Media release

Foundation offers more than $100,000 in grants 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 more than $100,000 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 9.

“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."

- Adrian Bonéy, Foundation program officer who oversees the fund and other special programs

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.

Last year 13 organizations received grants ranging from $5,000 to $7,500, including the Mt. Hope Learning Center in Providence to support before- and after-school and summer camp enrichment programming at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School; Rhode Island Slave History Medallions in Newport to support its work raising awareness of Rhode Island’s history with slavery, and FirstWorks to support its Lifting Urban Youth in Providence and Central Falls through the Arts program. Learn more about last year’s grant recipients at Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund 2020 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, 2022.

Over the years, the fund has awarded more than $770,000 in grants and scholarships. Members of the public can support the fund’s work by donating on-line on the Foundation’s website or by contacting Christine Pellegri at

The Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund is just one of the grant programs the Foundation uses to support nonprofits that serve Rhode Island’s community of color. In addition, the Foundation has launched a broad, 3-year, $8.5 million plan to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and access – with a focus on racial equity – above and beyond its traditional yearly grantmaking. Recent initiatives include creating a capacity-building program to support nonprofits led by Asian, Black, Latino or Hispanic, Indigenous or multi-racial executive directors or other decision-makers within an organization; and launching a grant program to help nonprofits create anti-racist organizational cultures.

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 $68 million and awarded a record $87 million in grants in 2020. Since its centennial five years ago, the Foundation has awarded more than $284 million in grants and has raised more than $328 million. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information about applying for a grant from the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund, visit