Rhode Island Foundation Honors Nonprofits with Best Practice Awards

The Rhode Island Foundation has recognized three outstanding nonprofit organizations with its annual Best Practice Awards, celebrating their innovative initiatives and commitment to community service. The awards, sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, acknowledge exceptional practices in Collaboration, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and Innovative Programming and Service Delivery.

David N. Cicilline, the Foundation’s President and CEO, commended the recipients, stating, “These organizations emerged from a highly competitive process and an impressive group of nominees. There is something valuable in each of their remarkable examples that can help every nonprofit achieve more.”

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, a steadfast supporter of the award program since its inception in 2012, expressed pride in the continued success of the initiative. Carolyn Belisle, BCBSRI Managing Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, said, “The Best Practice Award-winning organizations exemplify everything we value in our state’s nonprofit sector, as they continue to create opportunities for a healthy, vibrant, equitable RI for all.”

Each of the three recipients will receive a $5,000 grant in recognition of their achievements.

Amenity Aid, Warwick – Innovative Programming and Service Delivery Award: Amenity Aid, based in Warwick, was honored with the Innovative Programming and Service Delivery Award for its groundbreaking initiative to distribute personal hygiene products to households in need. The organization is the first of its kind in Rhode Island, providing essentials like soap, period products, deodorant, and toothpaste through a statewide network of direct service agencies. Liz Duggan, founder and executive director, outlined the organization’s ambitious goal for 2024 to assist 110,000 Rhode Islanders across diverse populations, including those who are homeless, low-income, veterans, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQIA+ youth, and victims of violence or abuse.

Community MusicWorks, Providence – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award: Community MusicWorks in Providence received the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award for its outstanding commitment to establishing and maintaining diversity and equity while fostering an inclusive culture. The organization is actively implementing a strategy to become fully inclusive and antiracist, including regular staff meetings, seminars for staff and board members, and the establishment of a racial equity task force. Sebastian Ruth, Executive Director of Community MusicWorks, emphasized the deep, internal shifts among staff and board members to prioritize work to dismantle racist structures, resulting in lasting impact.

Rhode Island Nursing Education Center, Providence – Collaboration Award: The Collaboration Award went to the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in Providence for its collaborative effort with Providence Public Schools and the Community College of Rhode Island. In the summer of 2023, the organizations launched a high school cohort Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course to address a compelling problem affecting an underserved community. The Nursing Education Center set up a dedicated CNA training lab, Providence Public Schools recruited students, and CCRI provided instruction. The program allows students to complete CNA classes and clinicals in a shortened period, with the opportunity to register for the credentialing exam at the end of the course. Bonnie Rayta, Director of the Nursing Education Center, highlighted the critical support for students from diverse backgrounds and the success achieved by giving them a chance and an opportunity.

These awards showcase the impactful and innovative work of nonprofits in Rhode Island, furthering the Foundation’s commitment to fostering positive change in the community.




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