Rhode Island Foundation Awards a Record $34.8 Million in Grants in 2014

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Foundation announced today that it awarded more than $34.8 million in grants last year, the most in the organization’s 98-year history. More than 1,400 nonprofit organizations received funding.

As the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofits in the state, the Foundation works in partnership with donors and organizations to meet the needs of the people of Rhode Island. The Foundation also raised $33.7 million in new gifts from individual, organizational and corporate donors last year. At the end of 2014, total assets stood at more than $800 million.

“We are grateful to our dedicated donors for joining with us to take on the state’s challenges and opportunities,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Their inspiring generosity enabled us to invest in Rhode Island as never before.”

Many of the awards were made under the Foundation’s competitive Strategy Grant Program, which targets seven key sectors: arts and culture, 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.

YouthBuild Providence received $80,000 to develop a statewide dropout recovery policy to prepare young people to re-enroll into a high school diploma program. In addition to the policy work, YouthBuild plans to convert its existing GED and multiple-pathway programs into a full-fledged charter high school serving young men of color age 16 to 21.

WellOne of Burrillville was awarded $70,000 to add a pharmacist to its primary care service delivery team. The goal is to improve the quality of care delivered to patients while lowering their health care costs. The program will focus on patients taking four or more medications concurrently.

Hope and Main of Warren received $85,000 to provide technical assistance to tenants of its culinary business incubator. The grant will fund consultants and program-related expenses to provide technical assistance on issues such as recipe adaptation, packaging design, food safety and product marketing.

“From fostering Rhode Island’s thriving food sector to investing in the state’s capacity to prepare its youth for productive lives, our grants advance issues that will drive Rhode Island’s future,” said Daniel Kertzner, vice president for grant programs.

Much of the Foundation’s support came in the form of discretionary grants, which are awarded by the Foundation’s staff and directors.

The awards included nearly $440,000 from the Program for Animal Welfare to 27 animal welfare programs across the state including PAAWS RI. The Warwick nonprofit was awarded $35,000 to underwrite the cost of providing veterinary assistance to the animals of low-income pet owners as well as routine medical attention, shelter and adoption services.

The Foundation awarded nearly $375,000 in capacity-building grants to nonprofit groups including the Center for Southeast Asians, the Westerly Land Trust and the Art Connection in R.I.

Another $348,000 was awarded to food banks, homeless shelters and free clinics that provide services to needy Rhode Islanders including the East Bay Community Action Program, the Salvation Army and the Jonnycake Center of Peacedale.

In addition to grantmaking and fundraising, community leadership is central to the Foundation’s activities and business. In 2014, the Foundation raised a record $308,843 in the third year of its annual Civic Leadership Fund, 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 Make It Happen economic development initiative, an ongoing Community Conversations series and the “It’s All In Our Backyard” campaign.

“We are grateful to our CLF donors for recognizing that change can require many different approaches. The ability to seize opportunities enhances the work our nonprofit partners are already doing,” said Jessica David, the Foundation’s vice president of strategy and community investments.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.  In 2014, the Foundation awarded $34.8 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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