R.I. Foundation awards $8.3M to 91 nonprofits

THE RHODE ISLAND Foundation has awarded 91 nonprofit organizations a total of $8.3 million in grants to assist their efforts in housing, hunger and behavioral health across the Ocean State. / COURTESY RHODE ISLAND FOUNDATION

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded 91 nonprofit organizations a total of $8.3 million in grants to assist their efforts in housing, hunger and behavioral health across the Ocean State.

The grants were funded through the foundation’s ARPA Nonprofit Support Program. State leaders funded the program using $20 million from the state’s $1.1 billion share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. 

Gov. Daniel J. McKee, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio joined the foundation to unveil the program last month. 

“Nonprofits across the state have been going above and beyond to provide support and resources to people in need. Given the impact of COVID-19 and ongoing cost increases, our grants ensure they can continue doing the essential work that their communities depend on,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the foundation’s CEO and president. 

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The grants, which ranged from $12,500 to $150,000, targeted organizations that experienced negative economic impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Priority was given to community-based nonprofits serving communities of highest need. 

Among those receiving funding, more than a dozen organizations received the maximum grant of $150,000, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport, Progreso Latino in Central Falls, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in Providence, House of Hope Community Development Corp. in Warwick and the East Bay Community Action Program in East Providence.

Newport Mental Health in Middletown, the Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry in Cumberland, the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen and the WARM Shelter in Westerly were also among the organizations that received funding.

Newport Mental Health will use its grant to expand the services it offers children and their families in schools, at its specialized Healthy Transitions Young Adult Center and during home visits across Newport County, according to a news release. The grant will also support the rollout of Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams in Newport and Bristol counties, as well as East Providence in partnership with Horizon Healthcare Partners, the Community Care Alliance and Health RI.

“This funding is so important to us and will help us in two critical areas. We can reach children to improve their present, as well as positively impact their future. There’s so much of a need for mental health care in children now more than ever before,” Jamie Lehane, CEO and president of Newport Mental Health, said in a statement. “Also, we are strong advocates for the decriminalization of mental health issues. Mobile teams working out in the community will help people with mental health issues get treatment instead of being arrested or sent to the emergency room.”

The Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry will use its grant to purchase food and supplies. The all-volunteer organization helps about 1,500 people a month through twice-monthly, drive-thru food distribution events in the parking lot of its facility in Cumberland, according to the release. 

“Our numbers have increased so dramatically over the past two years that we’ve gone to two distributions a month. The need is so great. Many of our guests come to us twice a month,” Bob Chaput, co-executive director of the food pantry, said in a statement. “The funding comes at [a] crucial time. We’re concerned that the first jump in heat and electric bills will push more people over the edge. It would not surprise me if our numbers grow.”

The full list of grant recipients can be found at rifoundation.org

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