Media release

Nearly $1.5 million raised to support arriving Afghan evacuees, via the Refugee Relief Fund at Rhode Island Foundation

With the support of generous donors, nearly $1.5 million has been raised to provide funding for basic needs for children and adults arriving in Rhode Island as a result of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, via the Refugee Relief Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.

All gifts to the Fund will be distributed to support evacuees via the two official refugee resettlement agencies in the State of Rhode Island – Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island and Catholic Social Services, part of the Diocese of Providence. It is expected that approximately 250 Afghan evacuees (about 60 families) will arrive in Rhode Island over the next several months. Gifts to the Refugee Relief Fund at the Foundation will provide support for basic needs; particularly housing, food, transportation, and other day-to-day expenses.

“As the state’s community foundation we are pleased to offer this support, thanks to our generous donors. There are incredible community organizations working around the clock to ensure a smooth transition for each Afghan evacuee – both the children and the adults who are arriving in Rhode Island – we are grateful for their tireless efforts, and for the warm welcome our new neighbors are receiving.”

- Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation

The Foundation seeded the Fund with a $100,000 gift, and Dorcas International Institute also secured more than $100,000 to contribute to the effort. In addition 40 generous corporate, family, and individual donors have contributed nearly $1.5 million to the effort. Donors include Bill and Judy Braden, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, Ruth and Jonathan Fain, FM Global, Mark Gallogly and Lise Strickler, Gilbane Inc., the Harvey Family Fund, Margaret G. Leeson, Kathy and Brian MacLean, The Papitto Opportunity Connection, the George M. Barbara H. Sage Fund, and United Way of Rhode Island, the full list of donors can be found here.

“As one of Rhode Island’s oldest companies, FM Global has long supported the residents of our state, those who have been here a lifetime, and those who arrive at our border looking to start a new life."

- Thomas A. Lawson, FM Global chairman and CEO

He continued, “This program will assist the people who helped our country for many years, but because of a government change in Afghanistan suddenly found themselves with only the clothes on their backs. We recognize the sacrifice these people have made and are proud to support them.”

Along with the two resettlement agencies, the Foundation is coordinating with Governor Daniel McKee’s office and the Rhode Island Department of Human Services to support the efforts of community-based organizations statewide who have stepped up to assist newly arrived Rhode Islanders from Afghanistan.

To make a gift to the Refugee Relief Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation, please visit

To help by volunteering or donating, visit

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 grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.