The organizations competed with more than 100 nonprofits statewide for the funding.
“Our grants will create places to gather, make friendships and launch new collaborations that will build community connections everywhere,” said Jessica David, executive vice president of strategy and community investments.
The Gamm Theatre Grant
The Gamm Theatre will use its grant to launch “Community Stage.” The initiative is designed to engage the public in a shared experience through music, poetry, improv and conversation. The events, free and open to the public, will take place one evening a month, featuring a variety of art forms and will encourage community dialogue in an open-mic format.
“Community Stage is an opportunity for us to share our space and provide a gathering place for residents to use their own creative tools to make connections, build relationships and for all of us to get to know at a deeper level the individuals and organizations that make our neighborhoods thrive,” said Tony Estrella, artistic director.
The Gamm will partner with local organizations, beginning with Whethersfield Commons, the Warwick Symphony Orchestra and Mentor Rhode Island. The events, which will begin in the fall, will be hosted by local theater artist David Rabinow.
“The evenings will highlight local stories and are sure to spark creativity and conversation, engaging the community and enhancing the interconnectedness of cultural life in Warwick,” said Estrella.
The PLAN RI Grant
Personal Lifetime Advocacy Networks of RI (PLAN RI) will use its grant to support its “Community Building through Diversity” program, which will serve families that include a child with a disability.
“Along with their son or daughter with a disability and the facilitator provided by the grant, the family leaders will receive monthly coaching. By planning and problem solving with a group of friends, neighbors and community leaders, participants bond and develop trust over the year they spend bringing their projects to completion,” said John Susa, president of PLAN RI.
Three families will be selected to receive $1,500 in seed funds to choose and carry out a project to address an unmet need in their area. The people selected will be supported by West Bay RI, a Warwick nonprofit that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“By highlighting the gifts and contributions of program participants who receive day or residential supports from West Bay RI, we hope to bring them greater inclusion and authentic friendships,” said Susa.
The Community Grants Program
Statewide, 45 organizations received funding through the Community Grants program. The maximum grant was $10,000. Most of the work is expected to be underway before the end of the year.
“We’re excited about these ideas for making community happen in more and better ways at the local level. Supporting community-building will improve shared places and quality of life, promote collaboration and increase community engagement,” said the Foundation’s David.
The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $114 million and awarded $52 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2018. 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.