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Rhode Island Foundation Blog


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A direct impact for Rhode Island
By Jessica David / October 2, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

“Impact investing is about aligning financial investments with mission,” said Jessica David, senior vice president of Strategy and Community Investment. “We believe it is a powerful tool that will allow us to support larger scale and different kinds of projects than we typically do through our grant programs.”

The Rhode Island Foundation aims to invest up to 5 percent of the Foundation’s endowment, beyond traditional grant making efforts, in Rhode Island-based efforts that generate measurable social impact and a financial return. We will support projects that will yield a direct impact for Rhode Island.

Last week, we invited donors to get a sneak peek at one of these investments – the Urban Greens Food Co-op (still under construction) – to hear first-hand from the people behind our five current investees.


Jim Ryczek, Horizon Healthcare Partners (HHP):  $300,000 short-term bridge loan

HHP acts as a hub, an intermediary, a broker, and a networker on behalf of Thrive Behavioral Health, Community Care Alliance, and Newport Mental Health, by sharing unique clinical and administrative skills and expertise among its members. They were awarded a contract by the State to operate Behavioral Healthcare Link, a community-based center to improve health outcomes, reduce costs, and improve patient experience for those with behavioral health and substance abuse challenges. Our loan will fund startup costs for rehabbing the facility and two months of operating expenses.

“We believe creative, community-based behavioral health collaborations reduce risk, reduce cost, and reduce the disabling effects of mental illness.”


Joe Garlick, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley (NWBRV):  $975,000 ten-year revolving loan

NWBRV is a nonprofit community development corporation that works with residents, businesses, neighborhood institutions, partners, and communities to enrich neighborhood life and make affordable housing opportunities available throughout Northern Rhode Island. Our loan will create the Northern RI Community Development Revolving Fund, covering necessary predevelopment expenses to bring several projects to closing, at which point the investment will be repaid or invested in another project – greatly accelerating affordable housing development.

 We work with residents, communities and other stakeholders to overcome and remove the barriers that stand in the way of affordable housing development.”


Jennifer Hawkins, ONE Neighborhood Builders: $806,000 long-term loan

ONE Neighborhood Builders builds and renovates Providence housing for purchase or rent at affordable rates. To date, they have developed 375 affordable apartments and over 115 for-sale homes, as well as more than 50,000 square feet of commercial and community space. Foundation funds will be used for the Protecting Providence Properties (P3) pilot program, to preserve naturally-occurring affordable housing.

These properties include many that were formerly foreclosed and blighted in addition to historic buildings that we work to preserve, saving landmarks while creating vibrant spaces to work and live.”


Torey Malatia, Rhode Island Public Radio: $1,000,000 bridge loan

Rhode Island Public Radio is an important source for community information and dialogue. The loan is being used to support the station’s expansion, move the 89.3FM transmitter location, seed the beginning of a new digital broadcast strategy, and hire additional staff, allowing Rhode Island’s only public radio news organization to grow their audience and continue to provide quality journalism.

“If we have to pay interest, we want it to go back into the community. And, with the Foundation, it does that.”


Philip Trevvett, Urban Greens Food Co-op: $300,000 purchase of preferred stock

Urban Greens began as a volunteer-run buying club with the purpose of providing a small group of Providence residents access to healthy foods near wholesale rates. Founded in 2000, the co-op grew from 22 members to over 700. Our investment has enabled Urban Greens to leverage additional funding critical to opening an 8,000-square-foot, full-scale, community-owned grocery store in the West End of Providence – a federally recognized food desert.

“Local food co-ops are community anchors: supporting the local food economy, creating jobs in a neighborhood, and encouraging participatory democracy.”


Nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, and governmental entities interested in the Rhode Island Foundation’s Impact Investing strategy will find additional information and guidelines on our website. 

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