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Rhode Island Foundation honors five nonprofits with 2017 Best Practice Awards
By Chris Barnett / October 5, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

The Rhode Island Foundation has honored five nonprofit organizations with its 2017 Best Practice Awards. The work that was honored ranges from an initiative that improved the state’s approach to addressing the commercial sexual exploitation of children to a program that cut hospital emergency room admissions by more than 60 percent.

“These recipients emerged from a highly competitive process and an impressive group of nominees. There is something in each of their remarkable achievements that can help any nonprofit become even more effective,” said Jill Pfitzenmayer, vice president of the Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence (INE).

Sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), the award program recognizes outstanding practices by Rhode Island nonprofit organizations in the areas of Collaboration, Communications, Innovation, Leadership and Volunteer Engagement.

“Supporting the best practice awards is a great fit for Blue Cross,” said BCBSRI Managing Director of Community Relations Carolyn Belisle. “We applaud all the award recipients for their efforts to address critical needs in our state, and we admire their commitment to implement best-in-class ways to deliver their programs and services. The work of these important organizations makes a difference to all Rhode Islanders.” 


The Volunteer Engagement Award was presented to Clinica Esperanza of Providence for recruiting physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, medical students, pharmacy students and others to provide more than 7,000 volunteer hours of service.

“In a world were human contact is no longer the norm and automation is ascendant, we are reaching out, pitching in and extending a hand to help our neighbors. We are a volunteer-run clinic that gives medical students, clinicians and other members of the community a chance to give back to those most in need,” said Annie De Groot, volunteer medical director.

Day One of Providence received the Collaboration Award for initiating the Uniform Response Protocol, which improves the state’s approach addressing the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

Developed by the Human Trafficking Task Force, a collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, child protective services, the medical community, and numerous nonprofit organizations, and endorsed by Governor Gina M. Raimondo, the protocol is a coordinated, streamlined approach to reporting and responding to CSEC cases in Rhode Island.

“After documenting a steady increase in the number of adults and children presenting as victims of human trafficking (HT), we recognized the need for a formal, multi-disciplinary approach to dealing with CSEC,” said Peg Langhammer, executive director. “Working together, we have developing a best practice model to effectively address HT/CSEC crimes for collective impact.”

The Innovation Award was presented to Foster Forward of East Providence for Works Wonders, which is a comprehensive, trauma-informed, individualized and developmentally appropriate career-readiness program for youth in or who have aged out of foster care.

“Works Wonders prepares these young people to successfully transition to the adult world of work by actively engaging them in career readiness activities, identifying and minimizing barriers to success, and by building team work, active listening, and conflict resolution skills,” said Lisa Guillette, executive director.

The Hattie Ide Chaffee Home of East Providence received the Communications Award for its “Discharge to Community Program,” which has cut hospital emergency room admission rates for clients who were discharged after short-terms stay by more than 60 percent.

“We identified a way to communicate more clearly and in greater detail so our residents can understand, and not be overwhelmed by the large amount of information, or information overloaded,” said Deborah Griffin, administrator.

The program includes personal post-discharge contact with patients as well as a binder including all future physician appointments, current medications and other information necessary for a smooth discharge.

Trinity Repertory Company of Providence received the Leadership Award for developing a successful short-term financial turnaround and long-range planning process designed to maximize stakeholder buy-in and address critical financial and strategic issues facing the theater.

Focused on advancing three goals - Great Art, Great Business, and Great Place to Be – and driven by strategies and tactics in four key areas – Programming, Brown/Trinity MFA Program, Patron Development, and Facilities – the process cultivated institutional ownership of the plan; leveraged the collaborative and creative skill sets of its resident artists, external stakeholders, staff and board; and set clear goals and expectations for better operational planning and accountability in the future.

“The robust and collaborative process re-affirmed our mission and values; engaged in deep analysis; and articulated institutional priorities. While there is still much work ahead, we have a stronger business model that is fueling revenue growth and generating positive operating cash flow for the first time in well over a decade,” said Tom Parrish, executive director.

All five award recipients received a $1,000 grant, a promotional video highlighting their work, and tuition waivers to any INE professional development workshop or seminar in the next 12 months.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2016, the Foundation awarded a record $45 million in grants 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 rifoundation.org.



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