2020 Annual Report

In 2020, when faced with hardship, Rhode Islanders responded with an outpouring of strength and generosity.

The impact of the pandemic on our great state has been extraordinary, but the Rhode Island Foundation, alongside generous donors and committed local nonprofits, found the collective courage to rise to the occasion and meet this hardship head-on. We saw people and nonprofit organizations continue to show up for one another, demonstrating admirable acts of philanthropy across the full spectrum. And, we’re excited to share the Foundation’s 2020 Annual Report with you – full of stories, and statistics, that make clear how much we were able to accomplish together.

Over the course of our 105-year history as the state’s community foundation we’ve weathered world wars, economic downturns, and other events that have greatly impacted Rhode Island. So when COVID-19 hit, we were able to quickly pivot and address the needs at hand. We moved fast to raise additional funds to provide aid across the state, and quickly distributed those funds to nonprofit organizations providing support on-the-ground. At the same time, our ongoing statewide grantmaking, fundraising, and leadership activities continued at a high level. And, we expanded our focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and access with new investments and leadership activities — announcing an $8.5 million, three-year commitment to the work.

Through it all, we were able to leverage our strengths and size. As the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in our state, we worked tirelessly to fulfill our mission to meet the needs of the people of Rhode Island, and to do so quickly and consistently. That work resulted in a record $87 million in grant distributions for the year.

This could only be accomplished due to the immense generosity we saw throughout our fundraising efforts. The number of donors and range of donations expanded markedly as Rhode Islanders spontaneously contributed to helping each other —and that philanthropy, in all forms, affirmed our mission. During 2020 we raised over $20 million in COVID-19 aid and immediately used those funds to support Rhode Islanders in need. Total fundraising for the year, from generous donors who trusted the Foundation with their philanthropy, was over $68 million. By year-end the Foundation’s total assets stood at their highest amount to date—$1.2 billion, and our total investment return was 12 percent.

Before the pandemic hit the Foundation was focused on educational success, healthy lives, and economic security for all Rhode Islanders — with acute attention to equity. COVID-19 has confirmed that those three priorities are more important than ever. Looking forward, and over the long-term, we will remain focused and invested in eliminating inequity, closing education achievement gaps, improving health outcomes by attacking the root causes of health disparities, and ensuring that economic security is reality for more Rhode Islanders.

We must remain optimistic, have hope, give help, and work toward a better future for all Rhode Islanders—all while continuing to lead, transform, and inspire.

We’re grateful to partner with you to do so.

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