Media release

Nonprofits receive $1.3 million for opioid recovery and support services 

The partnership between the Rhode Island Foundation and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services is fully funded with Opioid Settlement Agreement dollars.

Twenty nonprofits on the front lines of addressing the state’s opioid crisis will share $1.3 million in grants thanks to a partnership between the Rhode Island Foundation and the McKee Administration’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

 “As we tackle the overdose crisis, we remain united in our efforts to save and enhance lives,” said Governor Dan McKee. "We are grateful to the Rhode Island Foundation for their partnership as we work together to better the lives of those impacted by this epidemic.”

The Foundation received 44 applications for funding. The grants are fully funded with proceeds from the state’s Opioid Settlement Agreement. 

“People who are living with the consequences of this tragic epidemic on a daily basis are under tremendous psychological, financial and emotional stress,” said David N. Cicilline, the Foundation’s President and CEO. “As the state’s community foundation, we are pleased to be a partner in ensuring that this crucial funding is put to work getting Rhode Islanders the help they need to lead healthy lives.” 

  “Rhode Island’s priorities are to prevent overdoses, overdose deaths and opioid misuse by identifying, developing and evaluating multi-level strategies and interventions,” said EOHHS Secretary Richard Charest. “As such, EOHHS is pleased to partner with the Rhode Island Foundation to award these grants in three categories: Basic Needs Support, Family Support and Trauma Support.”

The Basic Needs grants fund help for individuals and families who are impacted by substance use or opioid use or who are at risk of an overdose by providing funding for “care packages,” such as bedding, food, clothing and transportation among other expenses.  

 ·         Access to Recovery 

·         AIDS Care Ocean State 

·         Bridgemark 

·         Children’s Friend and Service 

·         Community Care Alliance 

·     Crisis Intervention Teams of RI

.        Mathewson Street United Methodist Church 

·         Project Weber/RENEW

·         Rhode Island Hospital

Access to Recovery will use the grant to support its Statewide Recovery Basic Needs Project, which helps people who are newly seeking or struggling to sustain recovery from addiction by providing up to $500 for bedding, furnishings, clothing, bus passes and food among other needs. The organization expects to serve approximately 200 people.

"This help will afford them the best opportunity to obtain and maintain their recovery while feeling dignified throughout the process. Our overall vision of success with this project is to see individuals exit a lifestyle of active and dangerous substance misuse and enter into one of recovery and wellness that increases the quality of life for themselves and their impacted families and friends," said Jonathan Goyer, chairman and president.

The Family Support grants underwrite programming by organizations made up of or serving families of people who use drugs, people in recovery or people who have passed away because of an overdose.   

  ·         Friends Way 

·         Interfaith Counseling Center 

·         Progreso Latino 

·         Sharieff’s Foundation Project

·         Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council

 Progreso Latino will use the grant to support its Comprehensive Family Support Initiative, which will connect people to bilingual peer and family support groups, as well as various other resources, including social services, wellness activities and educational opportunities. In addition, the organization will offer preventive youth mentorship programming and chronic pain management courses for adults.

"Our work will address the unique needs of individuals in active drug use, those in recovery and their families and loved ones. Our primary goal is to offer a spectrum of support services tailored to the diverse needs within these communities. Recognizing the intricate challenges faced by marginalized populations, we aim to break down barriers, bridge gaps and enhance access to vital services," said Mario Bueno, executive director.

The Trauma Support grants target innovative, trauma-informed services targeting first responders and peer harm reduction and recovery specialists. The focus is on addressing post-traumatic stress due to the sharp rise in overdoses.   

 ·         2nd Act Org 

·         Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina 

·         Local Initiatives Support Corporation 

·         Medicine Horse 

·         Melior (Asthenis) 

·         Thundermist Health Center 

2nd Act will use the grant to support its Rhode Island Peer Support Alliance initiative, which invests in community-based mental health services and the recruitment, support and training of Peer Recovery Specialists, who play crucial roles supporting people in early recovery and decreasing systemic barriers to care.

"Peers often play the important role of first responders in their communities: responding to overdoses, de-escalating mental health crises and supporting people in early recovery. Peers face serious mental health challenges while compensating for the systemic failures that confront those they serve. There is deep distrust among peers toward traditional care providers due to pervasive stigma among clinicians, and a collaborative, supportive setting tailored to peers is necessary to meet their needs," said Rebecca Harris, executive consultant.

 The funding comes from the settlements secured by Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.

“While no amount of money can undo the harm caused by opioid manufacturers, distributors, and consultants to Rhode Islanders and their families, I am thrilled that the funds my Office has recovered will continue to be put to good use through these local nonprofits,” said Neronha. “Decades later, opioid addiction continues to wreak havoc on our state, and I commend these nonprofits for their commitment towards treatment, prevention, and recovery efforts.”

This is the second round of grants funded by the proceeds of the settlements. Last year, the Foundation awarded $3.25 million to 15 nonprofit organizations to address opioid use, treatment and prevention. 

 Pursuant to the various settlement agreements, all the funds are required to be directed to opioid abatement – including expanding access to opioid use disorder prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery.

Under state law, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) serves as “the principal agency of the executive branch of state government” (R.I.G.L. §42-7.2-2) responsible for managing the departments of: Health (RIDOH); Human Services (DHS); Office of Healthy Aging (OHA); Office of Veterans Services (VETS); Children, Youth and Families (DCYF); and Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH). EOHHS is also designated as the single State agency to administer the Medicaid program in Rhode Island. Last year, these agencies provided direct services to nearly 306,000 Rhode Islanders as well as an array of regulatory, protective and health promotion services to our communities. Health and human services benefits represent $3.1 billion spending per year, or over 40 percent of the entire state budget.   

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through civic leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is improving the lives of all Rhode Islanders.