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Black Philanthropy Initiative grants will improve access and equity
By Chris Barnett / November 13, 2014 /   Loading Disqus...

Four nonprofit organizations that serve the state's African-American community will receive $24,000 in grants from the Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI), a field-of-interest fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.

“By funding initiatives that encourage equity and promote access, we will improve the lives of Rhode Island’s Black community.  Inspiring long-term, systemic changes will create pathways to achievement and accomplishment,” said Linda Newton, who co-chairs BPI’s advisory committee.

The following organizations received grants:

The Billy Taylor House was awarded $7,000 to provide stipends for the Youth Training and Employment Collaboration Project. This collaboration between the Billy Taylor House, Mount Hope Neighborhood Association and Chad Brown Association will provide job training and employment to Providence youth.

“With youth recreational programs and youth summer jobs at an all-time low, we have come together to bring our Providence youth up with skills and experience that will keep them off the streets, put money in their pockets and nurture their ability to build a better life for themselves and their families,” said James Monteiro, executive director.

The Boys and Girls Club of Providence received $6,000 to create the Career Exploration Center, which will extend its Summer Youth Employment Program into the school year. At the Career Exploration Center, teens will have access to job readiness training, financial literacy training, career exploration activities and job skills training in science, technology, engineering and math.

“Kids who grow up poor do not lack dreams and hopes. They just do not know how to get there. We’ll help them create a future of promise and achievement,” said Nicole Dufresne, executive director.

The Capital Good Fund (CGF) received $7,000 to offer its Financial Empowerment for Families program, which will include 20 hours of one-on-one financial and health coaching on topics including how to open and use a bank account; evaluating ways to increase income and decrease expenses and access to health care.

“We will deliver a uniquely intensive, robust and impactful service for 20 African-American families. Participants will also have access to low-interest loans for a variety of needs, which include placing a security deposit on an apartment, catching up on rent or utilities, paying off high-interest debt or repairing a vehicle,” said Andy Posner, CGF’s executive director.

Turning Around Ministries Inc. (TAM) was awarded $4,000 to provide services that will help people to become contributing members of the community. Through its "A Better You program," TAM will offer mentoring, financial literacy, educational assistance, financial assistance for housing, job readiness training, clothing and transportation to low-income clients who have a criminal record, are homeless or are unemployed.

“Although we will focus on the target population, we will provide services to any who has a legitimate need.  As part of our plan for the upcoming year, we hope to conduct some job readiness workshops in various public housing complexes,” said Cheryl Robinson, TAM’s president.

These grants come as BPI launches an end-of-the-year fund-raising appeal. The fund is a permanent endowment dedicated to advancing equity and social justice for Blacks in Rhode Island. Supporters can donate to BPI on-line at www.rifoundation.org.

“Your donation will fund more work like this that is improving the economic security of Black Rhode Islanders. With your support, BPI will grow as a perpetual source of support for the Black community,” said Newton.

Established in 2009, BPI is the first fund at the Foundation devoted exclusively to causes and issues affecting Black Rhode Islanders. Its initial round of grants targeted economic sustainability and the Black family, with a focus on housing, financial literacy and job training. In three years of grants, the fund has made nearly $100,000 in awards.

In addition to Newton, the members of the BPI advisory committee are the Honorable Edward Clifton, who is the Committee Chair; Jason Fowler, Beverly Ledbetter and the Honorable Walter Stone.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.  In 2013, the Foundation made grants of more than $31 million to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit www.rifoundation.org.

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