The Rhode Island Foundation today announced that it is offering more than $100,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations that serve the state’s Black community, particularly organizations that have significant Black representation among their staff and board of directors. The deadline to apply for funding from the Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund is Sept. 8. 

“Our aim is to support work that strengthens and empowers this community. We’re targeting organizations that focus on the unique needs of Rhode Island’s Black community, including those nonprofits that have a tradition of serving the community,” said Angie Ankoma, who oversees the program at the Foundation in a statement. 

According to The Rhode Island Foundation, the fund gives priority to equity, education, social justice, and economic empowerment of the Black community in three core areas, with a long-term goal of systemic change that improves the lives of Rhode Island’s Black community.  

Grants will support community-based organizations that uplift low-income Black Rhode Islanders through programs that create pathways to financial stability and achievement, provide youth development and mentoring opportunities to urban Black youth and support and promote the history, culture and achievements of Blacks in Rhode Island. 

Last year, 15 organizations received grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, including Mixed Magic Theatre & Cultural Events in Pawtucket to support workforce development opportunities in theater; and Rhode Island Slave History Medallions in Newport to continue its work installing plaques commemorating the role of slavery in Rhode Island’s history. Learn more about last year’s grant recipients at Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund 2021 grant awardees

The request for proposals comes during Black Philanthropy Month. In addition to the grant program, the fund also offers scholarship assistance for Black students who are pursuing or advancing a career in health care at an accredited institution and are Rhode Island residents who demonstrate financial need. Scholarship requests can be submitted after Jan. 1, 2023. 

Over the years, the fund has awarded more than $930,000 in grants and scholarships. Members of the public can support the fund’s work by donating on-line on the Foundation’s website or by contacting Christine Pellegri at  

The Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund is just one of the grant programs the Foundation uses to support nonprofits that serve Rhode Island’s community of color. In addition, the Foundation has launched a broad, 3-year, $8.5 million plan to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and access – with a focus on racial equity – above and beyond its traditional yearly grant-making. Recent initiatives include creating a capacity-building program to support nonprofits led by Asian, Black, Latino or Hispanic, Indigenous or multi-racial executive directors or other decision-makers within an organization; and launching a grant program to help nonprofits create anti-racist organizational cultures. 

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 $98 million and awarded $76 million in grants in 2021. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information about applying for a grant from the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund, visit

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.