RI Foundation matching grants to help Food Bank, Trinity Rep during coronavirus crisis

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Foundation (RIF) has announced it will match every donation the public makes to the Trinity Repertory Company from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve with an equal grant to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, up to a total of $60,000.

RIF says this replaces fundraising for the Food Bank that Trinity Rep does every year during their live performances of “A Christmas Carol.”

“The impact of COVID-19 is being felt everywhere. The state’s food pantries and meal sites are faced with an immense increase in need from hungry Rhode Islanders,” RIF President and CEO Neil Steinberg said. “Arts organizations that depend on ticket sales are struggling to cope with the loss of live performances. Our matching grants will enable people to double the impact of their donations to Trinity Rep.”

Since 2006, the actor playing Ebenezer Scrooge asks the audience at the end of every performance to make a donation to the Food Bank.

Last year, according to RIF, the audience donated more than $60,000 which brought the total to over $667,500 since the tradition began 15 years ago.

“We’re so grateful that Trinity Rep and the Food Bank are able to continue their annual Christmas Carol fundraising campaign thanks to the Rhode Island Foundation,” Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff said. “Now more than ever, support to both organizations is critical as we weather the storm through COVID-19 together.”

Trinity Rep said the coronavirus pandemic will not cancel their 43-year long holiday tradition of performing “A Christmas Carol,” despite it canceling over 100 other performances, classes, and events at the company.

Instead of the normal in-person production, the company said they will release a free online version of A Christmas Carol. They also were aware of how the loss of those contributions could impact the Food Bank.

“At its heart, A Christmas Carol is a story of community, love, hope, acceptance, and redemption,” Trinity Rep Executive Director Tom Parrish said. “We are so pleased that this valued and popular holiday tradition will continue, through its free digital form, to inspire generosity and support for both the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and Trinity Rep thanks to this unique partnership and matching opportunity with the Rhode Island Foundation.”

Trinity Rep’s free, on-demand production of “A Christmas Carol Online” will stream from Dec. 17 through Jan. 10. Access to the video is free, but registration is required online.

Donations can be made during the registration process, or while watching the video. Any donations made between Thanksgiving and New Year’s will count toward the RIF’s matching grant campaign

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