Media release

Nonprofits receive $8.3 million for housing, hunger and behavioral health

The ARPA Nonprofit Support Program targets nonprofits negatively impacted by COVID-19

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded $8.3 million to more than 90 nonprofits working on food insecurity, housing instability and homelessness prevention, and the behavioral health needs of Rhode Islanders.

State leaders funded the Foundation’s ARPA Nonprofit Support Program using $20 million from the state’s $1.1 billion share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act allocation for COVID-19 recovery. Governor Dan McKee, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio joined the Foundation to unveil the program last month.

“Nonprofits across the state have been going above and beyond to provide support and resources to people in need. Given the impact of COVID-19 and ongoing cost increases, our grants ensure they can continue doing the essential work that their communities depend on,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

The grants target organizations that experienced negative economic impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation gave priority to community-based nonprofits serving communities of highest need.

The East Bay Community Action Program in East Providence, House of Hope in Warwick, Newport Mental Health in Middletown, the Northern RI Food Pantry in Cumberland, the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, Progreso Latino in Central Falls and the WARM Shelter in Westerly are among the organizations that received funding. Here is the full list of recipients.

Newport Mental Health will use its grant to expand services it offers children and their families in schools, at its specialized Healthy Transitions Young Adult Center and during home visits across Newport County. In addition, the grant will also support the rollout of Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams in Newport and Bristol counties, and East Providence in partnership with Horizon Healthcare Partners, the Community Care Alliance and Health RI.

“This funding is so important to us and will help us in two critical areas. We can reach children to improve their present, as well as positively impact their future. There’s so much of a need for mental health care in children now, more than ever before,” said Jamie Lehane, president and CEO of Newport Mental Health. “Also, we are strong advocates for the decriminalization of mental health issues. Mobile teams working out in the community will help people with mental health issues get treatment, instead of being arrested or sent to the emergency room.”

The Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry will use its grant to purchase food and supplies. The all-volunteer organization helps about 1,500 people a month through twice-monthly, drive-through food distribution events in the parking lot of its facility in Cumberland.

"Our numbers have increased so dramatically over the past two years that we've gone to two distributions a month. The need is so great. Many of our guests come to us twice a month," said Bob Chaput, co-executive director. "The funding comes at crucial time. We're concerned that the first jump in heat and electric bills will push more people over the edge. It would not surprise me if our numbers grow."

The Foundation encourages organizations that have not already received grants to apply for the remaining $11.7 million. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the funding is expended. The maximum grants are expected to be $150,000.

“We are grateful that state leaders believe in our capacity to quickly get this funding out to the organizations that are doing the boots-on-the-ground work helping their communities recover from the pandemic’s continuing impact on the daily lives of Rhode Islanders," said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s President and CEO.

Applicants must have a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) and must submit a copy of their most recent IRS Form 990, 990EZ or 990N; and their 501(c)(3) IRS determination letter with their application if it is not already on file at the Foundation. For more information, visit

Since 2020, the Foundation has distributed $19.8 million in federal pandemic relief funding in partnership with the state.

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 $98 million and awarded $76 million in grants last year. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.