PROVIDENCE – Executives from six nonprofits voiced their support on Thursday for the Community Service Grant program and discussed how it has helped their organizations.
“We feel that it is imperative to offer our perspective. These grants are used to provide critical services to our neediest Rhode Islanders. The funding received by our respective agencies is essential to continuing these services to the Rhode Island community,” they wrote in a press release.
They said the grants collectively have had an “enormous impact” on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders over the past year:
Rhode Island Community Food Bank assisted 60,000 people per month providing food for families in need. It received $172,819 this fiscal year.
Crossroads Rhode Island helped 3,000 people experiencing homelessness with housing, basic needs, case management, employment training and supportive services. It received $302,500 this fiscal year.
The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its member agencies provided court advocacy, shelter, safety planning, advocacy and counseling to 8,934 victims of domestic violence and responded to more than 18,800 calls for help and information. The coalition received $93,787.
Day One provided outreach and services addressing sexual assault and trafficking to more than 7,000 Rhode Islanders. Day one received approximately $217,000.
Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island assisted 2,400 immigrants and refugees with applying for citizenship, obtaining or maintaining their legal permanent resident status, work authorization and other humanitarian relief, provided free walk-in immigration consultations to 3,800 individuals, and provided 1,250 people with contextualized workforce training, English as a Second Language and family literacy classes. Dorcas received approximately $50,000.
United Way of Rhode Island assisted 1,600 children, leveraging an additional $450,000 in private funding to ensure children can access summer programs that increase their learning over the season. United Way received $250,000 for the summer program.
“All of these services are vital to stabilizing lives and removing barriers in our state so that people can recover, heal, eat, sleep, work and move toward empowering their lives. These organizations, and many others that receive community service grants, rely on this funding for core services,” they wrote. “We are grateful that this funding exists; we urge the legislature to continue providing these grants; and we welcome any additional measures necessary for transparency and accountability.”
The release was from Karen A. Santilli, president and CEO, Crossroads Rhode Island; Peg Langhammer, executive director, Day One; Kathleen Cloutier, executive director, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island; Deborah DeBare, executive director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Andrew Schiff, CEO, Rhode Island Community Food Bank; and Anthony Maione, President & CEO, United Way of Rhode Island.
According to media reports, approximately $11 million is allocated through the Community Service Grant program, with some grants amounting to $500,000.
The state’s controversial grant program is being scrutinized in the wake of the resignation of state Rep. Raymond Gallison Jr. last month. It was discovered that a grant financed the nonprofit organization, Alternative Education programming, where he worked, according to WJAR-TV NBC 10.
Meanwhile, hearings were held last month by the House Finance Committee to look deeper at the grants and the organizations receiving awards.