Rhode Island: $380,000 Vax Challenge grants

Governor McKee, Rhode Island Foundation announce the final $380,000 in RI Gives Vax Challenge grants as state hits 25,000 new vaccination milestone

Providence, RI (STL.News) Nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis have been awarded another $380,000 in grants in the final phases of the RI Gives Vax Challenge.  The funding was triggered as a result of to the 25,000+ Rhode Islanders who got vaccinated since the program was launched in July.  More than 81 percent of adult Rhode Islanders are now at least partially vaccinated.

“Right now we know that every shot counts, especially when it comes to protecting ourselves against the Delta variant and getting students safely back in the classroom,” said Governor Dan McKee.  “Thank you to all Rhode Islanders who have stepped up to get vaccinated and supported our local nonprofits through the RI Gives Vax Challenge.  This is a powerful example of the community coming together keep each other healthy.  If you have not gotten vaccinated yet, it is time.”

The RI Gives Vax Challenge encouraged Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by awarding grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery every time another 5,000 people were vaccinated.  As a result of hitting the 20,000- and 25,000-vaccination milestones, another 38 nonprofits from across Rhode Island received $10,000 grants in the final phases of the initiative.

“This is just one more example of the remarkable way Rhode Islanders have pitched in over the past 17 months.  The funding will enable nonprofits to continue to provide food, housing and health care to people who still are struggling with the impact of the pandemic,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.

With the final rounds of grants, the Foundation has awarded $750,000 to 75 organizations in partnership with Governor McKee, the Rhode Island Commerce Department and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

“Getting vaccinated is how to help keep yourself and your family members safe from COVID-19, and it’s also a way to support the critical network of organizations that have been supporting Rhode Islanders throughout this pandemic,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health.  “The RI Gives Vax Challenge is an important part of our efforts to boost Rhode Island’s COVID-19 vaccination rates, and to bolster the vital work of these community focused organizations throughout the state.”

The Boys & Girls Club of East Providence is one of the nonprofits that received a grant in the latest rounds of funding. Throughout the pandemic, the organization has distributed food to children and their families, and has provided free virtual and in-person tutoring, childcare, distance learning support, and both virtual and in-person social and emotional development programs.

“COVID-19 had a profound impact on the youth and families that we serve.  In the early days of the crisis, our members were displaced from school, faced food insecurity due to parental job loss and struggled with the mental health issues resulting from isolation,” said Executive Director Erin Gilliatt.  “Even as the recovery begins, they are continuing to process the trauma of the pandemic while working to get caught up academically and in their emotional development.”

The RI Gives Vax challenge supports public health initiatives, bolstering the steadfast work of Rhode Island non-profits, and securing stable footing as the State moves into the next phase of pandemic recovery and response.

“In our economic recovery, Rhode Island leads the region; however, in order to maintain that economic momentum, we need to continue our vaccination efforts,” said Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor.  “Combined with other initiatives, this program gives a boost to our vaccination efforts.  It also supports non-profit organizations that are helping our state emerge from the COVID crisis.  We thank Governor McKee and the Rhode Island Foundation for this important partnership.”

The other recipients of the Round 4 and Round 5 grants are:

ROUND 4

Amenity Aid Throughout the pandemic, Amenity Aid has supplied toothpaste, soap, shampoo and other basic personal hygiene items to shelters, community centers, food pantries and other organizations that people in need.

Capital City Community Centers Throughout the pandemic, Capital City Community Centers has provided operated a food pantry, including basic toiletries and household items;  an early childhood program and a senior center.

Central Falls Family Self Sufficiency Foundation Throughout the pandemic, the Central Falls Family Self Sufficiency Foundation has spread awareness about vaccinations and provided vaccine clinics for residents of Central Falls and surrounding communities, helping vaccinate more than 5,100 Central Falls residents.

Clothes to Kids RI Throughout the pandemic, Clothes to Kids RI has provided new and used clothing to approximately 2,500 school-age children in Providence County.

Esperanza/Hope Throughout the pandemic, Esperanza/Hope has made home deliveries of groceries and essential items to hundreds of people in need and has provided support to hundreds of people of color who are at risk of losing their housing.

Foster Forward Throughout the pandemic, Foster Forward has offered direct assistance stipends for foster families and young adults who have aged out of foster care, has run a center for youth experiencing homelessness, has supplied food and basic human needs, has provided employment support and has coordinated rapid re-housing services for people who lost their housing.

Hope’s Harvest RI Throughout the pandemic, Hope’s Harvest collected surplus produce from local farms for distribution to hunger relief agencies that provide emergency food to tens of thousands of individuals statewide every month.

Interfaith Counseling Center Throughout the pandemic, the Interfaith Counseling Center has provided counseling services to people who were hard hit by the pandemic.

Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale Throughout the pandemic, the Jonnycake Center has distributed food, provided masks and hand sanitizer, assisted with applications for state and federal support, and offered distance learning assistance among other services.

Lucy’s Hearth Throughout the pandemic, Lucy’s Hearth has provided a range of programs to help clients gain independent living and self-sufficiency skills such as financial literacy, parenting, stress management and employment readiness, and has connected clients to community supports for mental health and substance use issues among other challenges.

McAuley Ministries Throughout the pandemic, McAuley Ministries has provided food, has offered programs to address employment, mental health, education and childcare needs for families without housing;  and has run a thrift store in Central Falls.

New Beginnings Throughout the pandemic, New Beginnings has provided food, supplies, toys and school supplies, and information about how to get vaccinated.

Operation Stand Down Throughout the pandemic, Operation Stand Down has provided financial assistance with housing and utilities, employment and training services, housing, legal assistance and food and clothing to nearly 2,500 veterans in need.

Progreso Latino Throughout the pandemic, Progreso Latino has offered residents of Central Falls and the Blackstone Valley a variety of bilingual programs, including early and adult education, workforce development, immigration and social services, and emergency food and rental assistance among other services.

Providence Rescue Mission Throughout the pandemic, Providence Rescue Mission has provided on-site meals, food boxes, clothing and housing, serving more than 3,500 households a week.

Rhode Island for Community & Justice Throughout the pandemic, Rhode Island for Community & Justice has run youth empowerment programs, including workforce development, a summer leadership institute, a mentoring program targeting people of color, and an afterschool enrichment program.

We Share Hope Throughout the pandemic, We Share Hope has provided access to food through home deliveries and a food pantry to people in need.

ROUND 5

Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education Throughout the pandemic, the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education has helped raise and distribute nearly $150,000 to communities of color for rental assistance, tuition support, utility payments and food.  It also has translated information related to the pandemic into Southeast Asian languages.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County Throughout the pandemic, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County has provided child care, teen programing, virtual programing and behavioral health support.  It also has collaborated with other organizations to provide meals and other basic necessities to families in need.

Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket Throughout the pandemic, the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket has offered basic necessities, food, grocery gift cards and activity kits to families in need.  It also has provided students with programs and meals to help with distance learning.

Bridgemark Throughout the pandemic, Bridgemark has provided inpatient and outpatient education, intervention and treatment to those who need it most due to social isolation, unemployment and substance use disorder.

CartwheelRI Throughout the pandemic, CartwheelRI has delivered food to home-bound residents of Central Falls, Cranston, Pawtucket and Providence.

Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina Throughout the pandemic, Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina has offered culturally appropriate behavioral health services to the Latinx communities.

Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic Throughout the pandemic, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic has offered COVID-19 testing, telehealth visits and information about COVID-19 testing and vaccines;  has administered more than 12,500 vaccines and has offered general, drop-in blood pressure checks, glucose screenings and other health screenings and education activities.

Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center Throughout the pandemic, the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center has provided counseling and clinical therapy;  has advocated and assisted victims with protective orders and safety planning;  and has found affordable housing for victims of abuse and sexual assault.

Good Neighbors Throughout the pandemic, Good Neighbors delivered 130 hot meals per week to residents of East Providence with disabilities or who are older adults.  It has expanded its pantry offerings to include toiletries and has expanded its summer program to include a wider range of programming while children are out of school.

Housing Hotline Throughout the pandemic, the Housing Hotline has helped people with food, clothing, toys, and rent and utility payments.

Inspiring Minds Throughout the pandemic, Inspiring Minds has provided students with programming, tutoring and mentoring.

Mentor Rhode Island Throughout the pandemic, Mentor Rhode Island has convened trainings and workshops on topics related to mentoring youth and has coordinated a wide range of support for youth in need.

Open Doors Throughout the pandemic, Open Doors has provided employment, housing, financial resources and documentation assistance to people coming out of prison or living in shelters or on the street in communities with high rates of COVID infection.

New Urban Arts Throughout the pandemic, New Urban Arts has provided high school students in Providence with after-school and out-of-school programs, including mentorship in the arts, youth leadership, post-secondary advising and long-term internship placements.

Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust Throughout the pandemic, the Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust has provided Indigenous communities with food, has partnered with farmers of color to obtain free boxes of locally produced organic fruits and vegetables, has promoted COVID-19 awareness and education, and has provided transportation to health clinics for testing and vaccinations.

Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need Throughout the pandemic, the Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need has provided more than 15,000 Washington County residents with financial assistance and has distributed cleaning and hand sanitizer supplies.

Silver Lake Community Center Throughout the pandemic, the Silver Lake Community Center has provided rental and utility assistance, food, clothing, daycare, after-school programing and out-of-school tutoring to hundreds of local residents.

St. Martin de Porres Senior Center Throughout the pandemic, the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center has served more than 300 people a week by expanding its food pantry, making food deliveries to home-bound residents and providing clothing and household items.

West End Community Center Throughout the pandemic, the West End Community Center has maintained a food pantry, delivered food to home-bound older adults and households under quarantine, and distributed basic human need items and cleaning supplies.

West Warwick Senior Center Throughout the pandemic, the West Warwick Senior Center has provided meals and bags of food daily to needy older adults and has registered more than 5,200 older adults for vaccinations.