Strategic Initiatives

Economic Security

Economic security for all Rhode Islanders is within reach, if we work together. At the Foundation we believe that all Rhode Island households should be financially stable, and we are working to invest funds and provide resources beyond grantmaking to encourage just that.

Read through the sections below to learn more about the impact we are hoping to make, and the strategies we use to guide this priority area.

The impact model for economic security presents a high-level view of the logic driving our strategic priorities and investments. It serves as an “if-then” summary for impact: IF we invest in targeted strategies and activities THEN we can expect to see interim outcomes and changes for Rhode Island residents and communities, with the expectation that working together with partners and communities we can help achieve long-term impact.


For example, in economic security specifically - IF we invest in workforce development, with a focus on strengthening and increasing programmatic offerings that focus on quality, high need areas, essential and technical skills THEN we can expect to see more skilled workers entering the workforce who are prepared for the jobs that are available, are demonstrating necessary competencies, and have attained credentials. Together with our partners - with this focus, and the others outlined in the impact model - we will begin to see improved household financial stability, increased household wealth, and equity.

The 2019 activity targets you'll find in the impact model for economic security are benchmarks for our own internal accountability.


And, in terms of the annual targets within the impact model - in some cases the annual targets are quantifiable and large, and others are more difficult to quantify.


Across all three strategy areas (Economic Security, Educational Success, and Healthy Lives) we have highlighted 65% equity targets to serve Rhode Island residents and communities that are traditionally marginalized or underserved.

We support proven programs that demonstrate results, with an emphasis on serving high need populations (i.e. low income job seekers, people of color, and those with the greatest barriers to employment). We also aim to improve the workforce development system, by encouraging and enabling better use of data to evaluate progress and by pursuing improved coordination and navigability within the system.


Example: Year Up supports low-income young adults as they move from poverty to professional careers in a single year. The first half of the year consists of training, skills development, and coursework as a cohort. Students then complete a six-month corporate internship. Year Up started in Boston in 2000 and Providence was the first expansion site. Providence is now one of 20 Year Up programs around the country and has assisted nearly 1,000 Rhode Island program graduates since 2005. The Foundation has been a proud supporter of Year Up Providence since its early days.

We invest in a strong and supportive environment that helps enterprising Rhode Islanders start and grow businesses. We work to support the expansion of high quality programs that serve entrepreneurs and small businesses, with a focus on low income entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color. We also invest in strengthening the resources, supports, and policy environment in which businesses start and grow. And we build demand and appreciation for local businesses through Buy Local RI.


An example of a grantee doing this work: The Center for Women and Enterprise provides education, counseling, and paths to funding for Rhode Island women entrepreneurs. With Foundation support, CWE has brought its programs to Rhode Island’s underserved entrepreneurs through its Community Classrooms initiative and created a microloan program for those who cannot access traditional financing.

At times, we are able to provide catalytic investments in the sectors where growth and innovation is alive and well. Our aim here is to spark broader efforts and investments from other partners.


For example: The Composites Alliance of Rhode Island is a consortium of companies focused on growing the composites industry in Rhode Island through advocacy, education, and promotion. The Foundation supported early convening and planning work for the Alliance, which has since received a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Agency to plan a composites center of excellence in the East Bay.

Explore 2025 impact targets.

Find out more about our Strategic Initiatives Grants program.

Looking to support our Economic Security Initiatives? Invest in the Fund for Rhode Island.