Nonprofit organizations serving Newport County residents will share $290,000 in grants through the Rhode Island Foundation’s Newport County Fund (NCF). The funding will support a host of activities ranging from emergency housing and distance learning to food pantries and job training.
“In a year marked by the impact of COVID-19 on everyday life, we’re fortunate to have the resources to support organizations that are on the frontlines of the pandemic in Newport County,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We are grateful for the donors who make it possible for us to support organizations that are well-positioned to respond every day to community needs, and particularly in this uniquely challenging time.”
Child & Family, Lucy’s Hearth, Meals on Wheels and the James L. Maher Center are among the 42 organizations that will share the funding.
Child & Family in Middletown received $10,000 to supplement its Supportive Housing Program and respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiative provides safe, affordable housing to families that are experiencing homelessness.
“We recognize the impact of COVID on our vulnerable families. The funds have enabled our Supportive Housing program to pay for moving expenses, rent and security deposit, which helped families secure access to permanent housing,” said Marty Sinnott, president and CEO. “With the support of this grant, Child & Family will continue to help lift homeless families out of poverty and guide them on a path to independence, including the attainment of permanent housing.”
Child & Family also used a portion of the grant to stock its food pantry and to provide vouchers that could be used at participating grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies.
“The vouchers have helped families whose employment may have been interrupted by the pandemic to secure food and cleaning supplies,” said Sinnott. “Every dollar awarded enables us to broaden our capacity to meet the needs of the families we serve.”
In addition to Child & Family, the James L. Maher Center, Lucy’s Hearth and Meals on Wheels also were among the 42 organizations that received grants.
Meals on Wheels received $5,000 to support its work providing more than 24,000 home-delivered meals to Newport County seniors and other homebound adults.
“Our goal is to enable Newport County seniors and adults living with disabilities to live independently in their homes for as long as possible by offering daily nutrition and safety checks. We know that providing daily home-delivered meals is a fraction of the cost of paying for a senior to live in an assisted-living facility,” said Meghan Grady, executive director.
According to Meals on Wheels, the average monthly cost for a nursing home resident is $9,961 and $5,199 for one-bedroom assisted living apartment while the monthly cost per person of home-delivered meals by the organization is $155.
“The outcomes include reduced hunger and isolation and improved health, safety, and peace of mind for clients, families and their communities,” said Grady.
Lucy’s Hearth in Middletown received $10,000 to provide social services to homeless families participating in its emergency shelter and transitional living programs. The organization expects to serve about 175 people, including about 100 children.
“These services are critical for people who are healing from the victimization and trauma inherent with homelessness. Our residents often have multiple and severe impediments to self-sufficiency. This is the lifeblood of all the work we do,” said Kelly Lee, executive director.
Residential counselors will provide the services, which include case management, meals, financial literacy, homework assistance, parenting classes, job search assistance and stress management.
“In Newport County, families teeter on the edge of housing affordability and availability, making them more vulnerable to homelessness. Our counselors will support the security of residents and maintain a safe and secure environment during overnight hours,” she said.
The James L. Maher Center in Middletown received $10,000 to support a job training program that can accommodate up to 75 clients with developmental disabilities. The grant will enable the Maher Center to pivot to a fully or partially virtual program as necessitated by the fluctuating requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Employment brings structure, social interaction and a sense of achievement into all of our lives,” said Lynne Maher, executive director. “Unfortunately, the public health and economic ramifications of the pandemic have reduced employment opportunities for the people we serve. We’re using this time to develop training programs that will prepare our Maher Center participants for employment when circumstances change – while giving them as much of the experiential value of work as we can.”
“A core component of our program will be virtual job exploration and training through videos, interactive skill labs, and real-time ‘virtual visits’ and Q & As with people in various professions,” she continued. “Now we will have enough iPads and laptops to ensure that no one will be excluded because they lack the technology needed to participate.”
The NCF awards grants of up $10,000 to strengthen or expand established programs, to support policy or advocacy efforts on behalf of community concerns, to fund new projects that focus on significant problems or opportunities, and to leverage strategic collaborations and partnerships. In making the funding decisions, the Foundation worked with an advisory committee comprised of residents from every community in Newport County.
Established in 2002, the NCF has awarded more than $4.6 million in grants for programs and services for residents of Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth and Tiverton. It is one of the grant programs that enable the Foundation to serve Newport County communities.
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 $47 million and awarded $56 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2019. 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 rifoundation.org