Media release

2022 highlighted by nearly $84 million in grants and more than $75 million in gifts

Aid brought relief to Rhode Islanders coping with hunger, surging housing prices and the behavioral health crisis as they struggle to recover from the pandemic

The Rhode Island Foundation awarded nearly $84 million in grants to approximately 2,400 nonprofit organizations and raised more than $75 million in gifts in 2022.

As the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofits in the state, the Foundation works in partnership with generous donors of all sizes and nonprofits throughout the state to meet the needs of the people of Rhode Island while also providing leadership on key state issues.

At the end of 2022, total assets stood at approximately $1.3 billion, which ranks the Foundation among the nation’s 20 largest community foundations. In a year when the S&P was down 18.1 percent, the Foundation’s endowment return was only down 10.6 percent, which ranked in the top quartile of foundations and endowments nationwide. The Foundation’s long-term returns are often in the top decile, with a 20-year annualized return of 8.1 percent.

"In addition to our focus on core initiatives, our aid brought relief to Rhode Islanders who are coping with hunger, surging housing prices and the behavioral health crisis as they struggle to recover from the pandemic," said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We are grateful for our passionate and committed donors and the nonprofit organizations that deliver a wide range of services to our diverse community.”

Many of the grants aligned with the Foundation’s three strategic priorities: educational success, healthy lives and economic security. About two-thirds of the grants were donor directed; the balance were at the discretion of the Foundation. Through these, the Foundation invests in organizations and programs that strive for long-term solutions to significant community issues.

College Visions in Providence will use its grant to support its College Access and College Success programs, CODAC and Newport Mental Health (NMH) will use their grant to better integrate primary and behavioral health care for patients within NMH’s office in Middletown, and the New England Medical Innovation Center in Providence will use its grant to support innovative, early-stage medical technology businesses.

“Working with committed nonprofit partners and key community stakeholders, including elected officials and state officials, our support and leadership help reduce achievement gaps in education, address health disparities across all populations and promote real opportunity for economic security for all Rhode Islanders,” said Steinberg.

The Foundation also made grants to nonprofits doing important work in a wide variety of sectors, such as arts and culture, basic human needs, the environment and housing.

The recipients include the Mixed Magic Theatre in Pawtucket, Lucy’s Hearth in Middletown, the Jonnycake Center in Westerly, Connecting for Children and Families in Woonsocket and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council in Providence.

The Foundation also continued its grant-making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including partnering with the state to distribute a total allocation of $20 million in federal America Rescue Plan Act funding with $13.9 million having been committed through February.

The Foundation launched its second very successful Equity Leadership Initiative class. The leadership development program is designed to build a pipeline of future leaders of color for positions of influence throughout the state. In addition, the Foundation offered $2 million in grants to address structural racism through its new Racial Equity and Social Justice Program.

“Correcting the root causes of inequity and addressing disparities are two of our foundational principles, and for years have been central to our work. They are values that are at the core of our decisions about how to allocate discretionary funding and civic leadership resources across all our work,” said Steinberg.

In addition to grant making and fundraising, community leadership is central to the Foundation’s work. In 2022, the Foundation raised $854,761 for its Civic Leadership Fund. This annual fund enables the Foundation to go beyond traditional grant making to meet emerging opportunities and challenges, and to engage Rhode Islanders in civic and civil dialogue.

“Our Civic Leadership initiatives recognize that progress requires flexibility, innovation and the capacity to respond to key issues of the day. It enables us to take on challenges like addressing the housing shortage, supporting the growth of small businesses in communities of color and jump-starting the life sciences sector,” said Steinberg.

The announcement comes as Steinberg is about to complete his 15-year tenure at the helm of the Foundation. The Foundation’s board of directors selected David N. Cicilline to succeed him as president and CEO after a thorough national search that included significant community input and generated an impressive pool of diverse candidates. Cicilline will begin his service to the Foundation on June 1.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.