Rhode Island Foundation Offering Grants to Serve the Black Community

The deadline to apply for the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund is September 8.
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The Rhode Island Foundation is offering grants to organizations that serve the state’s Black community. (Photo by Connie Grosch for the Rhode Island Foundation)

Organizations that serve Rhode Island’s Black Community, and especially those that have significant representation by Black individuals on their staff and board of directors, can apply for more than $100,000 in grants from the Rhode Island Foundation.

The funds are available through the organization’s Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund. Applications for the 2022 grant cycle close on September 8.

“Our aim is to support work that strengthens and empowers this community,” says Angie Ankoma, vice president and executive director of the organization’s Equity Leadership Initiative. “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.”

The fund prioritizes groups that support equity, education, social justice and economic empowerment for the Black community. Last year, fifteen winners received grants of between $5,000 and $10,000 each, including Mixed Magic Theatre in Pawtucket and Rhode Island Slave History Medallions in Newport. The fund is especially geared toward those groups that empower low-income Black Rhode Islanders by offering pathways to financial stability, providing youth development and mentoring opportunities and promoting the history and achievements of Black Rhode Islanders.

In addition to the grants, the organization also offers scholarships for Black students pursuing a career in health care. Scholarship applications may be submitted after January 1, 2023. Information about applying is available here.

The fund was named for Bannister House, a Providence nursing home that served retired African American domestic workers. When the house was sold, the former board contributed the proceeds to the Rhode Island Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative, prompting the renaming in 2016. The fund was originally established in 2007.

Groups interested in applying can learn more at rifoundation.org.



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