Newport-based Rhode Island Slave History Medallions is among nonprofits across the state that will share $105,000 in grants from the Rhode Island Foundation through its Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund.

Created in 2007, the fund supports the needs of the state’s Black community.

Rhode Island Slave History Medallions will receive $10,000 to expand its Marking the Landscape Statewide program. The organization is working on installing plaques commemorating the role of slavery in Rhode Island’s history.  

In 2022, markers will be mounted at the former William Ellery Channing House in Newport’s Historic Hill, Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, Casey Farm in Saunderstown, and the Saylesville Quaker Meeting House in Lincoln.

“Our medallions tell the rarely heard stories of enslaved people and shed light on the historic role they played in our state’s economic and cultural development. Each marker carries QR code technology that when scanned connects viewers to a documented history of that site, directly from our digital archive. We work in partnership with community sites to mount the bronze medallion and present multicultural, educational programs that acknowledge and celebrate this history and inspire racial healing today.” said Charles Roberts, RISHM founder and executive director.

The fund 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.

“We’re grateful for the donors, community advisors and nonprofit partners that join us in addressing the underlying causes of inequity. As COVID-19 has underscored, it is clearer than ever that we must work together to eliminate disparities and close achievement gaps in order to promote a better future for all Rhode Islanders,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO.

The other recipients include College Visions, which received $5,000 for its Increasing College Access Opportunities for Males of Color Program; the Mt. Hope Learning Center, which received $5,000 to provide educational supports and enrichments; and Rhode Island Black Storytellers, which received $10,000 to support its Black Stories: FUNDA Fest and a Black tennis history program that will be offered in partnership with the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.

The fund also offers scholarships for Black students who are pursuing or advancing a career in health care in college or a technical school. Last year, the fund awarded $55,300 to 24 recipients. The deadline to apply for 2022 scholarship assistance is April 18.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He 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 and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

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