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A record year in 2016
By Chris Barnett / February 8, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...
The Rhode Island Foundation awarded a record $45 million in grants last year. More than 1,600 nonprofit organizations working across eight broad sectors, including economic development, education and health care, received funding.

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 2016, total assets stood at approximately $830 million.

Including donations related to the celebration of the organization’s centennial, the Foundation received nearly $60 million in new gifts from individual, family, organizational and corporate donors in 2016, the second-highest total in the Foundation’s 100-year history.

"We are indebted to our visionary donors for joining with us for a century to take on the state’s challenges and opportunities," said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. "Their inspiring philanthropy makes it possible for us to invest in Rhode Island as never before."

The grants target eight key sectors: arts and culture, basic human needs, children and families, education, economic security, environment, health and housing. Through these grants, the Foundation invests in organizations and programs that strive for long-term solutions to significant community issues.

The recipients include:

The Central Falls School Department received $68,982 to provide teachers with coaching, mentoring and training in partnership with the Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy and the Highlander Institute.

Family Service of Rhode Island was awarded $44,942 to underwrite a pilot program teaming a pediatric behavioral health clinician with a pediatric community health care worker in order to better integrate behavioral and primary health care for children.

The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association received $65,000 for strategic planning around the creation of a “Composites Center of Excellence” in East Bay, where the industry is centered. The initiative is expected to benefit dozens of composites-related manufacturers, suppliers and designers statewide.

Nearly $300,000 was awarded to food banks, homeless shelters and free clinics that provide services to needy Rhode Islanders, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport, the Jonnycake Center in South Kingstown and the Saint Mary’s Home for Children in North Providence.

“From supporting programs that make it possible for young people to achieve educational success to helping Rhode Islanders lead healthier lives, our grants fuel strategies that are moving our state forward,” said Steinberg.

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

In 2016, the Foundation raised more than $350,000 for its Civic Leadership Fund (CLF), which enables the Foundation to go beyond traditional grantmaking to provide leadership and a forum for dialogue on critical community issues. Among CLF’s ongoing projects are the Buy Local RI economic development initiative and Community Conversations, a series of presentations on crucial issues.

“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 nonprofit partners already do,” said Jessica David, the Foundation’s senior vice president of strategy and community investments.

Founded with a $10,000 gift from Jesse Metcalf in 1916, the Foundation celebrated its centennial last year with a series of community activities highlighted by a campaign to raise $10 million to improve Roger Williams Park.

The Foundation has already raised more than $8.1 million, including $1.95 million from The Champlin Foundations to restore the Park’s historic Bandstand, Temple to Music and Museum. More than 150 donors have contributed to the campaign.

In addition to funding the immediate restoration of the park, the Foundation will create a $5 million endowment to provide a permanent source of funding for the Roger Williams Park Conservancy, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to ongoing stewardship of the park.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. 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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