2018 Community Grants

In 2016, the Rhode Island Foundation commemorated 100 years as the state’s community foundation. We celebrated by creating a competitive grant program aimed at funding community-making projects throughout Rhode Island. The program was well-received in 2016, and we renewed it in 2017. Grants were made to nonprofit organizations, municipal governments, and community groups to fund collaborative efforts to improve shared public places and quality of life across the state.

Last year alone we awarded more than $200,000 in grants  to fund community-building activities that ranged from creating performance spaces and urban farms to making historic places and preserves more accessible to surrounding neighbors and visitors. 

Due to the program’s success we are making Community Grants available again in 2018. Grants of up to $10,000 will be made to improve the quality of life, promote collaboration, and increase community engagement within a neighborhood or municipality. Nonprofit organizations, municipal governments, and/or public agencies like libraries or schools are eligible to apply. Volunteer-led groups such as neighborhood and resident associations also are eligible to apply. Organizations that do not have a 501(c)(3) IRS designation will require a fiscal sponsor. (More information on fiscal sponsors here.) 

While not required, proposals that demonstrate a local commitment and engagement among members of the community will be considered more competitive for this grant program. Community engagement and commitment may be measured by a cash match, committed volunteer time, donated space, or other forms of in-kind contributions. 

While eligible projects may include either new initiatives or enhancements to ongoing and recurring initiatives, applicants should be mindful that Community Grants are intended to support one-time costs and expenses. Applicants will not be eligible for renewed support for the same project or initiative in future years.  

We believe that community is created at the intersection of people, places, and traditions. The Foundation supports work that will make unique and important things happen at this intersection.

Specifically, we are looking for projects that:

  • Spark community engagement at the local level
  • Are openly accessible to the community
  • Involve new or advance existing community partnerships
  • Are relevant and meaningful to the specific community 
  • Are doable
  • Are creative and unique
  • Will have a meaningful impact on the people and place
  • Have staying power (i.e. create lasting impact)
  • Make exceptionally good use of the funds

The program does not support:

  • Capital campaigns
  • Endowment funds
  • For-profit entities
  • Fundraising events
  • Individuals
  • Lobbying efforts
  • Political groups
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes

To submit a proposal, please complete this online application* by April 6, 2018. Decisions will be made by early June. Grant funds must be expended no later than June 30, 2019.

*If you already have started this online application, please log in to your account using the link in "Here to Help" at left.


LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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