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We award $52 million in grants in 2018
By Chris Barnett / February 19, 2019 /   Loading Disqus...

The Rhode Island Foundation awarded a record $52 million in grants to more than 1,800 nonprofit organizations last year. 

As the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofits in the state, the Foundation works in partnership with donors and nonprofits to meet the needs of the people of Rhode Island. At the end of 2018, total assets stood at approximately $970 million.

The Foundation raised a record $114 million in funds from individual, family, organizational and corporate donors. Gifts ranged in size from $1 to just over $6 million, including nearly 1,500 gifts under $250.  And, a notable new partner – the Jewish Federation Foundation – joined the Rhode Island Foundation as a supporting organization in 2018. The $55 million foundation has been making significant grants in support of the Jewish community since 1945. 

"We are grateful for the visionary donors who have joined with us for more than a century to take on the state’s challenges and opportunities," said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Partnering with nonprofit organizations to support their important work, engaging generous donors and providing leadership around key issues for our state all contributed to this outstanding growth as we strive to meet the needs of all Rhode Islanders.”

Of the $52 million in grants awarded last year, 70 percent were donor-directed awards and 30 percent were Foundation-directed. Many of the grants aligned with the Foundation’s three strategic priorities: educational success, healthy lives and economic security. Through these, the Foundation invests in organizations and programs that strive for long-term solutions to significant community issues. For example:

The Woonsocket School Department will receive $675,000 over three years to strengthen school leader development and support, specifically the improved effectiveness of school leaders to influence climate, culture, and academic outcomes in their schools and across the district. The initiative is in partnership with the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity, New England Basecamp, Teach for America – RI, Better Lessons and Generation Citizen.

Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice of Portsmouth was awarded $80,200 to implement a Community Pharmacist Program that integrates the services of a homecare clinical pharmacist in a multidisciplinary transition of care team. The pharmacist will work directly with patients in their homes to increase medication adherence, facilitate medication interventions, and improve care coordination.

Fuerza Laboral of Central Falls received $90,000 to fund its Cooperative Business Incubation program, designed to train and support low-income workers in Rhode Island to create and connect worker owned and operated cooperative enterprises in Rhode Island.

“Working with committed nonprofit partners, our support helps to move every Rhode Island student closer to achieving educational success, encourages all Rhode Islanders to lead healthier lives and puts economic security within reach of even more of our state’s residents,” said Steinberg.

The Foundation also made grants in a wide variety of sectors, such as arts and culture, the environment, housing and basic human needs; including to organizations doing critical work in the community like the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport, the Jonnycake Center in South Kingstown and Sojourner House in Providence and Woonsocket.

In addition to grantmaking and fundraising, community leadership is central to the Foundation’s work.

In 2018, the Foundation raised a record $600,000 for its Civic Leadership Fund. The annual fund enables the Foundation to go beyond traditional grantmaking to meet emerging opportunities and challenges, and engage Rhode Islanders in civic and civil dialogue. For example, in 2018 the Foundation launched Together RI, a series of 20 neighborly get-togethers that offered people a chance to talk face-to-face about topics that are critical to our common future over a free family-style meal.

“Our Civic Leadership donors understand that progress requires many different approaches. Having the means to tackle opportunities as they arise enhances the work that our community partners already do,” said Jessica David, the Foundation’s executive vice president of strategy and community investments.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $114 million and awarded $52 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2018. 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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