Find a Grant Opportunity

Fund for Healthy Rhode Island Grants

The application for this program is currently closed

The Foundation will seek applications for the Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island in 2021 and again in 2022, with two funding opportunities available each year. Please see details of the 2021 funding opportunities below; 2022 funding opportunities will be announced at a later date.

2021 request for proposals

Grants from the Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island (FHRI) in 2021 will support place-based collaborations and innovative cross-sector initiatives. These areas of focus align with Health in Rhode Island: A Long Term Vision, a ten-year plan to improve the health of Rhode Islanders. The plan was established in 2020 by a group of local health and health care industry experts, convened and led by the Rhode Island Foundation.

The Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island (FHRI) was created in February 2008 when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island contributed $20 million to create a permanent endowment at the Rhode Island Foundation to support “projects designed to have the greatest impact on the provision of quality and affordable healthcare services in Rhode Island.” Grants are typically awarded from the fund in three-year cycles.

With input from key stakeholders, increasing primary care access, utilization, and quality was the selected focus for the 2009, 2012, and 2015 FHRI grant cycles. This approach was in line with the Foundation’s contemporaneous, and continuing, emphasis on supporting primary care as a core component of its strategy for improving health outcomes for Rhode Islanders.

Given increasing awareness of the role that factors outside of the clinical setting play in achieving improved health outcomes and reducing health disparities, the focus of the 2018 FHRI grant cycle shifted from primary care to supporting place-based collaborations that address health disparities and improve population health in Rhode Island communities. Funding supported initiatives that brought together clinical organizations, community-based agencies, and community members to implement a shared vision and action plan to address Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and improve the health of their community. There was significant overlap between 2018 FHRI grantees and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) supported Health Equity Zones (HEZ).

Beginning in early 2019, the Foundation has convened and led a Long-Term Health Planning committee, made up of a group of local health and health care industry experts, who have collaborated to set a 10-year plan for improving health in Rhode Island—the Health in Rhode Island vision. Committee members have sought to identify the most pressing needs and commit to state-level coordination and institutional decision-making that will address those needs over the long-term. This plan also reflects an important reality that is also seen in past changes to the focus of FHRI funding: that improving our state’s healthcare system is vital, but that we must also focus on increasing investment in the SDOH and cross-sector partnerships if we want to be successful in addressing the significant racial and ethnic disparities we see across many of our state’s health outcomes.

The Health in Rhode Island vision includes four main priorities.

  • Provide the most appropriate care for people in the most appropriate setting.
  • Focus upstream on root causes and invest in affordable housing, food security, and transportation to address underlying inequities and influencers of health disparities.
  • Improve behavioral health outcomes by focusing on access to care, coordination of care, and prevention.
  • Reduce wasteful spending in order to redirect those resources to social determinants and improve affordability.

To help reinforce and achieve these priorities, the Foundation will be issuing two FHRI requests for proposals (RFP), one in 2021 and one in 2022. Each RFP will include two funding opportunities, one focused on supporting place-based collaborations and the other focused on cross-sector initiatives. In total, there will be four funding opportunities during this cycle of the FHRI program.

The funding opportunities for this first RFP, while reflecting each of the Health in Rhode Island priorities, include an explicit focus on responding to behavioral health needs in the community.

Existing behavioral health challenges have been exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the “long tail” of these impacts is likely to continue even after the coronavirus is controlled in Rhode Island. History has shown that the behavioral health impact of disasters outlasts the physical impact: for example recent research has indicated that increased mental health and substance use disorders linked to the impacts of the pandemic may last through the remainder of this decade.

The burden of behavioral health impacts (negative mental health and/or substance abuse) has been felt particularly acutely among specific populations, including children and young adults, people experiencing job loss, parents and children, and communities of color. Existing racial and ethnic disparities in behavioral health access and substance use treatment have been compounded by the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color.

Overall, this ongoing and escalating challenge that requires multiple levels of response, which is reflected in the funding opportunities included below. These opportunities complement previous funding the Foundation has provided over the past year through both the COVID-19 Response Fund and COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund.

Funding opportunity #1: Place-based collaborations addressing the effects of COVID-19 on the behavioral health of children and adolescents.

The impacts of COVID-19 on children and adolescent mental health has both short- and long-term effects on wellbeing and overall health. A range of social and economic stressors, including prolonged social isolation, lack of predictability and stability related to pandemic mitigation strategies, has disproportionately impacted vulnerable populations including those with pre-existing behavioral health needs and those in underserved communities. This need has been underscored through “downstream” outcomes, including increased emergency department visits for child and adolescent mental health emergencies, and the need for “upstream,” community-level preventive support and early intervention to address the mental behavioral health needs is vital.

Just as with physical health, behavioral health outcomes are rooted in social, economic, and environmental conditions. Given this need, the Foundation welcomes proposals from place-based collaborations that include clinical partners, community-based organizations, educational entities, and residents that seek to respond to behavioral health needs of children and adolescents by focusing on addressing the social determinants that underlie these needs, and help strengthen the continuum of care. Proposals can focus on primary prevention programs address individual risk factors, and/or strengthen protective factors.

  1. Support continued and expanded collaborations. Funding can be used in support of existing collaborations that seek to continue and/or expand to include additional partners. Partnership with a local school district is preferred (though not required), and partners should have a demonstrated history of focus on behavioral health prevention.
  2. A focus on equity. Collaborations are expected to serve communities that are disproportionately impacted by behavioral health issues and underserved by behavioral health supports.
  3. Meaningful participation from the population served. Applicants must actively engage and incorporate the perspective of the population they are serving (e.g., children and adolescents, and their families).
  4. Responsiveness to a specific behavioral health need with a focus on root causes. Applicants need to identify and validate the specific needs they will be working to address, including how it has been exacerbated by the impacts of COVID-19, and should focus on the strategies targeted at the social, environmental, and economic determinants of behavioral health.
  5. Commitment to measurement and data sharing between partners. Partnerships are expected to use and share data to understand the effectiveness of interventions and their contributions to change.

  • Deep trust with the populations in the geographic area of proposed work and familiarity with their needs.
  • Ability to engage and foster partnerships with appropriate (and non-traditional partners) in the pursuit of improving health outcomes for underserved communities.
  • Organizational infrastructure and collaborative capacity for the work, including financial infrastructure and staff to manage the grant.
  • Project management and leadership skills, including experience coordinating and managing multiple projects and priorities simultaneously.
  • Ability and willingness to build evaluation and data capacity and to share insights and learnings with the Foundation and its partners.
  • Ability to show long term sustainability has been considered in advance or will be considered.

Proposals may be for projects that are one or two years in duration, and up to $125,000 per year. Approximately three to four grants are expected to be awarded.

  • Year 1 (Jan 2022 – Dec 2022)
  • Year 2 (Jan 2023 – Dec 2023)

Funding opportunity #2: New housing-focused partnerships that improve health outcomes for older populations and adults with disabilities, with particular focus on addressing behavioral health needs.

There is a robust evidence base for the connection and impact of available, accessible, and affordable housing on health outcomes. There are multiple and important intersections between health and housing that require investment, which are not the focus of this funding opportunity (e.g., increasing the overall supply of affordable housing inventory, initiatives to improve the quality of existing housing units). For this opportunity, the Foundation welcomes proposals that seek to build and strengthen cross-sector partnerships focused on implementing emerging housing and service models to better serve Rhode Island’s older populations and adults with disabilities, with a focus on integrating behavioral health services into those models.

For this opportunity, the Foundation is interested in new and compelling partnerships between healthcare providers, housing providers, and other community-based organizations that can create the foundation from which practical models can be implemented that address housing challenges or create new housing opportunities. Funding can be used to support a range of partnership and project-specific infrastructure needs, such as financial and feasibility modeling, early implementation of pilots, facilitated partnership development, and other partnership related activities.

  1. Directly and flexibly support new partnerships. The primary goal is to provide an incentive for new partnerships that have the ability to propose and implement approaches by breaking down barriers that have prevented these partnerships from coalescing in the past.
  2. Support collective impact and accountability between partners. Partners will identify shared goals and outcomes as a means to increase adoption of evidence-based models that can serve Rhode Island’s older populations.
  3. Identify of innovative pilots and proven models, both within Rhode Island and elsewhere. We are seeking promising partnerships that have the capacity to implement pilots and models, with a focus on efforts that leverage and coordinate resources across disciplines, remove barriers to the use of these resources and document outcomes of new models for resource allocation.
  4. Initiatives that empower community. Respond to the needs and priorities of residents impacted by the plan by ensuring resident voice is part of the planning process. It is important that there is familiarity, trust, and engagement with the population targeted through the proposed initiatives.
  5. Ability to identify and prioritize shared outcomes and data. Linking the role of housing to health equity encompasses a broad and diverse set of outcomes, and partners should identify outcomes and impact associated with proposed programming to understand long term changes.

  • Ability to create and sustain non-traditional partnerships, with a project description and outcomes.
  • Ability to implement evidence-based or evidence-informed models.
  • Organizational infrastructure with sufficient capacity for the work, including financial infrastructure and staff to manage the grant.
  • Ability to identify strategies to breakdown siloed funding streams.
  • Ability to engage, respond to, and address the needs and vision of the community.
  • Meaningful connection to existing health investments and state priorities, and are consistent with applicable goals identified by EOHHS, RIDOH, BHDDH.

Proposals may be for projects one or two years in duration, and up to $75,000 per year. Approximately three to four grants are expected to be awarded. Funding and reporting periods will be structured as follows:

  • Year 1 (Jan 2022 – Dec 2022)
  • Year 2 (Jan 2023 – Dec 2023)

The following information pertains to both funding opportunities:

  • Nonprofit, 501(c) organizations located in the state of Rhode Island are eligible to apply.
  • The FHRI does not fund individuals, scholarships or research, endowment efforts, or fundraising events.
  • Grants may support faith-based organizations for secular programs or projects.
  • Research as part of a program evaluation is permitted, however, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or exemption must be obtained where human subjects are involved.
  • 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.
  • Organizations that are awarded a grant from the FHRI ARE eligible to apply to the Rhode Island Foundation for other grant support.
  • Please note: Applications will not be considered from organizations with overdue Rhode Island Foundation grant reports.

See opportunity-specific criteria included above.

Proposal budget
Please follow instructions in the guidance document to complete the budget form, and upload it to your application.

Organizational budget
Please include your organization's budget for the current fiscal year with year-to-date actuals (not required for public schools and hospitals).

Audited financials
Please include your organization's financials for the two most recent years (not required for public schools, hospitals, or local municipalities).

Board list
Please attach a copy of your organization's board list.

IRS 501(c) tax determination letter (not a tax-exempt certificate)
Required only if your organization has never applied to the Rhode Island Foundation for funding. If an organization is serving as the fiscal agent for this project, please submit the IRS 501(c) tax determination letter for the fiscal agent.

For correspondence and documents generated by a source that is not electronic/digital, like the tax determination letter, create an electronic/digital file by scanning the document into the computer. It is suggested that you store these documents either on your computer or on a digital/electronic alternative to which you have access, to assist in answering any additional questions related to your request.

To assure that the correct documents are being uploaded, please make note of the folder or location of the files that will be submitted to the Rhode Island Foundation.

The application process is comprised of two steps: 1) an application; and 2) a site visit. The entire application and reporting process is to be completed online. Paper applications or supporting materials will not be accepted.

Application process

  • Applications will provide detail on their project goals, challenge(s) to be addressed, structure of partnerships/collaboration.
  • Applications on behalf of a partnership or coalition must be accompanied by a letter of support from all partnering organizations listed in the application.
  • Follow-up conversations or site visits will be conducted with finalists.
  • After all conversations or site visits have been completed, the committee will deliberate to select the awardees.

Complete this application and submit it through our online system. Applicants must apply by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29.

To complete an application that is already in progress, and to submit, please click here.