Grant Program FAQs

About the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund

The Fund provides scholarships and supports nonprofit organizations that advance equity and social justice for the Black and African-American communities of Rhode Island.

The Black Philanthropy Initiative was established as a field of interest fund at the Foundation in 2007 to advance equity and social justice for the Black and African-American communities of Rhode Island. Recognizing the need to promote economic stability, job training, and financial literacy among not only historically underserved African-American populations in Rhode Island, but also more recent African immigrants and refugees, community members joined the Foundation in raising funds for a permanent endowment to support organizations whose work promotes long-term, systemic solutions to persistent challenges.


In 2016, the Fund was renamed the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund. Bannister House was a nursing home for retired African American domestic workers located in Providence. When Bannister House was sold, the former board contributed the proceeds to the Black Philanthropy Initiative. The fund continues to honor the original focus of Bannister House and the Black Philanthropy Initiative by supporting Rhode Island's Black community, with an advisory committee of community members making grant recommendations to the Foundation.

The following funds at the Rhode Island Foundation support the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund: Edward C. and Audrey A. Clifton Fund for Black Philanthropy, Dennis M. and Miriam C. Coleman Fund for Black Philanthropy, Jason and Patricia Fowler Fund for Black Philanthropy, Beverly E. Ledbetter Fund for Black Philanthropy, Linda H. and Charles C. Newton Fund for Black Philanthropy, Glenn S. Prescod Fund for Black Philanthropy, Morgan L. Stone Memorial Fund, and Walter R. Stone Fund for Black Philanthropy.

Learn about the three core areas the Fund supports.


In the years since its founding, the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund has awarded nearly $260,000 in scholarships to Black students and $620,000 in grants to support organizations including the Refugee Development Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence, Rhode Island Black Storytellers, and The Everett Company, Stage & School. These grants complement grantmaking from many of the Foundation's other programs. Learn about the Fund's most recent grants.


“Providence’s Black, Native American, and Hispanic students attend disproportionately high-poverty schools that lack the educational opportunities found elsewhere. This work will transform lives across cultures and economic backgrounds, and create a more just, equitable and joyous future."

- Aaron Jungels, executive director, The Everett: Company, Stage & School