United Way of R.I. awards $4.5M in grants to organizations promoting racial equity

THE UNITED WAY of Rhode Island has awarded $4.5 million in grants to 72 local nonprofits to help stem racial inequality in the state.
THE UNITED WAY of Rhode Island has awarded $4.5 million in grants to 72 local nonprofits to help stem racial inequality in the state.

PROVIDENCE – As part of the United Way of Rhode Island’s five-year, $100 million plan to create transformative change in the Ocean State, the nonprofit announced Wednesday that 72 local organizations received a combined $4.5 million in grants from the nonprofit. The grants, United Way said, will support various programs targeting racial inequities and create opportunities for all.

Funding for the grants was supported by United Way’s Community Impact Fund, which received a $10 million boost from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott back in December. Out of that gift, $2.5 million will be distributed this month to local communities, United Way said.

“This is certainly an exciting grant opportunity for … how we can deploy resources with the mission of building racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders,” United Way Chief Community Impact and Equity Officer Larry Warner told Providence Business News. “We’re really excited to make investments that will help remove systemic barriers to opportunities, as well as to prioritize work that addresses the needs to create equities for [Black, Indigenous and people of color] communities.”

United Way said advancing childhood literacy and expanding out-of-school learning programs for youth are some of the focus areas that are prioritized in its LIVE UNITED 2025 comprehensive plan that the funding will support. Funding will also be used to help make housing affordable and safe for all, increase access to workforce development and adult education opportunities, and to change policies that prolong racial inequities, the United Way said.

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Warner said the organization, through its plan and grant allocations, has an opportunity to make “significant gains” in each of those areas. United Way has identified systemic racism as a “root cause” of many disparities seen in Rhode Island, Warner said, and it has taken “decades and, sometimes, centuries” of racist policies and practices to result in the disparities seen in the state.

“That was not by accident,” Warner said. “We must be intentional in our policies and investments in our programming to reverse the policies and in the power dynamic which hold back our communities from the opportunities in which they rightfully deserve.”

The grants ranged between just over $11,000 to $75,000. The organizations, selected out of 163 grant applications, that received the funding are:

  • A Leadership Journey
  • AS220
  • Beautiful Day
  • Books Are Wings
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island
  • Center for Southeast Asians
  • Childhood Lead Action Project
  • Children and Youth Cabinet/TSNE MissionWorks
  • College Unbound
  • COYOTE Rhode Island
  • Direct Action for Rights and Equality
  • DownCity Design
  • Economic Progress Institute
  • FabNewport
  • Federal Hill House
  • Festival Ballet
  • Foster Forward
  • Fuerza Laboral
  • Fund for UCAP on behalf of The UCAP School
  • Generation Citizen: Boston
  • Genesis Center
  • Global Science and Envirotech
  • Grow Smart RI
  • Higher Ground International
  • Highlander Charter School
  • House of Hope Community Development Corp.
  • Housing Network of Rhode Island
  • HousingWorks RI
  • Latino Policy Institute
  • Local Initiatives Support Corp.
  • Lucy’s Hearth
  • Man Up Inc.
  • Mental Health Association of Rhode Island
  • Movement Education Outdoors
  • New Urban Arts
  • Nonviolence Institute
  • Oasis International
  • ONE Neighborhood Builders
  • OpenDoors
  • Parents Leading for Educational Equity
  • Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corp.
  • Progreso Latino Inc.
  • Providence After School Alliance Inc.
  • Providence CityArts for Youth
  • Providence Revolving Fund
  • Refugee Dream Center
  • Rhode Island Black Storytellers
  • Rhode Island Center for Justice
  • Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless
  • Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty
  • Rhode Island Legal Services
  • Rhode Island Parent Information Network
  • Rhode Island Urban Debate League
  • RiverzEdge Arts
  • Roger Williams Park Zoo
  • SISTA Fire/Project South
  • Sojourner House
  • Southside Community Land Trust
  • The Center for Health and Justice Transformation at The Miriam Hospital
  • The Cumberland Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth and Learning
  • The Learning Community
  • The Manton Avenue Project
  • West Bay Collaborative
  • West Elmwood Housing Development Corp.
  • Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council
  • Woonsocket Neighborhood Development Corp. (NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley)
  • Young Voices
  • Youth in Action
  • YouthBuild Preparatory Academy

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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