Media release

Rhode Island Foundation completes awarding $20 million in ARPA funding allocated by the state for housing, hunger and behavioral health

The $20 million is the largest pool of grants in the Foundation’s history

The Rhode Island Foundation has completed awarding $20 million in grants for hunger, housing and behavioral health to 240 nonprofits across the state. State leaders tapped the Foundation to distribute the funding from Rhode Island’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 launch the ARPA Nonprofit Support Program just six months ago.

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

The $20 million the Foundation has awarded since December is the single largest pool of grants in the organization’s 107-year-history.

“Our nonprofits and community organizations provided critical on the ground supports to Rhode Islanders throughout the COVID pandemic even while facing negative economic impacts themselves,” said Governor McKee. “I want to thank the Rhode Island Foundation for quickly distributing these funds to 240 organizations throughout the state to help them as they continue to recover and grow out of the pandemic.”

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

“Thank you to Neil Steinberg and the Rhode Island Foundation for getting this critical funding out the door so quickly,” said House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. “In just six months, the Rhode Island Foundation has deployed $20 million to the organizations that are many of the unsung heroes of the pandemic, supporting Rhode Islanders as we collectively get back on our feet and move forward. Thank you to all of the grant recipients for your great work.”

The Mt. Hope Community Center in Providence, the East Bay Community Action Program in East Providence, the Galilee Mission in Narragansett, the James L. Maher Center in Middletown, YWCA Rhode Island in Woonsocket and Westbay Community Action in Warwick, where the announcement was made, are among the organizations that received funding. Here is the full list of recipients.

Westbay will use its grant to re-stock its five-day-a-week food pantry as well as to support its other services for residents of Kent County. The Warwick-based nonprofit estimates its food pantry and home delivery services help approximately 20,000 people a year.

“Without the support of our services our community would struggle to meet the everyday needs of their households,” said Paul Salera, Westbay’s president and CEO. “We help countless numbers of individuals and families stay housed, keep the heat on and enjoy fresh and non-perishable pantry staples; as well as providing pantry delivery services for residents who are homebound and vulnerable.”

East Bay CAP will use its grant to stabilize and expand supportive housing opportunities to over 193 individuals and families in the 10 East Bay communities it serves.

“Homelessness and housing insecurity continues to be one of the greatest challenges facing our state. These funds are allowing us to be proactive and not just reactionary,” said Rilwan Feyisitan Jr., East Bay CAP’s president and CEO. “We are able to hire more of the necessary additional staffing we need and do strategic planning before the next wave of crises comes crashing. This is not just a luxury, but essential to making real long-term changes in our state.”

The Foundation announced the first $8.3 million in grants to 91 nonprofits last December. The final $11.7 million in grants were awarded to 149 organizations over the past four months.

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 more than $75 million and awarded nearly $84 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. For more information, visit