2017 Community Grants

We are pleased to fund 30 community-building projects that will create community gardens, fund a pop-up library, revitalize a playground, and so much more.

These projects illustrate our belief that community is created at the intersection of people, places, and traditions. Check out the map below and read the blog post  to learn about individual projects near you.

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Explore our interactive map to discover a project near you.

Barrington

Organization

Friends of the Bay Spring Community Center

Project Name

Outdoor Performance Space

Community

Barrington, RI

Description

Friends of the Bay Spring Community Center in Barrington received $5,847 to support the installation of a permanent outdoor event and performance space in partnership with the Town of Barrington. The work will include erecting a 16’x8’ outdoor stage and 16’x8’ boathouse-style shed to store tables and other outdoor equipment.

“Expanding the scope of these programs to support local artists and a broader array of activities is part of our three-year strategic plan and vital to our long-term success. As it is now, we must shut down during the hot summer months due to a lack of air conditioning,” said Chris Watson, chairman.

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Bristol

Organization

Bristol Art Museum

Project Name

Portuguese Arts and Culture Project

Community

Bristol, RI

Description

The Bristol Art Museum received $8,000 to produce a summer-long Portuguese Arts and Culture Project. The centerpiece is an exhibit in the Museum’s main galleries featuring Portuguese art, which will be complemented by a program of classes, lectures and workshops.

“Our goal is to engage and unite the community in celebration of Bristol's significant Portuguese cultural heritage. We will leverage our summer exhibit of Portuguese art to showcase Luso-American culture throughout the East Bay, because a vibrant community honors our differences as much as it celebrates what binds us together,” said Jane Lavender, who chairs the Board of Directors. 

“More than half of Bristol's population is first- or second-generation Portuguese. As workers in our factories and fishing industry, Portuguese immigrants epitomize the American experience,” she said. 

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Central Falls

Organization

Adams Public Library

Project Name

Library Solarium/Community Garden

Community

Central Falls, RI

Description

The Adams Public Library in Central Falls received $8,600 to update its solarium and repair and enlarge the adjoining garden for the community to use, in partnership with the Southside Community Land Trust.
 
“Food insecurity is a problem in Central Falls. Many residents live at or near the poverty level and do not have cars. There is no large grocery store here, so access to fresh vegetables can be a challenge,” said Cynthia Muhlbach, director. 
 
The work will include installing a new heating system and three planting beds, adding four potting benches and repairing four raised planting beds. The potting benches and planting beds will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. 

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Coventry

Organization

Rhode Island Children's Golf Course

Project Name

Youth Learning Center Upgrade and Renovation

Community

Coventry, RI

Description

The Rhode Island Children's Golf Course in Coventry received $2,619 to renovate and upgrade its grounds and youth learning center. The work includes soil aeration, top dressing and rolling and dragging the practice tee as well as installing kid-friendly golf targets, simulated practice greens and flagsticks.
 
“This will guide, nurture and positively influence children by creating life-enhancing values and building character through the game of golf, leading to their growth into responsible, strong adults,” said David McBride, executive director.  
 
“Local volunteers, community leaders, parents, grandparents and all local children benefit from our cause of providing young people with character building values and life lessons so that they will become exceptional citizens and future role models in the midst of our community,” he said.   

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Cranston

Organization

Cranston Public Library Association

Project Name

Pop-up Library

Community

Cranston, RI

Description

The Cranston Public Library Association received $10,000 to purchase a pop-up library for community events as well as locations such as playgrounds and bus stops that serve children from underserved communities.

“This is all about meeting the public where they are rather than making them come to us. We will bring this pop-up library everywhere there is a lot of foot traffic to surprise people with an opportunity for browsing, reading and interacting with others,” said Ed Garcia, executive director. 

Community organizations will be able to request a visit from the pop-up library, especially for special events, as long as the event is free and open to the public. The kiosk will be managed by at least two staff people who can offer read alouds and other activities for youngsters based on the theme of the event. 

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East Providence

Organization

East Providence Arts Council

Project Name

Watchemocket Sculpture Garden

Community

East Providence, RI

Description

The East Providence Arts Council received $8,000 to install landscaping, seating walls and walking paths at the Watchemocket Sculpture Garden in partnership with the City of East Providence. The centerpiece of the park is a “Rigging,” a sculpture funded with a grant from the inaugural round of Community Grants last year. 
 
“Public art will bring the community together, creating fellowship and a sense of togetherness. This site off the East Bay Bike Path is a perfect location for bringing people together,” said Rick Lawson, chairman.

“Landscape architect Kevin Alverson designed the park and the Public Works Department will grade the site, prepare the walking path and install concrete pads for future sculptures that will fill out the park. Our very enthusiastic volunteers will be the laborers for the project,” he said.

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Hopkinton

Organization

Friends of the Hopkinton Land Trust

Project Name

Music in the Valley

Community

Hopkinton, RI

Description

Friends of the Hopkinton Land Trust received $5,100 to build a permanent stage for community performances in Depot Square Park. The organization supports the mission of the Hopkinton Land Trust through trailblazing and maintenance, publicity, fundraising, education and grant writing.
 
“This is a rural aggregate of farm land, old mill villages, homes and small businesses tucked into 44 square miles of land on which 8,200 people live. Community here involves gathering together to work, enjoy down-time, and to find meaning in shared experiences like music and theater,” said Christine Anderson, president. 

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Johnston

Organization

Operation Stand Down Rhode Island 

Project Name

Boots on the Ground

Community

Johnston, RI

Description

Operation Stand Down received $5,000 to purchase waterproof, reusable name tags for its annual Memorial Day "Boots on the Ground" tribute to Rhode Island veterans at the Temple to Music in Roger Williams Park.

“The memorial involves placing almost 7,000 boots with flags and name placards to represent all of the American servicemen and servicewomen who gave their lives defending our freedom since 9/11,” said Erik Wallin, executive director. 

“The tribute transcends all cultural and socioeconomic groups and really brings people together to understand the true meaning of Memorial Day and the true cost of freedom,” he said.

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Lincoln

Organization

Friends of Hearthside, Inc.

Project Name

Chase Farm Park Community Center & Pullen School House Completion

Community

Lincoln, RI

Description

Friends of Hearthside received $10,000 to complete the historic restoration of the Pullen Corner School House in Chase Farm Park in partnership with the Town of Lincoln. The work will include period lighting, antique artifacts, seating, chalkboards, school bell, displays and interpretive panels.

“Our shared vision for the school house is for a flexible space, serving as an example of our community's earliest schools that groups could visit as well as hosting a variety of arts and cultural presentations,” said Kathy Hartley, president of the all-volunteer nonprofit.
 
The recently-relocated school house joins several other historic sites in the National Register Historic District, including the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, the Moffett Mill, the Chase Farm House and Hearthside House Museum.   

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Middletown

Organization

Aquidneck Land Trust

Project Name

Aquidneck Island Rain Barrel Fest

Community

Middletown, RI

Description

The Aquidneck Island Land Trust received $9,200 to provide free rain barrel to Middletown residents in partnership with Clean Ocean Access and the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission. The give-away will take place at a planned community festival that will also include rain barrel painting, rain barrel installation demonstrations and storm water education.

“Rain barrels are the ultimate do-it-yourself community infrastructure and are useful for building community and fostering a community stewardship ethic with regard to watershed conservation,” said Charles B. Allott, executive director.

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Organization

Town of Middletown

Project Name

The Middletown Valley Amenities Project

Community

Middletown, RI

Description

The Town of Middletown received $9,405 to install eight park benches in the Middletown Valley, the town’s newest public park. The 45-acre site runs along High Street behind the Aquidneck Shopping Centre.

“Residents told us that walkable, scenic open spaces are central to their vision for our community. This site has newly constructed walking paths and newly planted trees, but there are currently no amenities. These benches will add to the identity and character of the park,” said Shawn Brown, town administrator.  

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Narragansett

Organization

Friends of Canonchet Farm, Inc.

Project Name

Educational Signage for Canonchet Farm

Community

Narragansett, RI

Description

This $6,000 grant will fund the installation of trail and wetland interpretive signage along the Canonchet Nature Trail; project in partnership with the Town of Narragansett and the University of Rhode Island.

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Organization

Town of Narragansett

Project Name

Kinney Bungalow Landscaping Enhancement Project

Community

Narragansett, RI

Description

The Town of Narragansett received $9,000 for landscaping and irrigation enhancements at Kinney Bungalow in partnership with Sunset Farm, the Narragansett Land Conservancy Trust and the Narragansett Parks Department.

“We will extend the privet hedge, provide a new irrigation system and plant trees and ornamental shrubs to enhance the grounds of this majestic building,” said Steve Wright, director of Parks and Recreation.    

Kinney Bungalow was built in 1899 by Francis S. Kinney, a tobacco and real estate millionaire, in order to host parties, especially following polo matches. In 1991, the Town acquired the property, which is a popular spot for weddings and other events.

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Newport

Organization

Women's Resource Center

Project Name

Tree Path Project

Community

Newport, RI

Description

The Women’s Resource Center received $9,710 to install public art along the newly marked walking and bike trail that winds through Miantonomi Park in Newport’s North End. The “Tree Path Project” is a partnership with the Newport Health Equity Zone and the Newport Art Museum. 

“Residents, community groups and neighborhood organizations will create whimsical ‘sleeves’ that will decorate tree trunks The tree path will provide an opportunity for community stakeholders to co-create pieces of public art that will beautify the neighborhood throughout the summer,” said Lori DiPersio, executive director.

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North Kingstown

Organization

Land Conservancy of North Kingstown

Project Name

Footbridge over Lower Mill Cove - Wickford Village

Community

North Kingstown, RI

Description

The Land Conservancy of North Kingstown received $10,000 to restore a historic walking path in Wickford Village. The path traverses the Lower Mill Cove salt marsh, connecting Wilson Park, the town boat launch and nearby neighborhoods with the Conservancy’s Bush Hill Preserve and historic Wickford Village. The grant will support the initial engineering studies, permitting and fundraising needed to stabilize the eroded banks of a circa 1700s causeway, install a footbridge, clear trails and add signage. 
 
“This is a community project, designed to bring together many groups and people. With the town's blessing, we applied for and received this grant, and we welcome help,” said Donna Hutchinson, project co-leader.

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Pawtucket

Organization

City of Pawtucket

Project Name

Rain Barrel Distribution

Community

Pawtucket, RI

Description

The City of Pawtucket received $10,000 to purchase approximately 100 rain barrels to distribute free of charge to residents in partnership with the Pawtucket Arts and Culture Commission, the Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Arts and the R.I. Green Infrastructure Coalition.

“We are working to make Pawtucket cleaner and greener,” said Mayor Donald R. Grebien. The city expects to begin distributing the rain barrels in September.

“Installing rain barrels is an easy way for property owners to harvest stormwater runoff on their property. The water can be used to water grass or flowers, and in doing so, the homeowner saves money on their water bill,” said Andrew Silvia, Chief of Project Development at DPW.  

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Organization

Old Slater Mill Association

Project Name

Reel America: A mosaic of diverse communities in film

Community

Pawtucket, RI

Description

The Old Slater Mill Association of Pawtucket received $4,000 to support a free, outdoor weekly film series. The movies will be projected on the exterior of the mill’s bell tower.

The series will celebrate foreign filmmakers and speak to diverse cultures and themes of the assimilation of immigrants into American society. Among the movies that will be shown are films that explore Columbian, Honduran, Indian, Sudanese and Tunisian cultures.

“This will stimulate dialogue and compassion, foster community, provide free and accessible cultural enrichment for our residents and visitors and better bridge the relationship between us and our neighbors,” said Lori Urso, executive director.    

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Providence

Organization

Doors Open Rhode Island

Project Name

Doors Open RI Festival

Community

Providence, RI

Description

Doors Open RI received $5,000 to support its September festival, which will give the public free, special access to over 20 locations in diverse neighborhoods across Providence. The festival is expected to involve more than 100 volunteers and 15 community organizations. 

            
“We are guided by the belief that there's a community behind every door –  from the congregation of Son's of Jacob Synagogue in Smith Hill to the friends who hold together the deteriorating Atlantic Mills building in Olneyville,” said Caroline Stevens, director. 

Organization

African Alliance of Rhode Island

Project Name

AARI Refugee and Immigrant Community Garden and Small Farmer Project

Community

Providence, RI

Description

The African Alliance of R.I. received $10,000 to convert a vacant lot at 62 Saratoga St. into an urban farm for residents of the Southside. The grant covers the costs of leveling the lot, fencing, irrigation, mulch, compost and material for raised beds.

“Our goal is to help newly arrived refugees and immigrants utilize their ancestral skills to cultivate specialty crops that are important to their native diets and generally unavailable in local markets,” said Julius Kolawole, president of the Alliance. 

The Alliance will work with the City of Providence, Farm Fresh RI, the Southside Community Land Trust and the URI Cooperative Extension on the project.


Organization

College Hill Neighborhood Association

Project Name

Prospect Terrace Improvements for Accessibility and Safety

Community

Providence, RI

Description

The College Hill Neighborhood Association, working in partnership with the Providence Parks Department and the Partnership for Providence Parks, received $10,000 to support the restoration of the historic Prospect Terrace. 

“The park is heavily used but it is in dire need of renovation. The entire renovation project that we envision will restore and enhance the park by replacing deteriorated walkways and worn benches, repair the retaining wall supporting the iconic Roger Williams monument, repair fences, add interpretive signage and do trimming and other landscape work,” said Sara Bradford, treasurer of the Association.

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Organization

South Providence Neighborhood Association 

Project Name

Trinity Square - Providing Care

Community

Providence, RI

Description

The South Providence Neighborhood Association received $9,000 to purchase 10 trash receptacles for the Trinity Square commercial district in partnership with local merchants.

“When people travel through our neighborhood, the most apparent symptom of its distress is the swirling and mounded heaps of garbage scattered around the Square. This reinforces a perception that no one cares enough to keep the neighborhood clean, much less safe,” said Dwayne Keys, interim chair. 

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Smithfield

Organization

William Winsor Parent Teacher Organization

Project Name

William Winsor Outdoor Learning Garden

Community

Smithfield, RI

Description

The William Winsor Parent Teacher Organization received $5,100 to create an outdoor learning garden at William Winsor Elementary School in partnership with the Smithfield School Department, URI Master Gardener Program and area businesses.
 
“We envision an outdoor learning classroom for children to connect gardening to other educational pursuits, including science, math, reading, literature, history and art,” said Mary Kate Harrington, board secretary.  

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South Kingstown

Organization

South Kingstown Senior Center

Project Name

Exercise Expansion Program

Community

South Kingstown, RI

Description

The South Kingston Senior Center received $2,350 to purchase exercise equipment, including exercise mats, hand weights, Pilates stability balls and yoga blocks, exercise straps and meditation cushions.

“A community has formed, as active, involved South Kingstown seniors, who attend the Center, have come together in support of one another and their attempts to remain healthy and independent while leading purposeful involved lives,” said Susan DiMasi, director of senior services

 

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Warren

Organization

Historic Warren Armory, Inc.

Project Name

Restoration and Replication of 1882 Paintings

Community

Warren, RI

Description

Historic Warren Armory received $3,800 to restore and replicate an historic, circa 1882 painting titled “Indian Chief” that was uncovered during the process of restoring the facility’s former drill hall. The restored original will remain on the north side of the stage, while a newly commissioned, but historically accurate, reproduction will be placed on the south side of the stage.

“Our ‘Indian Chief’ has thrilled our community. These unique paintings will document the historical significance of our town and demonstrate the commitment to the continued use of the Armory as a public hall and an historic public property of significance and pride,” said Richard J. Valente, 

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Organization

Town of Warren

Project Name

Baker Street Playground Project

Community

Warren, RI

Description

The Town of Warren received $7,500 to revitalize the Baker Street Playground off Water Street. The improvements include adding gates to the existing fencing, a trash and recycling center, a preschool-appropriate play structure, seating, a bike rack and a security camera.

“At just under 7,000 square feet, this pocket park provides an important community space to a densely populated neighborhood. This will be the town's only fully enclosed play space, which parents with young children in particular will seek out,” said Parks and Recreation Director Tara Thibaudeau.

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Warwick

Organization

St. Gregory the Great Church

Project Name

St. Gregory the Great Church Community Food Garden

Community

Warwick, RI

Description

St. Gregory the Great Church in Warwick received $5,000 to help create a community garden that will provide clients of the West Warwick Senior and Community Center with fresh produce for their meal distribution program.
 
The funding will be go toward  fencing, raised planting beds, loam, tools, seeds and fencing to deter deer and small animals. The church expects to plant its first crops next spring.

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West Greenwich

Organization

West Greenwich Land Trust

Project Name

Palmer Meeting House Renovation Project

Community

West Greenwich, RI

Description

The West Greenwich Land Trust received $8,950 to repair clapboard, install energy-efficient windows and paint the historic Palmer Meeting House on Escoheag Road.

Formerly known as the Escoheag Advent Christian Church, the circa 1897 building is used for meetings, weddings and other community-based events. 

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Westerly

Organization

Watch Hill Conservancy

Project Name

Napatree Point Conservation Area: A Community Resource

Community

Westerly, RI

Description

The Watch Hill Conservancy received $9,400 to install educational signage designed to protect the ecologically fragile Napatree Point Conservation Area (NTPCA). 

“The challenges include keeping visitors from trampling the dune grass vegetation and wandering into closed bird-nesting areas. The signs will ensure visitors know the right things to do to keep Napatree unspoiled,” Grant G. Simmons III, vice president.  

The new signs will be installed at the main entrance to the NTPCA and the public visitor’s center at the newly restored Lanphear Livery, now called One Bay Street Center. The work will be done in partnership with the University of Rhode Island. 

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Organization

Memorial and Library Association of Westerly

Project Name

Interpretive Signs and Informational Kiosk in Wilcox Park

Community

Westerly, RI

Description

The Memorial and Library Association of Westerly received $7,690 to install 10 interpretive signs and an informational kiosk in Wilcox Park.

“This project will vastly aid the visiting public in learning about the culture, history and environmental aspects of Wilcox Park and the Westerly Library,” said Alan Peck, Wilcox Park superintendent.

The signs will highlight the 1911 Comfort Station, the 1902 Bandstand and the 1892 Library as well as the park’s environmental features, pond ecology, the rain garden and native plants. The 10’x4’ wooden kiosk will include more information, including promotional material for library and park events.

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Woonsocket

Organization

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley

Project Name

Outdoor Wood-Fired Neighborhood Oven Project

Community

Woonsocket, RI

Description

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley in Woonsocket received $10,000 to install the state's first outdoor, wood-fired, community bread oven in Market Square.

“We will use the power of food to bring diverse cultures together in a fun and unique way and build neighborhood unity and pride,” said Joe Garlick, executive director. 

“We envision our masonry oven serving many purposes: as an anchor for our new public market and food business incubator; a catalyst for neighborhood cultural events; a place to make nutritious healthy food; a unique tourist attraction; a striking work of public art with colorful handmade tiles by residents; and a magnet for people, stories and community-building entrepreneurs,” he said.

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Address

LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903
Directions

Contact

(401) 274-4564
info@rifoundation.org

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