Move over April Fools’, the first day of the month has been officially rebranded 401Gives in the Ocean State, and for good reason. Throughout yesterday, thousands of donors from Rhode Island and beyond came together to raise a total of $2,200,477 for local nonprofits during what’s become the state’s largest single day of giving. The generosity of the community helped the effort far surpass its $1.5 million goal.

In total, the funds raised are the result of 17,808 gifts made to 420 Rhode Island nonprofits in support of their work. Donations can still be made through April 3 at

“Those of us in the nonprofit sector tend to be an optimistic bunch, but I’m not sure anyone anticipated how far beyond our goal we would end up… two-million dollars is really an incredible outpouring of support,” said Cortney Nicolato, United Way’s president and CEO in a statement. “There aren’t enough words to thank everyone who made this possible.”

401Gives made its first-ever appearance in 2020, raising $1.3 million just two weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic that continues today, and which has strained nonprofits as the need for their services grew. It was created by United Way of Rhode Island to lift up the state’s nonprofit community through a unified day driven by the power of philanthropy.

“Nonprofits are vital to the overall health and wellbeing of our communities,” said Michele Lederberg, United Way board chair and interim president and CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island in a statement. “They help to keep our neighbors safe, warm and fed, care for our grandparents, teach our children, shelter our pets, and so much more. To see so many people rally behind them demonstrates the meaning of power in numbers.”

Among the highlights of 401Gives were 184 organizations raising more than $3,000, including 107 that topped $5,000 and 55 that exceeded $10,000. The Alliance of RI Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) paced the day with receiving 369 gifts, while Foster Forward led the way in fundraising with $173,721.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center raised $76,311.85, finishing as the third highest fundraiser during 401Gives.

“It’s hard to believe that this is only the second year of 401Gives! Thanks to the incredible work of United Way of Rhode Island, 401Gives has already become a mainstay of philanthropy in Rhode Island in such a short time,” Heather Hole Strout, Executive Director of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center said in a statement provided to What’s Up Newp.

“401Gives began in April of 2020 – a time when Rhode Islanders affected by the pandemic were first turning to nonprofits for support. This year was no exception: so much increased need remains across the board in Rhode Island, and in Newport County especially. I am thankful for this opportunity to engage existing supporters of the MLK through 401Gives’ exciting prize opportunities & matching grants, and for the opportunity to welcome more Rhode Islanders into the MLK family,” Strout said.” Because of the outpouring of support from Rhode Islanders, the MLK is able to continue providing more generous scholarships to Preschool, After School, and Summer Camp families than we ever have before; to bring our Mobile Food Pantry into neighborhoods throughout Newport County where access to healthy food is needed the most; and continue to provide socially-distant, engaging fitness and social programming to help older adults avoid isolation – among our many other program offerings.”

401Gives is powered by United Way and was supported by some of the state’s leading businesses and organizations, such as Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI, FM Global, Rhode Island Foundation, Hope Global, Centerville Bank, Cox, National Grid, and others. The day was also recognized with a Gubernatorial Proclamation by Governor Daniel J. McKee, marking April 1 in Rhode Island as 401Gives Day.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and 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 -

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 and 401-662-1653.