Community Investments

COVID-19 Response

Thanks to the thousands of donors who’ve entrusted resources to the Rhode Island Foundation over the last century, we've been well prepared to step-up and step-in as the COVID-19 crisis has impacted our state.

An employee of Thundermist Health Services administers a test for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Response and Relief

Through the generosity of so many, four COVID-related funds at the Foundation—COVID-19 Response Fund, weR1 Rhode Island Fund, Rhode Island Fund for Public Education Virtual Learning Challenge, and COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund— have received more than $15 million from approximately 1,400 donors. Gifts range from $1 to several million dollars. In addition to these four funds, the Foundation also partnered with the State of Rhode Island to administer $5 million in CARES Act funding, making grants to over 100 local nonprofit organizations. That means we’ve stewarded more than $20 million in COVID-19 response related funds through the end of 2020. Click here to read a selection of thank yous directly from our grantees and donors. See the combined list of donors. Read about the $5 million in CARES Act funding awarded to local nonprofits through the Foundation and see the list of COVID-19 Response Fund grantees. Funding is still needed to respond to COVID-19; donate today.


In this time of social distancing, our team has produced virtual capacity building workshops to aid the nonprofit community and share best practices across the sector.

Nonprofit workshops


Creative partnerships between philanthropy and the public and private sectors are making a big difference for Rhode Islanders - including students - during this crisis.

Here's one example
An activity at Thrive Behavioral Health

COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund

The COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund was established at the Rhode Island Foundation in April by the state Office of the Health Commissioner (OHIC) with more than $5 million in funding from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, Tufts Health Plan, and UnitedHealthCare. Since that time, more than $5.3 million in grants has been awarded to help Rhode Islanders cope with the behavioral health challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. The programs range from offering counseling to survivors of domestic violence to helping children cope with the pandemic via telehealth services. See the full list of awardees and a brief description of what each grant will support.

Giving changes everything

A special edition of the Foundation's fall magazine focuses on the power of local philanthropy amidst a pandemic.

Read the magazine

Communication is key

We're socially distant, but the need to stay connected is greater than ever. Communication with our stakeholders has taken many shapes during this crisis.

Here's one example
A man carries groceries.

weR1 Rhode Island Fund

With government and community partners, including Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, we launched the weR1 Rhode Island Fund, aimed at providing direct cash assistance to Rhode Islanders who may not qualify for emergency relief support due to their immigration status. The Foundation kicked-off the fund with a $200,000 grant toward the goal of $3 million, and thanks to the generosity of so many, that goal was quickly met. View the weR1 donor list. Our partners at Dorcas are distributing no-fee debit cards at a value of $400 each, as applications continue to come in from community members who are in need of these resources. To help in the effort, give today to the weR1 Rhode Island Fund.

A better future

Leadership through crisis is both art and science; as Rhode Island’s community foundation we will work diligently with leaders across the state to encourage creativity, pragmatism, and to be bold in ensuring that all Rhode Islanders emerge better off over the long term than they were before this crisis began.

Read more here