Jonnycake Center’s Brewster receives R.I. Foundation’s 2022 Murray Prize

KATE BREWSTER, executive director of the Jonnycake Center for Hope in South Kingstown, has been named by the Rhode Island Foundation as its 2022 Murray Family Prize for Community Enrichment winner. / COURTESY SETH JACOBSEN

PROVIDENCE – Kate Brewster, executive director for South Kingstown-based nonprofit Jonnycake Center for Hope, has been named by the Rhode Island Foundation as its 2022 Murray Family Prize for Community Enrichment winner.

Brewster, who has worked at the Jonnycake Center since 2015, was recognized by the foundation for her commitment to serving disadvantaged communities. During her time leading the organization, the Jonnycake Center renovated a 120-year-old former schoolhouse and turned it into the nonprofit’s headquarters. Jonnycake Center is currently preparing to update four multiunit properties to provide housing for those in need, the foundation said.

Last year, Jonnycake Center helped low-income Rhode Islanders obtain $290,000 in income tax refunds, provided $87,000 in emergency financial assistance for food, utilities and housing, and had 6,200 visits to the organization’s food pantry, according to the foundation. The organization also helped 30 households find permanent housing.

In a statement, Brewster said the community needs are constantly changing, particularly from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“A severe housing shortage and impact on children’s learning and mental health caused us to further expand our services to include the creation of new, affordable housing for local families and a youth center to give young people an opportunity to learn new skills, access academic support and have a safe space to go if they are simply having a bad day,” Brewster said.

As part of the prize, Brewster received $50,000 from the foundation to use however she sees fit.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette

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