December 22, 2014
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RI Foundation makes $31M in grants, many local nonprofits are beneficiaries

The Rhode Island Foundation has announced that it awarded more than $31 million in grants last year, including hundreds of thousands of dollars to local nonprofit groups.

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 $31 million in grants is the most in the organization’s 97-year history

The Foundation also had its third-best fundraising year ever in 2013, raising $43.7 million in new gifts from individual, organizational and corporate donors, up from $38.5 million in 2012. At the end of 2013, the total assets stood at more than $780 million.

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

The grants to local nonprofit organizations include:

• $60,000 to INSIGHT to fund its vision rehabilitation program, which provides a unique range of services that teach people with vision loss how to be more independent through low-vision evaluations, individual training classes, multi-session small group training classes and large group workshops. Fifty-four percent of the 1,200 people INSIGHT serves annually are older adults living with macular degeneration.

• $80,000 to the Kent Hospital Foundation for its West Bay Community Family Medicine Residency Program, which, in partnership with Thundermist Health Center, is the only residency program in Rhode Island to conduct graduate medical education in a community health center setting. The program is projected to increase access to, and the quality of, primary care for 2,500 patients in the first year. 

• $40,000 to Ocean State Independent Living to help people with severe vision impairment address barriers to daily living through increased awareness of devices and other aids that help maintain or increase independence.

• $32,175 to PAAWS-RI to provide immediate veterinary assistance to needy pet owners and their animals and to provide support to continue to operate the shelter by providing medical attention, shelter and adoption services.

Among the other local recipients are the VNA of Rhode Island, Ocean State Animal Coalition, J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick, Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership, House of Hope Community Development Corp. and Westbay Community Action.

Of the $31 million in grants, nearly $11.4 million was awarded in discretionary grants directed by the Foundation’s staff and directors. Another $19.7 million was made with direction from donors.

Many of the grants fell into six sectors: Arts and culture, community development, education, environment, health, and human services. Additionally, the Foundation supported signature initiatives in two areas it believes are critical to the state’s economic well-being: public education and primary health care.

“We are proud to support the work nonprofits do tackling the crucial issues confronting our state. Through strategic investments in their activities, we are working together to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders,” said Jessica David, the Foundation’s vice president of strategy and community investments.

In addition to grant making and fundraising, community leadership is central to the Foundation’s activities and business. In 2013, the Foundation raised $264,089 in the second year of its annual Civic Leadership Fund, which enables the organization to go beyond traditional grant making to provide leadership and a forum for dialogue on critical community issues.

The fund supported the Foundation’s Make It Happen RI initiative, which had several major achievements last year. The Foundation announced the last of $1 million in grants to jumpstart 19 economic development initiatives, launched the positive “It’s All In Our Backyard” public awareness campaign and convened a series of focus groups to develop a new economic action agenda for the state that was released earlier this year.

“Make It Happen continues to move forward on its goal of creating jobs and jumpstarting the economy. It has sparked collaborations in digital design, manufacturing and health sciences that already are producing results,” said David.

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 most pressing issues and needs of the state’s diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grant making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. A complete list of 2013 strategy grants is posted at www.rifoundation.org.


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