Grants & Scholarships

Supporting and celebrating Black children

The board of the Providence Shelter for Color Children is committed to serving children of color, giving a strong priority to local children of African descent.

“We’re supporting agencies that have shown over time a commitment to the Black community and have elevated the lives of the children they serve,” explains Kilah Walters-Clinton, president of the board of the Providence Shelter for Colored Children. From youth music to before and after school programs, and from mentoring for middle and high school girls to a school readiness initiative, the Shelter’s support of Black-led and/or Black-serving organizations complements the Foundation’s discretionary grantmaking, as well as that of other funds administered by the Foundation, including the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund and scholarship funds designated for African American or Black students.

For more than 100 years, the Providence Shelter for Color Children housed and cared for “colored orphans.” The Shelter closed its doors in 1951, but its board remains committed to serving children of color, giving a strong priority to local children of African descent. Today, it does that through two funds at the Foundation, a donor advised fund through which the Shelter's board recommends grants for the community and an organization endowment from which grants are made back to the Shelter to ensure a secure funding stream for the organization.

One of the Shelter’s 2020 grant recipients is the Rhode Island Coalition of Black Women which developed and runs Leadership Education and Development (LEAD), a mentorship program for African-American girls in grades six through twelve. The program, which has been operating since 2001, provides guidance and instruction to assist the girls socially, emotionally, intellectually, and culturally to help them become strong, successful women.

“We focus on Black culture and achievements. One of our missions is to raise up leaders in the Black community. We provide the girls with Black women mentors in whom they can see themselves. Our LEAD mentors are role models for the girls and give them the benefit of our experiences."

- Adrienne Newsome, LEAD program coordinator

Adrienne continues, "The program helps build self-esteem by presenting positive messages and teaching them to appreciate the unique beauty and strength of Black women, which is not always celebrated in the images they see in advertisements, movies, and magazines.”

RICBW scavenger hunt

In past years, the girls and mentors met weekly at Central High School and enjoyed educational/cultural field trips both locally and to New York and Washington, D.C. This academic year, due to COVID-19, the program kicked-off with a nature scavenger hunt in Roger Williams Park, followed by virtual meetings and complemented by an interactive website which hosts surveys, hands-on activities, and games.

Esmeralda Cheriza, who has graduated from high school and the program, shares her enthusiasm for the program, noting, “I have formed more healthy ways of sharing and expressing how I feel to others. My mentors have been a very big part of my evolving process, helping to expand my ways of thinking and viewing things from different and much clearer perspectives. I will forever remember LEAD as one of my favorite parts of high school.”

As a mentee in the middle school program, Mercy Sayon, the daughter of a former mentee and sister of a current mentee, explains, “I made new friends and learned a lot about Black history by being in the LEAD program. It taught me not to be afraid to express my opinions and to stand up for myself. I feel like I have become more grown up because of participating in this program.”

Parents/guardians are asked to pay a $25 membership fee, although girls are not turned away if families cannot pay. The balance of the program, Adrienne shares, is paid for through grants such as this one.

Community MusicWorks

Another 2020 grant recipient is Community MusicWorks (CMW) which serves young people in seven historically underserved neighborhoods of Providence. Its Youth Music Program includes individual and small-group lessons, group music activities, mentoring, and leadership programs. The Program seeks to strengthen students’ sense of personal power, to build their sense of identity, and to prepare them to achieve ambitious goals for themselves and their communities. While activities traditionally are in-person, because of COVID-19 most are held virtually or, weather permitting, outside.

Natasha Rosario, who participated in the program from age seven through high school, returned to serve as a mentor after graduating from Brown University. “Being a mentor is another chapter in my development. I’ve always thought of Community MusicWorks as my second home. It’s where I joined in weekly discussions, played chamber music, and shared a meal each week. It provided me the opportunity to build community and camaraderie with other students.”

Jannessa Ya also became involved with CMW at age seven. Now a junior at Rocky Hill Country Day School, she agrees, saying, “I really like the discussions about social justice which are helping prepare me for life and how to work together as a team.”

Roma Taitwood, a CMW student since the age of eight and now a senior at Classical High School, adds, “We’re playing music together in a world with lots of problems that we need to learn about and talk about. There’s a strong community aspect here.”

Community MusicWorks

Natasha refers to grants and donations CMW receives as “incredibly valued.” Aside from a $10 registration fee, all programs - including instruments - are provided free to participants. CMW relies on contributions and grants for its program expenses.

Other grantee organizations and supported programs:

  • Adoption Rhode Island

    Specialized recruitment and support

  • Books Are Wings

    Literacy Partner Program

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence

    Summer Learning

  • Camp Ruggles, Inc.
    2020 George M. Jacques Camperships for Needy Children
  • College Visions
    The College Access Program
  • Community Preparatory School

    Summer Programs

  • Day One
  • Everett: Company, Stage & School
    Everett School
  • FabNewport
    PVD Young Makers Youth Workforce
  • FirstWorks
    Lifting Students Through the Arts: FirstWorks Raise Your Voice Initiative
  • Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England
    Community Outreach and Extended Learning Program
  • Girls Rock! Rhode Island

    Youth Rock Camp 2020

  • Inspiring Minds
    In School Tutoring and Mentoring Programs
  • Mount Hope Learning Center
    Before- and After-School Program and Summer Camp
  • New Urban Arts
    Youth Mentorship in the Arts
  • Paul Cuffee School
    Strengthening Cultural Identity through the K-12 Curriculum
  • Providence Children and Youth Cabinet
    Strong African American Families
  • Providence CityArts for Youth Inc.
    ¡CityArts! Out-of-School Time Youth Arts Programs
  • Providence Police Department
    The Providence Police Explorers
  • Reach Out and Read Rhode Island
    The School Readiness Initiative at PCHC Capitol Hill and PCHC Randall Square
  • Rhode Island Black Storytellers
    FUNDA FEST 23: A Celebration of Black Storytelling and Funda Vacation Story Camp
  • Rhode Island for Community & Justice
    Urban Juvenile Hearing Board Virtual Hearing and Mentoring Pilot Program
  • Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art
    Artist/Inventors Congregate Care Outreach Expansion
  • Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School
    Link Up Program for the 2020-2021 school year
  • Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE)

    Student Support

  • Roger Williams Day Care Center
    RWDCC Youth Enrichment Program
  • San Miguel School
    Voyage After-School Program
  • Sophia Academy
    Scholarship support for African American girls in Providence
  • Southside Community Land Trust
    Cultural Gathering: Agriculture, Equity and Art on the South Side
  • SouthSide Elementary Charter School
  • St. Mary's Home for Children
    St. Mary's Home for Children Wellness Program
  • Stages of Freedom
    Supporting Black Youth During COVID-19
  • Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts (TAPA)

    Fritz Fannon Classroom Library

  • Washington Park Citizens' Association, Inc.
    After School Programs to Improve Safety & Learning for Low-income Urban Children

To learn more about the Providence Shelter, visit