Media release

Nonprofits receive nearly $450,000 to help RI’ers cope with continuing effects of COVID-19 crisis

Even as vaccinations become increasingly available, RI’ers continue to struggle with the impact of the pandemic

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded nearly $450,000 in grants to help RI’ers cope with the continuing effects of the COVID-19 crisis. With these latest grants, the Foundation has awarded more than $21 million in pandemic relief since March 2020.

“Even when the state began gradually re-opening as more and more Rhode Islanders answered the call to get vaccinated, we went on raising money and making grants to benefit Rhode Islanders hit hard by the crisis. The long-term needs persist,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We will continue working with engaged and generous donors across Rhode Island and determined nonprofits partners as our state moves from crisis relief to long-term recovery.”

Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina, Rhode Island Rescue Ministries and The Samaritans of Rhode Island are among the organizations that received grants.

Centro received $30,000 to provide community mental health services and other assistance to the Spanish-speaking community. The organization already serves nearly 1,000 clients with behavioral health needs and reports more than 1,600 people are on its waiting list for help.

“This will allow us to continue offering our services to current clients. We expect substantial gains in our capacity to provide better access to mental health care and social services, and to disseminate mental health information in the community."

- Evylengna Rodriguez, executive director of Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina

Rescue Ministries received $20,000 to purchase secure, cold storage and non-perishable food containers for its homeless shelter, food pantry and soup kitchen in Providence’s West End.

“We continue to see a large increase in families coming to us looking for assistance, and we expect that number will continue to grow. Recently our food box distribution increased to over 4,000 families."

- Sean Carew, executive director of Rhode Island Rescue Ministries

He continues, “Currently, our physical plant cannot meet these two critical needs. Without this grant, we would not be able to continue to operate at our current capacity for the duration of this crisis.”

Samaritans received $20,000 to improve the responsiveness of its digital suicide prevention services, targeting cell phoner users, persons with disabilities, teenagers and non-English speakers.

“It’s time to create a more responsive platform to accommodate newer, COVID-needed experiences, especially for mobile users, which are the largest percentage of our visitors."

- Denise Panichas, executive director of The Samaritans of Rhode Island

The work will include improving user experience across multiple devices, including mobile, laptops, desktops and tablets; and updating the content management system, graphics, photography, functionality, navigation tools, usability, loading times, browser compatibility and security.

“There has been a surge in contact with people who are coping with the pressures of the COVID-19 experience,” said Panichas. “They are driven to reach out by the hopelessness associated with the financial, health and social ramifications of the ongoing pandemic. This grant ensures we have tools we need to respond to all calls for help no matter how they reach out to us."

Also receiving grants were Oasis International, the Parent Support Network of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts, The Providence Center, Beautiful Day, Be the Change, Cambodian Society of Rhode Island, College Visions, The Herren Project, Hope & Main, Justice Assistance, Be Great For Nate, John Hope Settlement House, New Bridges for Haitian Success, Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corporation, Project Weber/RENEW, RiverzEdge Arts Project, Southside Community Land Trust, Saint Rose's Church Corporation, The Village Common, The San Miguel School, Stages of Freedom, Sophia Academy and South County Habitat for Humanity.

With this round of funding, Foundation has awarded more than $7.5 million in grants to more than 150 nonprofit organizations since launching its COVID-19 Response Fund last year.

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.