Newport County Community Mental Health Center

The Newport County Community Mental Health Center was one of five nonprofit organizations to receive 2016 Best Practice Awards from the Rhode Island Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI (BCBSRI). The awards recognize work that can become models for nonprofits statewide.

“These recipients emerged from a highly competitive process and an impressive group of nominees. There is something in each of their remarkable achievements that can help any nonprofit become even more effective,” said Jill Pfitzenmayer, vice president of the Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence (INE).

Sponsored by BCBSRI, the Best Practice Awards program recognizes outstanding work by Rhode Island nonprofit organizations in the areas of collaboration, communication, innovation, leadership and volunteer engagement.

“As a nonprofit organization ourselves, with deep roots and an exclusive focus on Rhode Island communities, the Best Practice Awards have special meaning for Blue Cross,” said Peter Andruszkiewicz, president and CEO of BCBSRI. “These awards are a great example of what it means to work as a team. By working together and learning from each other, we can make incredible positive change in the lives of every Rhode Islander.”

The Newport County Community Mental Health Center (NCCMHC) of Middletown received the Leadership Award. Through an intensive strategic planning process that involved both its Board of Directors and its executive management team, NCCMHC created a strategic business plan that addresses enhancing and diversifying clinical services; partnerships and collaboration; expanding and sustaining revenue; workforce development; and branding, marketing, outreach and communication.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said James Lehane, President and CEO.  “Our board members and leadership staff have worked very hard this year to expand and improve our services in a way that promotes excellence and immediate access to care.  We are honored and humbled to receive this award.”

The other award recipients are Sojourner House of Providence, Partnership for Providence Parks, GrowSmart RI of Providence and House of Hope Community Development Corporation. Each recipient will receive a $1,000 grant, a promotional video highlighting their work and tuition waivers to any INE professional development workshop or seminar in the next 12 months.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit and follow it on Twitter @BCBSRI.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.   In 2015, the Foundation awarded $41.5 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, visit