Civic Leadership

A year later, recommendations become a reality

A look back on how the “Make It Happen: Investing for Rhode Island’s Future” initiative helped shape the RI state budget

During spring 2021 the Rhode Island Foundation launched the Make it Happen: Investing for Rhode Island’s Future initiative to develop a set of spending recommendations for the $1.1 billion Rhode Island has received in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

The Foundation worked in partnership with the Economic Progress Institute, the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, and a diverse group of steering committee members. The recommendations process was also informed by robust public and stakeholder engagement. During the early fall 2021 we released our recommendations, and informed General Assembly leadership and the Governor of the Foundation’s efforts and suggested funding allocations.

Since then, state leaders have made appropriations decisions regarding the ARPA dollars that span state fiscal years 2022 through 2027. In fact, the current year’s state budget (state fiscal year 2023) outlines spending for close to $1 billion within three fiscal years.

Working with our colleagues at the Economic Progress Institute and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, we’ve compared the state appropriations against the original Make It Happen recommendations. And, we’re pleased to report that significant investments are being made in alignment with our funding suggestions.

The following highlights the ARPA appropriations that align with the Make it Happen recommendations as well as other aligned funds in the FY2023 state budget.