Capacity Building for Nonprofits

Honoring Best Practices

As in previous years, we’re partnering with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to honor Rhode Island nonprofit organizations doing outstanding work in the sector. Applications are now open, and are due on February 14, 2022.

What award recipients can expect

Awardees will receive an unrestricted grant of $5,000, generously provided by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. Recipients will also receive public recognition coordinated by the Foundation.

Best practices will be recognized in the following categories:

This award recognizes a collaborative effort by two or more nonprofit organizations that have partnered to address a compelling problem affecting a marginalized community or population. The collaborative work will include a creative approach that resonates with and positively impacts the marginalized community/population it supports. The compelling problem addressed could not have been solved as effectively by the individual organization(s).


Nominations will effectively convey the following criteria about how the organization approaches and prioritizes this best practice award category:

  1. Identified an approach to respond to, and address a pressing need or problem which could be better resolved by working collectively.
  2. Collaborative work has taken into consideration diverse community perspectives and is focused on positively impacting the needs of that same community.
  3. Achieved goals through effective communication, information sharing, clearly defined roles for participating organizations, and a clear process for accountability.
  4. Demonstrated effective allocation and use of combined resources in a way that furthered the missions of all involved organizations.
  5. Achieved meaningful and measurable outcomes supporting a marginalized community or population that were made possible through collaborative efforts.

This award recognizes a nonprofit whose board of directors or leadership team has committed to taking strategic and intentional steps in order to diversify its board membership or organizational staff through an equitable and inclusive recruitment and on-boarding process. This award recognizes a nonprofit for establishing a strong and effective example of leadership through equitable and intentional inclusion practices that other nonprofit organizations would want to follow.


Nominations will effectively convey the following criteria about how the organization approaches and prioritizes this best practice award category:

  1. Priority is given to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) through the creation of organizational board or staff recruitment and on-boarding planning processes.
  2. DEI focused board or staff recruitment and on-boarding is supported through the organization’s mission, vision and/or a published DEI statement.
  3. Diverse communities’ perspectives and needs are considered in the planning, development, implementation, delivery and evaluation of board or staff recruitment and on-boarding processes, to include analyzing and collecting demographic information on board and staff diversity compared to the community(s) served.

This award recognizes a nonprofit organization that has planned, developed, and implemented an innovative program, for the community(s) it serves, with intentional diversity, equity and inclusive service as a program focus. How has the organization utilized new models, solutions or strategies to adapt to a changing environment and/or to find new ways of solving problems faced by the organization or the populations it serves?


Nominations will effectively convey the following criteria about how the organization approaches and prioritizes this best practice award category:

  1. The organization has instituted and delivered an innovative program/service model, solution, or strategy to address an identified need or challenge with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in order to better support the population(s) it serves.
  2. The innovative program/service has successfully addressed a compelling need or challenge in ways that would not have been addressed by using more conventional approaches.
  3. The organization’s innovative program/service has taken into consideration diverse community perspectives and needs.
  4. The organization has collected and analyzed (or has formal, developed plans to collect and analyze in the near future) demographic information on clients/constituents and has used the information to inform program/service planning, creation and implementation.
  5. The organization has included a plan for continued sustainability of the new model, solution or strategy.
  6. The program/service exhibits a high level of ethical integrity.
  7. The program/service has achieved meaningful and measurable outcomes.

How to apply

Your application and all supporting materials must be submitted through the Foundation's application portal. The application can be found here. The application deadline is February 14, 2022.

With questions, please contact Keith Tavares at ktavares@rifoundation.org or (401) 427-4054.