Philanthropic champions


Nothing epitomizes the holiday season quite like generosity bestowed upon individuals who need it most, and generosity bestowed upon organizations whose mission is to help others within their communities.

We cannot overstate the amazing work conducted by the Champlin Foundation, which every year provides millions of dollars in grants to deserving local organizations and nonprofits. This year, the Champlin Grants amounted to $22 million that will go towards helping communities across the state – over $2 million of which is helping organizations.

What is so wonderfully unique about the Champlin Grants in their range of gifts granted. From $1,000 to multiple millions, the moneys given by Champlin can make a world of difference to organizations of all sizes; money that would require extensive fundraising to raise on their own, or a shifting of priorities in order to afford.

Smaller organizations like the Pawtuxet Rangers benefited greatly from this year’s grant infusions, getting about $12,000 to replace the hot water heater in their historic armory hall. The House of Hope got over $36,000 for a new, seven-seat transport van. Larger organizations, such as the Warwick Public Library, the Warwick Boys and Girls Club and the Community College of Rhode Island all received game-changing donations as well, at $83,000, $138,500 and $250,000 respectively.

These grants all go towards organizations who help improve the public good. The Boys and Girls Club will be able to utilize the grant to improve their kids’ understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts. The library will be able to improve its space for public access and gathering and CCRI can improve its offerings by furnishing and equipping a digital innovation lab.

New organizations in the city, such as the Sandra Feinstein Gamm Theatre, which began its first season in Warwick this fall following its move from longtime home Pawtucket, received assistance from Champlin as well. They received over $113,000 to make improvements to their lighting, sound and technical equipment. Coming off robust fundraising and capital campaigns, where they undoubtedly leaned heavily on longtime supporters, the money must take some immense pressure off.

It truly is remarkable just how far-reaching the Champlin Foundation has become in the state. They have awarded over half a billion dollars to nonprofits in Rhode Island, and this year they distributed about $4 million above their average level of giving.

Organizations that prioritize giving and bringing people together amidst their mission statements should inspire each of us to give more of ourselves. We can volunteer our time, donate spare dollars or donate food to local food banks or pantries.

Another philanthropic organization, the Rhode Island Foundation, decided to once again put their money where their mouth is during a year where we have learned that food insecurity is rapidly increasing in the state, rather than decreasing as we may expect in a time of economic growth.

Last month, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank reported that there had been a 45 percent increase in the number of households facing food insecurity in Rhode Island over the numbers collected 10 years ago. Whether this is the result of improved data gathering or is a reflection of wage stagnation among the inflation of food and living costs is beside the point – it is an alarming number of people going hungry in a country with so much prosperity.

Seeing these reports, the Rhode Island Foundation vowed on Monday to donate $100,000 to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, which will go towards the purchase of 300,000 pounds of food for those in need during the winter season – the peak season of hunger where the need for donations skyrockets.

We are humbled and inspired by the philanthropy of these two organizations, but also acknowledge the thousands of individuals who give time, money, donate toys, clothes or other items to people and organizations in need every year. The Conimicut Village Association donating $1,000 to the rebuilding efforts of the Woodbury Union Church immediately comes to mind as a shining example of this type of small-scale but equally important act of goodwill towards our neighbors.

These acts provide us all with a bar to aspire to. If we all tried to attain that level of benevolence, what good might come to our world?


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment