ri foundation neil steinberg
Neil Steinberg, Rhode Island Foundation

The Rhode Island Foundation today announced that six local nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis are among the organizations that will share $2.4 million in grants from a special fund created by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island, which has now awarded $3.6 million in grants, including the first round of grants made March 27.


“As our state prepares for a coming surge in this crisis, these grants have the potential to save lives,” said United Way of Rhode Island President and CEO Cortney Nicolato in a press release. “I am grateful for every donor for their support, and equally thankful for the resilient nonprofit employees who step up every single day to take care of our families and neighbors.”

Among the organizations that have received funding from the COVID-19 Response Fund are Child & Family in Middletown, the East Bay Community Action Program in Newport, the James L. Maher Center in Middletown, the John Clark Retirement Center in Middletown, Newport Community School and Newport Mental Health. (The full list of awardees and a brief description of what each grant will support is posted here.)

The grant to Child & Family will support approximately 210 households through community-based programs and the Family Care Community Partnership. In addition, more than 500 seniors will receive case management services, many remotely, to ensure they remain healthy and connected in their homes during this crisis.

- Advertisement -

The funding for the John Clark Retirement Center will be used to support the care and treatment of nursing home residents and to ensure the  dietary needs of apartment tenants are met as they shelter in place. The grant will also allow agency to purchase personal protective equipment, incontinence products and to address technology barriers and additional staffing needs.

East Bay Community Action will use its grant to add telehealth services, to support the food pantry and to buy gift cards for food, formula and diapers and medication, among other services.

The Maher Center will use its funding to retain essential staff who are providing the “Day Program To Go”, which provides counseling and other services to clients who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

The grant to the Newport Community School will support the expansion of the food pantry beyond nonperishable products to include personal care and household cleaning items as well as to provide gift cards to local grocery stores to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables and meat to families in need in collaboration with the Newport Public Schools and local adult job training programs.

Newport Mental Health with use its grant to offer telehealth services to clients and to provide emergency protective equipment for clinicians who work face-to-face with community members with the most acute needs. 

“There isn’t anyone in our community who hasn’t been touched by this crisis, and nonprofits are the boots on the ground for all of us. Seeing donors and service providers rise to this unprecedented and growing challenge is inspiring,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation in the release. 

The grants ranged from $10,000 to $75,000. The fund will continue to award grants on a rolling basis. Nonprofit organizations may apply at rifoundation.org/covid19grants

The Foundation and United Way established the COVID-19 Response Fund on March 17 and have combined to raise $5.8 million in contributions. Gifts to the fund, in any amount, can be made with the Foundation at rifoundation.org/covid19response or to United Way at uwri.org. Donations will be accepted as long as the increasing need continues.

Love What’s Up Newp? Help fund our locally owned, independent, award-winning newsroom with a contribution today. Support What’s Up Newp