Blackstone Valley nonprofits win grants to help residents cope with continuing effects of COVID-19 crisis


Even as vaccinations become increasingly available, RI’ers continue to struggle with the impact of the pandemic


The Rhode Island Foundation today announced three Blackstone Valley nonprofits are among the organizations that will share nearly $450,000 in grants to help RI’ers cope with the continuing effects of the COVID-19 crisis. With these latest grants, the Foundation has awarded more than $21 million in pandemic relief since March 2020.


“Even when the state began gradually re-opening as more and more Rhode Islanders answered the call to get vaccinated, we went on raising money and making grants to benefit Rhode Islanders hit hard by the crisis,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We will continue working with engaged and generous donors across Rhode Island and determined nonprofits partners as our state moves from crisis relief to long-term recovery.”


Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corporation, RiverzEdge Arts in Woonsocket and the Samaritans of Rhode Island in Pawtucket are among the organizations receiving grants.


The Samaritans received $20,000 to improve the responsiveness of its digital suicide prevention services, targeting cell phoner users, persons with disabilities, teenagers and non-English speakers.


“It’s time to create a more responsive platform to accommodate newer, COVID-needed experiences, especially for mobile users, which are the largest percentage of our visitors,” said Denise Panichas, executive director.


The work will include improving user experience across multiple devices, including mobile, laptops, desktops and tablets; and updating the content management system, graphics, photography, functionality, navigation tools, usability, loading times, browser compatibility and security.


“There has been a surge in contact with people who are coping with the pressures of the COVID-19 experience,” said Panichas. “They are driven to reach out by the hopelessness associated with the financial, health and social ramifications of the ongoing pandemic. This grant ensures we have tools we need to respond to all calls for help no matter how they reach out to us."


Also receiving grants are the Parent Support Network of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts, The Providence Center, Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina, Rhode Island Rescue Ministries, Oasis International, Beautiful Day, Be the Change, Cambodian Society of Rhode Island, College Visions, The Herren Project, Hope & Main, Justice Assistance, Be Great For Nate, John Hope Settlement House, New Bridges for Haitian Success, Project Weber/RENEW, Southside Community Land Trust, Saint Rose's Church Corporation, The Village Common, The San Miguel School, Stages of Freedom, Sophia Academy and South County Habitat for Humanity.


With this round of funding, Foundation has awarded more than $7.5 million in grants to more than 150 nonprofit organizations since launching its COVID-19 Response Fund last year.


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 $68 million and awarded a record $87 million in grants in 2020. Since its centennial five years ago, the Foundation has awarded more than $284 million in grants and has raised more than $328 million. 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, visit