Media release

Rhode Island Foundation awards an additional $550,000 in grants 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 on their housing, employment, food and health

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded an additional $550,000 in grants from its COVID-19 Response Fund to help RI’ers cope with the continuing effects of the pandemic. With these most recent grants, Foundation has awarded $7.3 million in grants since launching the fund nearly one year ago.

“Even though the situation appears to be improving, we never stopped raising money and making grants to benefit Rhode Islanders hit hard by the crisis,” said Neil D. Steinberg. “We will continue working with dedicated and generous donors from throughout the state and tireless nonprofit partners as Rhode Island moves from crisis relief to long-term recovery.”

The latest recipients include the Dorcas International Institute in Providence, Operation Stand Down in Johnston, the Samaritans in Pawtucket, Turning Around Ministries in Newport and the WARM Shelter in Westerly.

Dorcas International will use the funding to help members of the Narragansett tribe with rent, utilities, transportation, essential PPE products, and other basic needs. The organization expects to serve approximately 40 tribal households.

“Many of the families are not able to access public assistance, and without a sufficient safety net in the community, we continue to see the increasing need for financial assistance and other wraparound services for this population,” said Executive Director Kathleen Cloutier. “These funds will be vital to prevent homelessness and will allow us to support families in meeting their immediate needs.”

Operation Stand Down R.I. will utilize this grant to provide homeless and at-risk veterans with housing, utility and employment and training assistance. The organization expects to assist an additional 40 veteran households with this funding.

“The grant helps address shortfalls in fundraising that is normally dedicated to providing these types of temporary financial assistance and supportive services”, said Executive Director Erik B. Wallin. “A portion of funds will also be utilized for outreach to encourage veterans to seek our assistance in proactively addressing rent arrearages with landlords so as to help maintain long-term housing stability.”

The Samaritans will use its grant to support ongoing staffing for its work serving people in emotional crisis through its Hotline/Listening Line at (401) 272-4044.

“Our nonjudgmental befriending services are there for the hopeless, the isolated and alone, the suicidal and the grieving as well as to their family and friends who care about them. The operating and program support is crucial to maintaining our statewide, volunteer staffed services and program assistance as well as our community partnerships as we adapt to COVID-19's evolving impact on the Rhode Islanders we serve,” said Executive Director Denise Panichas.

Turning Around Ministries will use some of its funding to support case management, job readiness services, telephone and internet service, and supplies. The balance will be used to provide help with rent, food, transportation, utilities and prescriptions.

“Newport County’s economy depends on the hospitality and tourism industries. Approximately 30 percent of the jobs are service-related. Because of COVID-19, as many as 12,000 people could be out of work,” said Executive Director Cheryl Robinson.

Bradley Hospital, Crossroads Rhode Island, the Da Vinci Center, the Housing Network, the Interfaith Counseling Center, New Englanders Helping Our Veterans, Project Undercover, Project Weber/RENEW, R.I. Legal Services, the R.I. Parent Information Network, Sacred Heart Elderly Day Care and Women's Refugee Care also received grants.

The Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund was launched in March 2020 initially in partnership with the United Way of Rhode Island. The $7.3 million in grants awarded to date reflect just the grantmaking by the Foundation. Nearly 150 nonprofits received grants. See the list of COVID-19 Response Fund grantees.

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.