Nonprofits collaborate to survive, innovate

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

Michelle Novello, a program coordinator at the Providence Community Library, got wind of a $250,000 grant on reading readiness last year but had only two weeks to apply. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.


Nonprofits collaborate to survive, innovate

WORKING TOGETHER: Michelle Novello, program coordinator at the Providence Community Library, reads to Marelyn Colon, 5, of Providence. Novello’s group’s collaboration with two Providence nonprofits helped land a $250,000 grant last year.

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 2/17/14

Michelle Novello, a program coordinator at the Providence Community Library, got wind of a $250,000 grant on reading readiness last year but had only two weeks to apply.

Because of her involvement with the Providence Children and Youth Cabinet, a nonprofit dedicated to educating young people from cradle to career, Novello had already been working with Ready to Learn Providence, another nonprofit. Together, the library and Ready to Learn Providence designed a program in collaboration with the Providence school district called “Ready for K!” and won the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant in late September.

The Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative has also dedicated four outreach workers to the project, she said.

Ready for K! began in mid-January with a six-week program for parents to register their children for kindergarten and get library cards at the same time. Following orientation in March, a 12-session program scheduled through August will coach parents on how to help their children read in anticipation of the start of the 2014-15 academic year, Novello said.

Novello’s involvement with the Cabinet helped her meet other nonprofit and city leaders, so that when an opportunity like this grant came along, she said, they could partner to get it done.

“Collaborating is critical to moving the needle, to having the children reading by grade level in Providence,” Novello said. “It can’t happen without a lot of us working together, because the size of the problem is so large it takes a community.”

About one in three nonprofits collaborated with their peers in 2013 to improve services or streamline operations, compared with 2008, observed Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. Five years ago, that interest in and readiness to cooperate barely existed, he said.

RIF does not collect data on this but says it has observed an increase, particularly in the last few years.

Since 2010 RIF has provided, on average, about $30 million annually in funding to nonprofits – those “boots on the ground partners” that work in the community, he said, adding that the foundation is responsible for managing 1,300 different funds.

The scarcity of funding and intricacy of issues ranging from health care to environmental stewardship and academic performance make collaboration a critical tool today, Steinberg said, though the potential for it and practice of it has been around for some time. He said the approach today is to share ideas, not just resources.

Next Page
PBN Hosted

Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot by December 31st and get a holiday gift from PBN!
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Applications are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Awards. Dea ...
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
    Latest News