PROVIDENCE, RI – To mark Black History Month, the
Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $90,000 in grants to nonprofit
organizations serving the African-American community through its Black
Philanthropy Bannister Fund.
“Providing the African American community with
the resources to thrive goes to the core of commitment to equity and our vision
for ensuring that the future is bright for a changing Rhode Island,” said
Adrian Bonéy, the Foundation’s program officer for special programs, who
oversees the fund.
This is the first round of grants since the
former Black Philanthropy Initiative and the former Bannister House nursing
home in Providence merged to create the $2.5 million Black Philanthropy
Bannister Fund at the Foundation. The grant program targets community-based
organizations that provide youth development and mentoring opportunities to
urban Black youth and 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
Many of the organizations are located in
Providence and work with local youth.
AS220 was awarded
$5,000 to support the AS220 Youth and the Futureworlds programs. AS220 Youth
strives to empower young people to be leaders and educators in their respective
communities, and to dismantle the pipeline to prison by finding sustainable
financial solutions for beyond-risk and incarcerated youth.
“Futureworlds is AS220 Youth's pedagogy and
annual collaborative arts showcase that empowers a youth led vision of a world
free from today's systems of oppression. Success in today’s world relies
heavily on one’s ability to understand, utilize and manipulate various forms of
technology,” said Seth Tourjee, AS220 Grants Manager.
The Boys and Girls Club of Providence
received $10,000 to support staffing and program supplies for the Boys &
Girls Club University at Teen Nights. Approximately 150 teens are expected to
participate in activities ranging from computer science classes to financial
“We provide teens with positive adult role models
who can guide teens toward greater self-confidence, sense of service to the
community and higher aspirations towards college and career pathways,” said
Nicole Dufresne, CEO.
The Everett: Company, Stage & School
in Providence was awarded $7,000 to support mentoring and classes in the
performing arts to at-risk youth.
“Our work is filling holes in our community and
our students’ lives by providing positive activities for young people, adult
mentors, employment and support in areas such as succeeding in school and
solving social and emotional conflicts,” said Aaron Jungels, executive
The Institute for the Study and Practice of
Nonviolence in Providence received $7,500 to support the “Let’s Make this
Work!” program. This partnership with Mentor Rhode Island enables the Institute
to serve hard-to-reach, at-risk young people by providing workforce training
toward better employment opportunities.
“The program provides 10 months of workforce
training, enrichment, mentoring and respectful accountability to young adults
who are living in poverty and are victims of their environments,” said PJ Fox
III, executive director.
“These young people have barriers to employment
such as lack of formal education, criminal history, under developed life skills
and unstable housing,” said Fox. “All of our participants have had personnel
experience with violence either directed at them or someone they cared about.”
The National Coalition of 100 Black Women – RI
in Providence received $7,500 for its Leadership Education and Development
(LEAD) program. The after-school program will work with community mentors to
serve approximately 25 Black girls beginning in the sixth grade.
Weekly activities address educational and
leadership goals by having participants express their opinions on a variety of
topics; read and respond to articles; write journal entries; give oral
presentations; explore issues such as cultural identity and peaceful conflict resolution
and learn how to advocate effectively for themselves and their community.
“LEAD provides guidance and instruction to
adolescent Black girls to assist them socially, emotionally, intellectually and
culturally in becoming strong, successful young women,” said Adrienne T.
Newsome, LEAD Mentoring Program Coordinator.
New Urban Arts in
Providence received $5,000 to support its Youth Mentorship in the Arts program,
which gives students access to a 6,000-square-foot art studio with resources
for painting, drawing, screen-printing, music, digital media, creative writing
and other artistic media.
Facilitated by a mix of staff and volunteer
artists, the program offers young people as much flexibility as possible in how
they use the space. Students can display their work in the gallery and
performance program, which includes a fashion show, poetry readings,
exhibitions and a student-edited publication.
“This program enables students to develop their
artistic voices and acquire artistic skills through regular contact with
experienced artists,” said Sophia Mackenzie, development director.
The Opportunities Industrialization Center
(OIC) in Providence was awarded $9,620 to expand its workforce development
programs to include young people age 16 to 18. The goal is to see 20 young
people placed in jobs or job training programs or earn GEDs.
“There is a need for workforce development
initiatives for young people that allow them the space to grapple with their
ethnicity and how they interact within the workplace. We seek to marry our
successful workforce development pipeline with youth development to improve
outcomes in Providence,” said Chace Baptista, director of community engagement.
“This work is an outgrowth of OIC’s strategic plan, which seeks to challenge
the traditional notions of workforce development and to extend our brand to
Providence Promise received $5,000 to encourage
Providence public school and public charter school
students to pursue post-secondary education and earn a credential beyond
high school. The funds will provide $100 incentives to encourage up to 50
Black/African American students from Providence and their families
to open and contribute to a CollegeBound Saver account, Rhode
Island’s 529 plan.
“We believe in the potential of each student
and their families here in Providence. By increasing access and equity to
resources that support families in under-served communities, our students
can reach their full potential and achieve their personal
goals and dreams,” said Richard Lappin, chairman and
Rhode Island Black Storytellers in Providence was awarded $5,000 to support programs such as Funda
Fest, OurStoriesMatter and Community FlavorsRI. The organization expects to
reach more than 5,000 people through its activities in 2018.
“We need Black people telling Black Stories and
interpreting our experiences for ourselves and others. We need to know and tell
our stories if we are to survive and thrive. We need stories other than the
violent ones we see on TV and hear in the news,” said Valerie Tutson, executive
Youth In Action in
Providence was awarded $5,000 to support the organization’s CORE and Immersion
programs for disadvantaged teens. The focus is on developing critical thinking
skills and learning strategies for social change, which is followed by projects
that enable students to apply their new knowledge.
“Young people of color, and especially those in
poor communities, are often branded with stereotypes that determine their futures
more so than their actual strengths. Our model engages youth to be full
participants in their communities and agents of social change,” said Pegah
Rahmanian, executive director.
The remaining recipients include the Choir
School of Newport County, which received $7,500 to recruit low-income
children and their support network of parents, guardians, teachers, and social
service providers; and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State of
Cranston, which received $5,000 to support community-based and site-based
mentoring programs for the children it serves.
In addition, the Boys & Girls Club of
Newport County was awarded $5,000 to provide scholarships for at least 10
Black children and youth in Newport County so that they can attend the
organization’s Kids Clubhouse after-school program and the YWCA Rhode Island
in Woonsocket received $6,100 to document the voices, stories and portraits of
10 amazing Rhode Island Black women. The work will be incorporated into the
YWCA’s Girls Circle programming.
The fund is guided by an advisory committee
comprised of Linda Newton, Edward Clifton, Jason Fowler, Brendan Kane and
Beverly Ledbetter. In addition to the grant program, the Black Philanthropy
Bannister Fund also 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 Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and
most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. 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, visit rifoundation.org.