Photo Credit: Newport Middle Passage Project

The effort to erect a monument in Newport’s Liberty Square to commemorate the lives of Africans who were brought there as part of the Atlantic slave trade and to shine a light on the role the city played has won a $5,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. With the latest grant, the Newport Middle Passage Port Marker Project has received $20,000 from the Foundation in the past year.

“The ultimate goal is to celebrate African-American culture. Many of our black youth are struggling. We feel that when the African-American youth in our city view this monument, they will experience pride, self-worth and a desire to work toward self-sufficiency,” said Victoria Johnson, who chairs the initiative’s board of directors in a prepared statement.

The grant is one of more than dozen awarded by the Foundation statewide through its Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund. The program supports nonprofits that offer youth development and mentoring, 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 Islanders.

“Providing the Black 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 grant programs officer at the Foundation who oversees the program in a prepared statement.

In addition to the grants, the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund awarded more than $47,000 in scholarships to Black students.

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.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.