The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island (WFRI) announced on Tuesday a total of $50,000 in grant funding to six organizations for their innovative proposals to advance gender equity and help level the playing field for women and girls in Rhode Island.  

The grant recipients and awarded programs are:  

  • Blackstone Valley Prep– Funding will be provided to host a one month long summer camp in 2019 to cultivate civic engagement and leadership for 8-11th grade girls. The camp will be accompanied by a full year after school component that will help scholars put what they’ve learned into practice. All documents will be translated into Spanish & Portuguese to ensure recruitment is diverse. Activities will include meetings with female elected officials & allies to learn about running for office, how laws are passed and about their personal experiences in office. They will also meet with organizations to learn about policy making through a gender lens and research policies that affect women and families. Ongoing civic engagement is a goal of the program.
  • Center for Women and Enterprise – ‘Community Classrooms: Spanish Language Entrepreneurship Training’ will provide thirty-six hours of community classroom training and follow-up sessions for up to three years. The program targets 25 women who plan to start a business.  Within one year, 15 businesses, 22 new jobs, and $583,000 in wages are expected to be generated.
  • Planned Parenthood– Funding will support the work of the RI Coalition for Reproductive Freedom and broaden its efforts by engaging 50+ volunteers in phone banking, canvassing and meetings with legislators, including youth activists. The Coalition will strengthen volunteer leadership in faith communities, including hosting a briefing  and trainings designed to support Catholic legislators for reproductive freedom.
  • Sojourner House– Will provide programming to all 10th grade health classes in Providence Public Schools, so that all students can learn about the root causes of abuse and harassment, engage in healthy behaviors and prevent abuse from happening in the future. The training will be augmented with student led awareness activities that will help promote anti-abuse/anti-violence efforts in each school. The training provided is culturally competent and will be available in English and Spanish.
  • Women’s Refugee Care– Women and adolescent girls in displaced settings struggle with unwanted, unplanned and poorly spaced pregnancies due to lack of access to counseling, contraceptives and education, threatening their lives and the long term well-being of their families. This program includes a train-the-trainer session with community liaisons/interpreters. Several two hour group workshops will be held to teach participants about birth spacing, preconception initiation of folic acid, early prenatal care and different contraceptive methods for family planning.
  • Young Voices – #RaiseOurVoices has supported low-income girls of color to lead an effort to address the root causes of educational disparities facing their peers in Providence Schools. Funded by WFRI in Year One, the girls learned how to analyze research on what could be done to improve graduation rates, culminating in the creation of a policy brief and meeting with legislators. In Year Two, the girls will work to ensure that the policy recommendations are enacted, working with policymakers to influence change. They will also create an app to ensure students know their rights in the Schools Code of Conduct.

“The process was very competitive.  34 non-profit organizations submitted proposals for a combined request of $269,000 in funding. ” said WFRI Executive Director Kelly Nevins in a press release.  “Each proposal was subject to a rigorous review by a team of community volunteers with training in gender-lens giving. These programs clearly rose to the top.”

The WFRI uses social change grantmaking to advance gender equity and social justice, focus on systemic solutions and address the unique needs of women and girls.  Since its launch in 2001, the WFRI Grant Program has awarded more than $650,000 to organizations and programs in Rhode Island that empower women and girls. This year’s grants were made possible through the generosity of donors of the WFRI.

For this grant cycle, perspective grantees were asked to focus their proposals on addressing one or more of WFRI’s 2018 advocacy priorities, including women’s leadership, access to reproductive health and freedom, economic self-sufficiency and freedom from sexual harassment.

The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is a non-profit organization located in Providence, Rhode Island.  The mission of the WFRI is to invest in women and girls in our community through research, advocacy, grant making and strategic partnerships designed to advance gender equity through systemic change.  For more information, visit

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