Gov McKee, RI Foundation Announce $150,000 in Grants to Nonprofits as Part of Initiative to Encourage Vaccines

Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Foundation announced today that they will award another $150,000 in grants to nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to COVID-19 as part of the RI Gives Vax Challenge.
With this third round of grants, more than 15,000 people have now gotten their first dose of the vaccine since the program was launched on July 6. Nearly 80 percent of adult Rhode Islanders are now at least partially vaccinated.
“It takes a team to get the job done, and Rhode Island is lucky to have so many nonprofits stepping up to keep us safe, support vaccination efforts and help those in need,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Over the last few weeks, we continue to see increases in demand for vaccinations – that’s great news for our collective public health and great news for our nonprofits in the RI Gives Vax Challenge. We know that vaccines are our best tool to keep our communities healthy. If you haven’t yet, get your shot.”
The Vax Challenge encourages Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by awarding grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery every time another 5,000 people get vaccinated. As a result of reaching the 15,000-vaccination mark, 15 more nonprofits from across Rhode Island will receive $10,000 grants.
“It is inspiring to see Rhode Islanders stepping up to help organizations that are delivering food, housing and health care to those most affected by the pandemic. But make no mistake, more resources will be necessary. The need is not going away,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
The recipients of this third round of grants are: Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, RI Center for Justice, Oasis International, Higher Ground International, Project Undercover, Housing Network, Conexion Latina, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Newport Community School, East Bay Food Pantry, DaVinci Center for Community Progress, American Red Cross – RI Chapter, Better Lives Rhode Island and Man Up.
An additional two rounds of grants totaling $380,000 could be awarded each time Rhode Island administers an additional 5,000 first COVID-19 vaccine doses as reported by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
For the next 5,000 new vaccinations, $180,000 will be awarded to 18 nonprofits; $200,000 will be distributed to 20 nonprofits in the fifth and final round when an additional 5,000 people are vaccinated.
Jointly established by Governor McKee, Commerce Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Health, and the Foundation, the RI Gives Vax Challenge has now awarded $370,000 in grants to 37 nonprofits through the first three rounds. The Elisha Project was one of the recipients in the first round of funding.
“This kind of public/private partnership is what is needed in today’s world. The challenges that we face must be met with a strategic and collaborative effort … this is that,” said George Ortiz, Executive Director of the Elisha Project.
To learn more about vaccinations and to sign up today, visit

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