• Rhode Island Foundation Awards a Record $89 Million in Grants in 2023

    Aid brought relief to Rhode Islanders coping with hunger, surging housing prices and the behavioral health crisis 
    The Rhode Island Foundation awarded a record $89 million in grants to approximately 2,500 nonprofit organizations last year. 
    As the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofits in the state, the Foundation works in partnership with donors and nonprofits throughout the state to meet the needs of the people of Rhode Island while also providing leadership on key issues. 
    At the end of 2023, total assets stood at approximately $1.4 billion. Total fund investment return for the year was 14.2 percent. In addition, the Foundation raised $46 million in gifts.
    "Our aid brought hope to Rhode Islanders who are struggling with hunger, rising housing prices and behavioral health challenges," said David N. Cicilline, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We are indebted to our generous donors and the nonprofit organizations that deliver crucial assistance to Rhode Island’s diverse communities.”
    About two-thirds of the grants were directed by the Foundation’s donors; only about a third of the grants could be made at the sole discretion of the Foundation.
    Many of the grants aligned with the Foundation’s three strategic priorities: educational success, healthy lives and economic security. 
    College Visions in Providence received a grant to support its College Access and College Success programs and the Genesis Center in Providence received a grant to support its workforce training programs.
    “Together with determined nonprofit partners and key community stakeholders, our work helped reduce achievement gaps in education, addressed health disparities across diverse populations and boosted true economic opportunity for all Rhode Islanders,” said Cicilline.
    The Foundation also made grants to nonprofits that work in a variety of sectors, including the arts, hunger, the environment and housing.
    The recipients include Crossroads Rhode Island, the Local Initiatives Support Corp., the Rhode Island Black Business Association, the Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Thundermist Health Center and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council in Providence.
    The Foundation also launched its third Equity Leadership Initiative (ELI) class. The leadership development program is designed to build a pipeline of future leaders of color for positions of influence throughout the state. 
    ELI is just one way the Foundation supports nonprofits that serve Rhode Island’s communities of color. Recent grants also include nearly $1.2 million to increase the number of teachers of color in urban school districts, $1.4 million to support a racially, culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse health care workforce and nearly $2.2 million to help dismantle the fundamental causes of systemic racism in Rhode Island. 
    “Addressing the root causes of inequity and addressing disparities are a core value. They are a central factor in the way we make investments across everything we do,” said Cicilline.
    In addition to grant-making and fundraising, community leadership is central to the Foundation’s work. In 2023, the Foundation raised nearly $1 million for its Civic Leadership Fund. This annual fund enables the Foundation to go beyond traditional grant-making to meet emerging opportunities and challenges, and to engage Rhode Islanders in civic and civil dialogue.
    “Our donors recognize that change requires flexibility, innovation and the resources to respond to pressing issues as they arise. Their generosity makes it possible to take on challenges like addressing food insecurity and promoting shopping locally to support small businesses,” said Cicilline. 
    The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through civic leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is improving the lives of all Rhode Islanders. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.

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