presented a convincing workplan, timeline, and budget for implementation.
  4. Organizational strength: We seek grantees who have a strong programmatic track record, good business model, strong leadership, sound financials, and solid evaluative and planning practices. We recognize that organizations may be in different phases of maturity, but we want to see evidence that you are mindful of your organizational health.

Important application information

Applications will not be considered from organizations with overdue grant reports.

If your project involves lobbying, please indicate the anticipated amounts to be spent on direct and/or grassroots lobbying. For more information, please read lobbying expenditures.

We recognize there are meaningful efforts and entities without a 501(c)(3) IRS designation that align with our funding priorities. In these cases, we will consider grant applications from groups utilizing a fiscal sponsor with the 501(c)(3) IRS designation. As part of our review of applications using fiscal sponsorship we will:

  • Assess the financial and organizational health of the sponsor as the potential (legally recognized) grantee.
  • Review a signed agreement developed by the two groups outlining the terms and conditions of the sponsorship. Please include this agreement as part of your application.
For more information and recommended best practices regarding fiscal sponsorship relationships, you may wish to review this resource from Gregory L. Colvin, Esq.

Application process

The Foundation reviews strategy grant applications on a rolling basis throughout the year. In general, the timeframe from submission of your application to funding decision will be six to ten weeks.

To apply for a strategy grant, please follow this process:

  1. Organizations are required to discuss the ideas related to their Strategy Grant proposal with the officer assigned to your sector prior to submitting an application. Please contact your program officer by email to schedule a pre-application meeting. The purpose of this conversation is to discuss alignment and readiness. Out of respect for your time, we strive to be upfront about our expectations and parameters.
  2. Prepare your application. The application package consists of basic information about your organization, a narrative with details about the project and expected outcomes, and a budget.

    Organizations applying in one of our strategic priority sectors (education, health, or economic security):
    GUIDELINES DOCUMENt (pdf) 
    Sample application (PDF)
    Log in for Application *

    *If you already have started this online application and wish to edit / continue, please log in as follows:
    For applications begun before July 5, 2017
    For applications begun on or after July 5, 2017

    Organizations applying in arts and culture, children and families, environment, and housing:
    Sample application (PDF)
    Log in for Application ** 

    **If you already have started this online application, please log in to YOUR ACCOUNT PAGE to edit the application that is in progress.
  3. Submit the application, along with the attachments requested. The attachments provide us with the opportunity to get to know your organization and proposal better.
We require electronic submission of all applications. Please do not send duplicate copies by email, mail, or hand-delivery. When you submit your application, you will receive an acknowledgment and tracking number by email.

Address

LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903
Directions

Contact

(401) 274-4564
info@rifoundation.org

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