Strategy Grants

Strategy Grants support projects that address significant community challenges and strive for impact, with an emphasis on serving disadvantaged Rhode Islanders.

What we fund

Strategy grants are awarded in seven key funding areas. For each area, we have developed a specific focus, an important issue or concern that we believe our available grant resources can most effectively address. Our priority funding areas are our three strategic initiatives:


  • Educational success: improve educational outcomes for all public school students
  • Healthy lives: improve access to and quality of primary care for all Rhode Islanders
  • Economic security: improve Rhode Island’s environment for economic growth so all Rhode Islanders can prosper 

We also make strategy grants in these areas:

  • Arts and culture: diverse participation in the arts, arts education, and a vital arts sector
  • Children and families: a strong continuum of care for children and families through evidence-based practices and systems reform
  • Environment: environmental resilience through strong food, energy, transportation, and natural resource systems
  • Housing: increased affordable housing in the state

To apply for a strategy grant, your work must align with one of these sectors and the corresponding focus area. This allows us to cluster grant investments for maximum impact – creating opportunities for more productive evaluation, convening of grantees, and other assistance.

We make strategy grants for program support, organizational development and capacity building efforts, and advocacy or systems reform initiatives. We provide general operating support to organizations that are central to progress in one or more of the seven sectors described above. Typically, general operating is per invitation of a program officer.

What we don't fund

Strategy grants are awarded for charitable purposes primarily to nonprofit organizations or public entities. The Foundation does not fund individuals. We rarely commit to multi-year grant awards.

The Rhode Island Foundation believes that our community can best be served by charitable organizations that both reflect and serve the diversity of our community. We do not award grants to applicants or for programs that have a policy that discriminates against any person or group in any way that is either unlawful or inconsistent with the mission or values of the Foundation.


We review your application according to the following criteria:

  1. Alignment: Your proposal aligns well with our sector strategies and/or available funds.
  2. Potential impact: You have articulated measurable outcomes and demonstrated an organizational commitment to learning.
  3. Implementation plan: You have presented a convincing workplan, timeline, and budget for implementation.
  4. Organizational strength: We seek grantees who have a strong programmatic track record, good business model, strong leadership, sound financials, and solid evaluative and planning practices. We recognize that organizations may be in different phases of maturity, but we want to see evidence that you are mindful of your organizational health.

Important application information

Applications will not be considered from organizations with overdue grant reports.

If your project involves lobbying, please indicate the anticipated amounts to be spent on direct and/or grassroots lobbying. For more information, please read lobbying expenditures.

We recognize there are meaningful efforts and entities without a 501(c)(3) IRS designation that align with our funding priorities. In these cases, we will consider grant applications from groups utilizing a fiscal sponsor with the 501(c)(3) IRS designation. As part of our review of applications using fiscal sponsorship we will:

  • Assess the financial and organizational health of the sponsor as the potential (legally recognized) grantee.
  • Review a signed agreement developed by the two groups outlining the terms and conditions of the sponsorship. Please include this agreement as part of your application.
For more information and recommended best practices regarding fiscal sponsorship relationships, you may wish to review this resource from Gregory L. Colvin, Esq.

Application process

We are currently in the process of updating our grants management system and application functions are temporarily disabled. Please check back on or after February 5, 2018 or contact , director of grant programs, for assistance before that date.


LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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