Grants will build community statewide
Dozens of community organizations will share $385,000 in grants to fund neighborhood-based projects across the state. The work ranges from creating community gardens in Coventry and Newport to enhancing performance spaces in Cumberland and Richmond.
“Our grants will create places to gather, make friendships and launch new collaborations that will build community connections throughout Rhode Island,” said Jessica David, executive vice president of strategy and community investments.
The Foundation is funding 45 projects in 26 cities and towns. The maximum grant was $10,000. Most of the work is expected to be underway before the end of the year.
“We’re excited about these ideas for making community happen in more and better ways at the local level. Supporting community-building will improve shared places and quality of life, promote collaboration and increase community engagement,” said David.
The African Alliance of RI (AARI) received $10,000 to improve existing AARI community gardens and expand garden projects at Chad Brown and Hartford Park apartment complexes and 883 Eddy Street in Providence and Aldersbridge Communities in East Providence.
“Our projects will improve the food security of families, promote healthy diets and generate income through sales at neighborhood stores, farmer's markets and pop-up farmer’s markets,” said Julius Kolawole, president of AARI.
AARI works with community volunteers and the city of Providence, Farm Fresh RI, the Southside Community Land Trust, the URI Cooperative Extension, the state Department of Environmental Management, the state Department of Health and Food Solutions New England.
“Our goal is to help newly arrived refugees and immigrants, the residents of food insecure communities, utilize their ancestral skills to cultivate specialty crops that are important to their native diets and generally unavailable in local markets and participate in our ‘Grow Your Own Food’ initiative,’” he said.
The Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance (AMOR) in Providence received $8,000 to produce and distribute reusable grocery bags and create a small community organic soap-making business. The cloth grocery bags will include the name and logo of local food co-ops and the AMOR support hotline number and will be distributed at the co-ops and in neighborhoods that AMOR serves.
“Fundamentally, our project aspires to bring different communities together and improve domestic economies. The small soap-making workshop is a way for economically marginalized families to generate income by making soap and selling it in community food co-ops,” said Catarina Lorenzo, director of AMOR.
Aquidneck Community Table (ACT) received $10,000 to expand school and community gardens and programming in Newport and Middletown. ACT partners with Pell Elementary School, the Newport Housing Authority, the Newport Health Equity Zone, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and Bike Newport among other organizations to expand access to healthy food for all residents of the island.
"We teach young and old how to grow their own food using environmentally responsible and sustainable methods. Nothing compares with the excitement of young students discovering the miracle of a seed, or tasting the fresh flavors of vegetables they grew themselves," said ACT's director Bevan Linsley.
"We regularly hear from teachers and parents about the benefits of gardening, both for the willingness it inspires in children to add more fresh produce to their diets, but also for the sense of peace and health that working in the earth brings to all," she said.
The Blackstone River Theatre (BRT) in Cumberland received $9,908 to make façade improvements and landscaping and streetscape enhancements to its nearly 100-year-old building.
"With these improvements, Blackstone River Theatre is excited to be a leading partner in the Broad Street Regeneration Initiative,” said Timothy Draper, chair. A revitalization partnership between Cumberland, Central Falls, Pawtucket and Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, the initiative's goal is to stimulate and provide economic revitalization to small businesses along the shared commercial and residential corridor on Broad Street.
The theater is located near the former Ann & Hope on Broad Street and is the former site of the Unity Masonic Lodge. Built in 1928 and abandoned in 1987, the brick structure has been renovated for public use as a cultural arts and community center. BRT presents more than 45 concerts annually and offers arts education with its Heritage Arts Studio classes seven days a week.
“Blackstone River Theatre's history of presenting concerts, producing music festivals and offering heritage arts education unites people in our community and throughout Rhode Island,” said Russell Gusetti, executive director. "Traditions are shared, social opportunities improved and a strong sense of community is fostered. We are very excited to continue our role as Cumberland’s cultural arts center."
The Bristol Historical & Preservation Society received $2,250 to create five portable exhibits that will focus on aspects of the town’s history. The displays will be made available to local organizations as well as temporarily displayed in public places.
"These exhibits can be installed into any empty storefront, thus turning the streets of Bristol into a dynamic, vibrant history museum that changes as storefronts become vacant and then filled. We are looking forward to bringing the town's fascinating history literally to its streets, but we are particularly excited to show how history and preservation can strengthen Bristol's present-day economic vitality," said Catherine Zipf, executive director.
The City of Central Falls received $10,000 to support its Salsa Night summer event series. Scheduled for July 26, Aug. 30 and Sept. 27 at the bridge on Roosevelt Avenue, the events will feature food trucks, a photo station, free salsa lessons from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and a live band from 9 p.m. to11 p.m.
“Our Salsa Nights are about community and cultural affirmation and is meant for not only the residents of Central Falls, but for all Rhode Islanders, to enjoy, free of charge. It transforms an iconic bridge over the historic Blackstone River into a celebratory space where people of all walks of life can get together and have a great time,” said Mayor James A. Diossa.
The Collaborative received $10,000 to run the Warren Art Academy, a free six-week series of art classes for students K-12.The Academy’s mission is to provide inclusive art experiences for everyone.
“The Warren Art Academy is open to all students across Rhode Island. Because the Academy is free to attend, the nature of the program allows the potential for students from all different backgrounds and experiences to work together on high-quality educational arts learning. The hope is that the students not only engage in the enriching arts programming, but also find new friends and potential collaborators for future art projects. This will be the third year of the program and we have already seen many of the same students return, make new friendships and grow as young artists,” said Uriah Donnelly, executive director.
Three Warren-based groups are engaged in this program, which is led by The Collaborative and in coordination with Warren Parks and Recreation and Makers RI, an art and enrichment program for children.
"Our project will allow the community to see the talent of the youth around them. Selected artwork will remain in the gallery at The Collaborative for an entire month at the conclusion of The Academy. Since part of our mission is about bridging the gap between the community and our local wealth of talent, this showcase would be the connecting factor," he said.
Communities for People (CFP) received $10,000 to launch an initiative designed to improve neighborhood health and safety and the academic performance of children in Central Falls.
"Our goal is to help build connections between residents so they can learn from, and support, each other. We know that every family faces challenges. We also know that every family has their innate strength. If we can help create opportunities for families to share their ideas, needs and concerns, we can help foster a whole series of supportive communities within Central Falls," said Craig Gordon, CFP's chief operating officer.
The initiative is a partnership with Tides Family Services, Progreso Latino, the Central Falls School Department and the Department of Children, Youth and Families. The work will include events in libraries, child care centers, churches and schools over the next six months.
"We know being a parent is tough, and having parents share what has helped them allows us to build natural community support networks. Allowing neighbors to depend upon each other strengthens their ties and reduces the need for formal community supports," said Gordon.
The Community 2000 Education Foundation received $1,000 for the Maddie Potts Spirit of Community Leadership Endowment. The endowment supports two Spirit of Community Leadership Awards that are given annually to male and female graduating seniors from the Chariho Regional School District.
"Maddie, who died suddenly in September of 2017 from a brain aneurysm, was an artist, an athlete and a quiet leader who went out of her way to welcome new students to Chariho and to mentor teammates and peers, urging them to take advantage of the many opportunities the school provides in the classroom and in extracurricular activities," said Chris Philips, president of the Community 2000 Education Foundation.
Community Health Innovations of Rhode Island (CHI-RI) in Providence received $9,519 to expand its work promoting the intergenerational oral and visual history of the Mount Hope and East Side neighborhoods. The project will include the creation of two murals celebrating the area’s history.
“Together with the Mount Hope Dialogues for Community Actions, we formed the Mount Hope Arts Collaborative, which tells the forgotten stories of the community through various art forms like visual and storytelling. Our intergenerational oral and visual history project will expand with two more murals,” said CHI-RI founder Dannie Ritchie.
The first mural will be a land-acknowledgement piece that pays tribute to the Narraganset and Wampanoag indigenous peoples, the original stewards the land and this area of what is now Mount Hope. The second mural will be developed through a children's program entitled ‘Your Story, Our Story,’ which will be comprised of storytelling workshops of both Native American and African American history in the community called ‘Did you know.’”
“The community stories, mural creation and unveiling events establish communications networks and facilitate opportunities for collaboration, which bring artists, academics and local community together in partnership to support healthy communities,” said Ritchie.
Community MusicWorks in Providence received $10,000 for Music for Refugees, a series of musical events designed to strengthen social networks among recently arrived refugee communities and long-term residents of Providence. The project grew out of a February 2019 residency and music-sharing events that featured Syrian composer and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh.
Informal music sharings will lead to a public event with food that will feature works by Syrian-American composer Kareem Roustom performed by MusicWorks’ resident professional string ensemble and guest artists, including Iraqi and Syrian vocalists. MusicWorks will partner with the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island on the project.
"Through this project, we aim to build new musical ties within the community, so that informal music-making can thrive in Rhode Island as it did in Syria," said Sebastian Ruth, MusicWorks’ artistic director.
The Conanicut Island Land Trust received $4,000 to help support the 10,000-square-foot pollinator garden at Godena Farm on North Main Road. The garden provides pollen and nectar that sustains approximately 150,000 honey bees and five hives as well as thousands of native bumble bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
"The gardens use only native flowers and shrubs that have co-evolved over thousands of years with native insects, butterflies and birds. As a result, the pollinators are attracted to the flowers, and the flowers benefit from the pollen transfer carried from plant to plant. It is an ideal situation for both,” said Quentin Anthony, president.
“Our gardens at Godena are a perfect model and classroom for every homeowner hoping to create a more productive habitat to sustain the natural world. It is really a new way of thinking about gardening," said Anthony.
The Coventry Resource and Senior Center received $9,230 to erect a greenhouse at 50 Wood St., where the newly renovated center will be located. The grant covers the cost of construction, heating and ventilation systems, accessible raised beds and supplies.
“Our goal is to provide Coventry’s elders and those with disabilities with horticultural therapy programs to increase their community-connection and help feed our neighbors in need,” said Bob Robillard, director of the Coventry Department of Human Services.
The senior greenhouse program will facilitate growing plants for the Coventry Community Garden. All of the organically grown produce from the community garden will go directly to the Coventry Food Pantry to feed families, elders and children in need.
“This will promote a healthy intergenerational program to educate participants in organic best practices, horticultural therapy and give back to our neediest residents,” he said.
The Cranston Public Library received $10,000 to offer racial equity training to as many as 50 municipal, business and nonprofit leaders this fall. The initiative is a partnership with the OneCranston Working Cities Initiative and the Cranston City Council.
“As a founder of the newly formed Diversity Commission in Cranston, I believe this training will address equity, diversity and inclusion at the leadership level. As the minority population in Cranston continues to increase at a rapid pace, we must address the needs of all Cranston residents,” said City Council President Michael Farina.
The library will bring the Racial Equity Institute to Cranston to conduct the training using its “Groundwater Approach to Addressing Racial Inequities.” The goal is to give participants the skills to interact with diverse populations in a culturally competent manner.
“We are honored to lead the way for Cranston to begin to address racial inequities and to be a more socially cohesive community,” said Edward Garcia, library director.
The Town of Cumberland received $10,000 to restore and preserve the gazebo at the Monastery, the town’s largest park. The work to the more-than-30-year-old structure will include roof, lighting and landscape improvements.
"We are most grateful for the funding to preserve our picturesque Victorian garden gazebo; once restored it will be used for extensive public enjoyment by our residents and visitors. The gazebo has ornate details and a beautiful presence on the grounds of the Monastery and has always been the perfect setting for special events, weddings and recreational activities," said Mayor Jeffrey Mutter.
The East Providence Public Library received $8,944 to promote the Weaver Library Farmers' Market. The plan includes installing informational banners at popular, community locations, staging cooking demonstrations using food purchased at the market, providing picnic tables and seating at the market and adding a foam block-based play system at the market to give children a place to play when their families come to shop.
"How does the farmers market benefit the community? Let me count the ways," said Assistant Library Director Joyce May. "Since we began the market six years ago, we have sought to create a vibrant, healthy, fun and free outdoor space on market afternoons. To achieve this while supporting local farmers, food producers and families, is a win for the library and the City of East Providence."
Foster Parrots, Ltd. in Hope Valley received $5,000 to support “Feral Arts Movie Nights.” Free to the public, the drive-in style events will take place at the New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary. Foster Parrots will screen “Moana” at the next movie night on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m.
“We invite individuals and families alike to enjoy a night of art, film and fun, featuring movies with strong animal welfare, environmental and cultural diversity messages. Guests can participate in art projects, sample vegetarian/vegan food and visit display tables while waiting for the films to commence at nightfall! Bring your own chairs, blankets and snacks,” said Karen Windsor, executive director.
Friends of Hearthside in Lincoln received $9,200 to complete the interpretive signage within Chase Farm Park. The project, which marks the completion of the Great Road Heritage Campus at Chase Farm Park, includes the creation of an artist's mural depicting the historic Great Road in the early 19th century, as well as an interpretive panel for the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop.
"With the completed restoration of the one-room Pullen's Corner Schoolhouse last year, along with the recent restoration of the Moffett Mill, the town of Lincoln now features a destination that showcases an important piece of 19th century rural history, all in one spot and all in authentic buildings for visitors and residents alike to discover and enjoy," said Kathy Hartley, president of the Friends of Hearthside, the all-volunteer nonprofit organization that manages the four historic sites within the Chase Farm Park.
The town of Lincoln owns Chase Farm Park, a picturesque former dairy farm dating to 1867, as well as the historic buildings within it: Hearthside House (c.1810), Hannaway Blacksmith Shop (c.1880), Moffett Mill (c. 1812) and the Pullen's Corner Schoolhouse (c.1850). Located along Great Road, Chase Farm Park is one of many sites designated as part of the National Register Historic District.
"Signs are a critical component to give the visitor a quality interpretive experience, especially since there is no staff on site to provide it," said Hartley. "Having a complete series of interpretive signage throughout the park will inform through words and visuals to help connect visitors and residents alike to the proud history that Lincoln is so fortunate to have and which give our community its sense of place."
The Gamm Theatre in Warwick received $10,000 to launch "Community Stage." The initiative is designed to engage the public in a shared experience through music, poetry, improv and conversation. Free and open to the public, the events will take place one evening a month, will feature a variety of art forms and will encourage community dialogue in an open-mic format.
"Community Stage is an opportunity for us to share our space and provide a gathering place for residents to use their own creative tools to make connections, build relationships and for all of us to get to know at a deeper level the individuals and organizations that make our neighborhoods thrive," said Tony Estrella, artistic director.
The Gamm will partner with local organizations, beginning with Wethersfield Commons, the Warwick Symphony Orchestra and Mentor Rhode Island. The events, which will begin in the fall, will be hosted by local theater artist David Rabinow.
“The evenings will highlight local stories and are sure to spark creativity and conversation, engaging the community and enhancing the interconnectedness of cultural life in Warwick," said Estrella.
The Town of Glocester received $10,000 for improvements to Spring Grove Beach in the DiFonzo Recreation area. The work will include removing debris, fence installation, new landscaping and selective tree clearing to better define the picnic and play area for beach users.
“Improving our town beach will enhance the role of shared public spaces and build a stronger connection of place for all our residents, now and in the future,” said Karen Scott, town planner.
“These funds will also give us the opportunity to bring together different parts of our community to improve this heavily used recreation area. Our community will share the pride in achieving these improvements. There will be a huge collaboration of participation as students, residents and multiple municipal departments come together to enhance this beautiful recreational resource,” she said.
Harvest Acres Farm in Richmond received $10,000 to build a covered wooden pavilion in which to stage live music performances, theatre productions, movie nights, community picnics and other events. The nonprofit organization serves persons with mental health disorders.
"We are thrilled and honored to be able to offer a place where the community can come together to connect, perform, celebrate, inspire and share. Our mission is to be a place that provides a healing and caring environment of productive activities that will inspire hope and contribute to the health and well-being of individuals with mental illness allowing them to achieve their full potential," said Cindy Duncan, who founded Harvest Acres Farm along with her husband John.
"Nature and the outdoors can do wonders for your spirit, as well as sharing with others. That’s why it’s so important to have a place where we can all gather to build a strong supportive inclusive community. We can’t wait to unveil our new pavilion when we host our next outdoor event,” she said.
The Jamestown Arts Center (JAC) received $10,000 to support its Outdoor Arts Experience (OAE), an island-wide public art installation celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020. The funding will be used to construct a permanent sculpture pad on site at the JAC in 2019, pay an artist’s honorarium to install an artwork and to promote the request for proposals to artists.
“The OAE project not only celebrates our 10th anniversary and our unique island home, it also brings art out into the community in a way that is celebratory, inclusive and accessible,” said Lisa Utman Randall, executive director. “Having the infrastructure to install sculptures on a rotating basis on our property will allow us to engage the community in public art, and will bring awareness to the larger, island-wide installation in 2020.”
The Little Compton Community Center received $10,000 to revitalize its communal theater space. The Community Center is a central gathering place for residents and organizations. Each week, the center hosts over 80 hours of community use with the theater often being a central feature of those programs and events.
“This funding, combined with a matching private donation, will bring our 20-year old lighting, sound and visual equipment into the modern era and dramatically improve the presentation of and the enjoyment of programs in the theater,” said Doug Orville, executive director.
“Replacing and upgrading the lighting, visual and sound equipment will make the programs and events more successful for the whole community,” he said.
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley in Woonsocket received $10,000 to support free monthly events at the wood-fired, outdoor community oven in Market Square as well as at regularly scheduled community events, such as the Levitt AMP Woonsocket Music Series on Friday nights and other cultural events.
“Our ‘Breaking Bread’ initiative takes the Foundation’s 2017 investment in our Quebec-inspired community bread oven to the next level. It offers a year of activation funding, advancing the wood-fired bread oven beyond one-off events to create a culture of free and low-cost community events that build social networks around shared traditions, deepen relationships and, ultimately, accelerate the role of shared public space,” said Meg Rego, NWBRV’s director of resource development and communications.
“’Breaking Bread’ has become synonymous with a comfortable, friendly interaction. Something that is shared and brings people together. This is exactly what our ‘Breaking Bread’ program will achieve within the Woonsocket community. By combining the attraction of free, live music and the aroma of free or modestly priced homemade bread and pizza, we create a desirable space for regular community gatherings, accessible and appealing to all,” she said.
The Town of North Providence received $10,000 to install a street clock at the intersection of Mineral Spring Avenue and Douglas Avenue. The reproduction of an antique post clock will be installed near the gateway to two major developments: the new Stephen Olney Elementary School and North Providence Public Safety Complex.
“The town post clock and surrounding landscaping will be a great visual and streetscape enhancement for the community to enjoy. Residents and visitors who are traveling through the bustling corridor to the new Stephen Olney School or Public Safety Complex will enjoy this beautification initiative,” said Mayor Charles Lombardi.
The Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce received $5,000 to support the publication of a pop-up book that will include sections celebrating Misquamicut, Watch Hill and more. The Chamber will print 2,500 copies of the book to mark Westerly’s 350th anniversary.
“The Arts & Culture pages will have pop-ups of the Granite Theatre, Knickerbocker and a giant center pop-up of the Pops concert with fireworks in the sky. The Community Traditions page will feature eight time-honored events with pop-ups, including the Virtu Art Show, Pawcatuck River Duck Race, River Glow, Springfest, Shakespeare in the Park and more,” said Chamber President Lisa Konicki.
The book is expected to be available in November 2019. In addition, the Chamber plans to donate 375 books to the Opening Doors for Westerly’s Children organization.
“These books will be distributed to some of the 509 families that receive ‘free lunch’ in Westerly schools and the 94 families that receive ‘reduced lunch’ due to their family finances. Ideally, we want to put this book in the homes of every one of these needy families,” said Konicki.
The City of Pawtucket received $10,000 to complete a public mural project at Payne Park in coordination with residents of the Woodlawn neighborhood. This grant supports a call for public art proposals, a community design workshop and the cost of hiring an emerging artist.
“Public Art plays such an important role in celebrating the character and culture of our Pawtucket neighborhoods,” said Advisory Commission on Art and Culture Chairwoman Miriam Plitt.
The city just completed a $1 million renovation of the park that includes a splash park, new basketball courts, new playground equipment, rain gardens and energy efficient lighting. The mural itself will serve as the creative capstone to the renovation.
“Not only will the mural have an aesthetic benefit; it also allows for a diverse range of residents to collaborate on a public project that they can be proud of for years to come. Needless to say, we are excited about the project,” Plitt said.
The Personal Lifetime Advocacy Networks of RI (PLAN RI) in Warwick received $10,000 to support its "Community Building through Diversity" program, which will serve families from Cranston, Coventry and Saunderstown that include a child with a disability.
“Along with their son or daughter with a disability and the facilitator provided by the grant, the family leaders will receive monthly coaching. By planning and problem solving with a group of friends, neighbors and community leaders, participants bond and develop trust over the year they spend bringing their projects to completion,” said John Susa, president of PLAN RI.
One family from each community will be selected to receive $1,500 in seed funds to choose and carry out a project to address an unmet need in their area. The people selected will be supported by West Bay RI, a Warwick nonprofit that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"By highlighting the gifts and contributions of program participants who receive day or residential supports from West Bay RI, we hope to bring them greater inclusion and authentic friendships," said Susa.
The PLACE in Portsmouth received $9,337 to support theater, dance and music performances and workshops, including yoga dance, expressive movement and sounding circle drumming. In addition, there are plans for an afterschool chorus program for school children and a women’s choir.
“Many gifts of joy and personal healing come from exploring and experimenting with opportunities for creative expression,” said The PLACE’s Rose Escobar. “Our goal here is to offer venues for increasing the wellbeing of our citizens through the expressive creative arts serving our community and beyond.”
The City of Providence received $10,000 to maintain the planters being installed along Broad Street as part of City Walk, part of the city’s ambitious vision to connect every neighborhood with an urban trail.
"City Walk encourages residents and visitors to experience our neighborhoods and celebrate diverse cultures and civic institutions while building a sense of community," said Mayor Jorge Elorza.
The grant, which will complements a $75,000 investment by the city to purchase and install up to 50 planters, which will protect and enhance the planned urban trail along Broad Street.
"Public realm improvements along City Walk will make it safer for people to walk and ride bicycles while ensuring our streets are clean, inclusive, and vibrant," said Martina Haggerty, director of special projects for the city’s Department of Planning and Development.
The Providence Police Department (PPD) received $8,500 to conduct a Youth Police Initiative (YPI) series for teenage males who live in the city and are involved with, or under the supervision of Juvenile Corrective Services at the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF).
“The program has proven extremely successful over the years in the city of Providence. However, this new initiative includes a demographic that we have not been involved with until now,” said Commander Thomas A. Verdi, deputy chief.
PPD will collaborate with DCYF, Tides Family Services and the North American Family Institute on the expanded initiative.
“The YPI curriculum produces strong, sustainable relationships that decrease negative interactions between youth and police while reducing risk factors for delinquency. We are proud to partner with people and organizations like these that truly care about making a positive difference and having a collective impact on the lives of young men in Providence,” he said.
The Rhode Island Action Coalition (RIAC) in Providence received $10,000 to host a two-part performance series to bring attention to the opioid in partnership with Creating Outreach About Addiction Support Together (COAAST) and Teatro ECAS.
The grant will support performances of Act 1 and 2 of “Four Legs to Stand On,” as well as a community engagement strategy focused on bringing together community leaders to identify collaborative solutions to address addiction and recovery in South Providence.
The work is part of the RIAC’s statewide campaign to change attitudes about recovery called Recovery RI, Our Journey. The RIAC supports nurses in their growth into community leaders, and will facilitate nurses getting engaged in addiction and recovery efforts in communities impacted by the opioid epidemic.
“We are excited to partner with COAAST and Teatro ECAS to present this important story in a community that has been deeply hurt by the addiction crisis. We hope by bringing together local faith and school leaders, community organizations, local elected officials, people who work in health and public safety, and members of the local community we can identify and commit to action to address these issues in tangible ways in the months following the events,” said RIAC Executive Director Michael Beauregard.
Rhode Island Latino Arts in Providence received $4,000 to create an archive that displays the rich and blooming history of Latin Americans living in Rhode Island. The Nuestras Raíces Latino Oral History Project of Rhode Island aims to bring the community together through storytelling and document collection.
"The creation of a Latino History Archive will be the first of its kind. What makes it so special is that it will managed by a community organization that reflects the people that it serves,” said Marta V. Martínez, executive director of Rhode Island Latino Arts and project director.
“This archival collection will be an important tool and resource for academics, researchers, journalists, educators and especially Latino youth who seek to learn more about their history and heritage. It will also raise the self-esteem and make proud those who have contributed to the collection," said Martinez.
The Salvation Army of Newport received $10,000 to purchase a new full-sized wall-mounted projection screen and modernized audio-video system for its community center at 51 Memorial Boulevard. The updated video system is expected to strengthen the effectiveness of its programs and improve the quality of presentations made to program participants.
“We are thrilled to be awarded a Community Grant to provide much needed technological improvements to our audio-video system. The new equipment will greatly enhance our ability to reach out to more people and our technology will finally be on par with other nonprofits in the area,” said LeNissa Rivera, corps officer for Newport.
“We are excited for the opportunities that the sound system project funding will bring, most notably we already have plans to sponsor community movie nights and to run informational videos so clients see additional opportunities available to them with us and in the larger Newport community,” she said.
The South County Museum in Narragansett received $7,000 to create Wayfarer signage at Canonchet Farm Park to enhance the visitor experience to the museum as well as identify the trailheads of the walking trails in the 174-acre municipal park.
"Our goal is to establish the museum and park as a welcoming community resource by providing an understanding of the historic nature of the property, the natural history of the space as well as information regarding the role the museum plays in preserving the rural, village and maritime history of Rhode Island," said Jim Crothers, executive director.
Signage will be installed at several outdoor exhibits as well as at five access points to the Canonchet Farm Walking Trails, including three that abut the museum property, in order to improve access to the park.
"The Wayfarer Signage Project will help the museum and the town to improve, manage and preserve Canonchet Farm in partnership with the public for the enjoyment of present and future generations, according to Museum President Daryl A. Anderson.
The Taft Street Community Garden in Pawtucket received $8,000 to fund two staff organizer positions, purchase garden supplies and print educational garden information signs in three languages. The organization offers the public free gardening sessions Sundays at 3 p.m. through October and Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. through September at its 134 Taft St. garden.
“Anyone can join weekly gardening sessions for free, learn about gardening and take home whatever vegetables and herbs are in season. Staff organizers ensure that volunteer gardeners can enjoy a low-commitment, successful gardening experience and support our partnerships with the Pawtucket School Department and Groundwork RI. The new educational signage in English, Spanish and Portuguese will help with language barriers and foster inclusiveness,” said Susan Walker, organizer.
Tides Family Services in West Warwick received nearly $6,000 to launch a summer bicycling program that will serve approximately eight young men from the cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, West Warwick and Woonsocket. The funding will enable Tides to buy 10 new mountain bikes, helmets, tools, spare parts and bike racks.
“These young men will be able to exercise their bodies and their minds while learning road safety and experiencing new environments and areas throughout the state. Our goal is to eliminate barriers and provide access for the youth we serve, most of whom report never having been outside of the urban areas they live in” said Beth Bixby, CEO of Tides Family Services.
Tides will collaborate with the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council’s Red Shed bicycle program in Providence, which offers bike maintenance and repair workshops, low-cost bike repairs and rentals, and camps and classes. In addition, Tides will work with local bike shops throughout the state.
What Cheer Flower Farm in Providence received $8,800 to create a series of free Art in the Fields classes on photography, sketching and painting for Olneyville residents. The grant covers the cost of art instructors, Spanish-language translators and materials such as easels, sketchpads and paints, as well as printing and framing art for display at a community exhibit to be scheduled for September.
“Although we’re a charity farm growing 30,000 flowers just two blocks from Olneyville center, our grounds are not normally open to the public. This grant allows us to invite locals in to experience the beauty of flowers in a deeply engaging and meaningful way. Plus, they’ll gain art skills in what is essentially their own backyard,” said Shelby Doggett, the farm’s executive director.
What Cheer Farm will work with Rhode Island Latino Arts, the Olneyville Collaborative, the Olneyville branch of the Providence Community Library and Providence Picture Frame on the project.
The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC) received $10,000 to install signage and stage events that commemorate the history of the reservoir system along the Woonasquatucket River in Smithfield.
“We are excited to collaborate with the town to share the rich history surrounding the Woonasquatucket River with the community and reinforce the connectivity of the watershed in hope of building the next generation of environmental stewards of the watershed,” said Lisa Aurecchia, WRWC’s director of projects.
The project is designed to attract people to the reservoirs and to explain their place in history. The WRWC will work with Smithfield’s city council, planning department, historic district commission and conservation commission.
“We will cover both Native American use of the river and the industrial history of the reservoir system. Our hope is that it will build community pride and stewardship of these great state water resources,” said Aurecchia.
The Chorus of Westerly, Communities for People in Central Falls, the Conimicut Village Association in Warwick, the Greenville Public in Smithfield, Kenny’s Coalition in North Smithfield, Southside Community Land Trust in Providence and Wilbury Theatre Group in Providence also received grants