Media release

$124,000 in grants offered to nonprofits that serve the state’s Black community

Funding from the Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund comes during Black Philanthropy Month

The Rhode Island Foundation is offering $124,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations that serve the state’s Black community, particularly organizations that have significant Black representation among their staff and board of directors. The deadline to apply for funding from the Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund is September 8.

“First established in 2007, this fund is one long-standing component of the Rhode Island Foundation’s overall core commitment to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and access in all its activities,” said David N. Cicilline, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

The fund gives priority to equity, education, social justice and economic empowerment of the Black community in three core areas, with a long-term goal of systemic change that improves the lives of Rhode Island’s Black community.   

Grants will support community-based organizations that uplift low-income Black Rhode Islanders through programs that create pathways to financial stability and achievement, provide youth development and mentoring opportunities to urban Black youth, and support and promote the history, culture and achievements of Blacks in Rhode Island. More information is posted here.

“Our aim is to support work that strengthens and empowers this community. We’re targeting organizations that focus on the unique needs of Rhode Island’s Black community, including those nonprofits that have a tradition of serving the community,” said Angie Ankoma, who oversees the program at the Foundation.  

Last year, 19 organizations received grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, including the African Alliance of Providence to increase sales at its farmers markets, Oasis International in Providence to support its youth mentoring and development programs, and Sankofa Community Connection to improve the health of children in the city’s North End. Learn more about last year’s grant recipients at Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund 2022 grant awardees.  

The request for proposals comes during Black Philanthropy Month. In addition to the grant program, the fund also offers scholarship assistance for Black students who are pursuing or advancing a career in health care at an accredited institution and are Rhode Island residents who demonstrate financial need. Scholarship requests can be submitted after January 1.

Over the years, the fund has awarded more than $1 million in grants and scholarships. Members of the public can support the fund’s work by donating on-line or by contacting Christine Pellegri at

Recent work includes awarding nearly $2.2 million to help dismantle the fundamental causes of systemic racism in Rhode Island, awarding nearly $1.2 million to increase the number of teachers of color in urban school districts, and creating a capacity-building program to support nonprofits led by Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous, or multi-racial executive directors or other decision-makers within an organization.  

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $75 million and awarded $84 million in grants last year. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.