PROVIDENCE, RI – Nonprofits serving Rhode
Island’s Black community have until Sept. 15 to apply for nearly $90,000 in grants
through the new Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund at the Rhode Island
The grant program has two areas of focus:
First, grants to community-based organizations
that provide youth development and mentoring opportunities to urban Black youth.
The programs should target educational success, avoidance of risk behaviors,
empowerment to make positive decisions, higher aspirations, increased
confidence, more positive interpersonal relationships and growth and engagement
that positively impacts the community.
Second, grants to Black, community-based
organizations that support and promote the history and achievements of Blacks
in Rhode Island, preserve the culture of the Black community and strive to
uplift low-income Black Rhode Islanders.
This will be the first round of grants awarded
since the fund was created last year by the merger of the Foundation’s former
Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI) and the board of the former Bannister House
nursing home in Providence, which was originally created to serve retired
African-American domestic workers.
“The board had a series of long discussions about
where the money should be held and the types of organizations and activities it
should support to honor the history of Bannister House,” explained Jane
Hayward, president of the Bannister board at the time of the sale.
Bannister’s board voted to partner with BPI,
which was established at the Foundation in 2007 to address issues affecting
Black Rhode Islanders.
“Since Day One, our goal was to support positive
and systemic change for the Black community. But, real change requires
sustained resources. With this new partnership, our role as a perpetual source
of support for the Black community grows even stronger,” said Linda Newton, the
former co-chair of BPI’s advisory committee.
The combined assets of the Bannister organization
and BPI created the new $2.5 million fund at the Foundation.
“BPI was doing a lot of good work in the
community, particularly around financial empowerment. This new partnership
increases the size of the fund by a factor of almost 10, and that gives us the
potential to really scale up its impact,” said Carol Golden, the Foundation’s
senior philanthropic advisor, who worked with Bannister and BPI on their
In addition to the grant program, the Black
Philanthropy Bannister Fund offers scholarship assistance for Black students
who are pursuing or advancing a career in health care at an accredited
institution and are Rhode Island residents who demonstrate financial need.
The new fund is guided by an advisory committee
comprised of BPI’s former leadership – Linda Newton, Edward Clifton, Jason
Fowler, Beverly Ledbetter and Walter Stone – and Brendan Kane, of Bannister’s
The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and
most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In
2016, the Foundation awarded $45 million in grants to organizations addressing
the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through
leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with
individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its
true potential. For more information about applying for a grant through the
Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund, visit rifoundation.org.