State announces up to $635K in latest round of Take It Outside grants

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s Take It Outside initiative is awarding seven grants to promote outdoor commercial activities, Gov. Daniel J. McKee announced Tuesday.

The grants, ranging from $40,000 to $220,000, will be used to support a variety of activities, including Al Fresco on the Hill in Providence and Make Music Day in Westerly. 

“The Take It Outside initiative was born out of the pandemic as a way to keep our businesses operating in a safe manner,” McKee said in a statement. “While the pandemic is behind us, we’re proud to continue this initiative which increases economic activity for our small businesses and promotes good public health practices.”

So far this year, $2.75 million in Take It Outside grants have been distributed in support of more than 350 Rhode Island small businesses, half of which are women- or minority-owned enterprises, according to McKee. In the next few months, an additional $2 million will be deployed to small-business groups.

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The Take It Outside grants are part of McKee’s Rhode Island Rebound program and are administered through the R.I. Commerce Corp.

In a statement, R.I. Commerce Secretary Elizabeth M. Tanner said, “[We] recognize the enormous strain that the pandemic placed on our small businesses. We anticipate that the initiative will make a substantial impact on our collective desire to keep our citizens safe while simultaneously bolstering our economy.”

Organizations receiving grants include: 

  • Rhode Island Hospitality Association. Up to $220,000 to reimburse businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors.
  • Center for Southeast Asians. Up to $100,000 to continue providing reimbursements for small businesses investing in Take It Outside projects in Providence.
  • North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce. Up to $100,000 to provide in-kind support for small businesses engaging in Take It Outside activities through the purchase and distribution of materials and equipment.
  • Federal Hill Commerce Association. Up to $90,000 to fund a 2023 series of outdoor dining and shopping events known as Al Fresco on the Hill in Providence.
  • Town of Lincoln. Up to $75,000 for golf carts to be city owned to improve accessibility at outdoor festivals and markets. 
  • East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce. Up to $40,000 to support Take It Outside programming through the summer of 2023.
  • Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce. Up to $10,000 for outdoor business programming, including Sunday Funday events, Small Business Speed networking, and Make Music Day in Westerly.

Sam Wood is a PBN staff writer. Contact him at Wood@PBN.com.