PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Foundation is launching a $20 million grant program aimed at helping Rhode Islanders with housing, hunger and behavioral health in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The investment will be the nonprofit’s largest-single grant program in its 106-year history, according to President and CEO Neil Steinberg.

“It’s probably the most exciting and most needed thing we will do all year here at the Rhode Island Foundation,” Steinberg said.

The grant program was created for and included in Gov. Dan McKee’s FY 2023 budget using funding from the state’s $1.1 billion share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation.

“Supporting local nonprofits that are working on housing, homelessness, hunger and behavioral health is crucial to maintaining Rhode Island’s momentum,” McKee said. “These grant dollars will serve nonprofits that are in our communities across the state and are doing crucial work each and every day.”

The grants will likely range from $50,000 to $150,000. The Rhode Island Foundation will be accepting applications from local nonprofits on a rolling basis until the money is gone.

“The state’s nonprofits are a lifeline for Rhode Islanders most in need,” R.I. House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi said. “This federal funding gives these organizations the resources to provide the crucial assistance necessary to keep people housed and healthy as they bounce back from the pandemic.”

The funding will be given to nonprofit organizations that experienced negative economic impacts as a result of the pandemic and work to address food insecurity, housing instability and behavioral health across the state.

“Organizations that are located or working with those hardest hit in the communities,” Steinberg said. “We know our communities of color were hard hit. We know that our elderly populations were hard hit.”

The Rhode Island Foundation has additional eligibility criteria for applicants:

  • Applications will be accepted through Feb. 15, or until all of the funds are expended.
  • Applicants must be a Rhode Island-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or have a fiscal sponsor/agent.
  • Applicants must attest they were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Nonprofits can only receive one grant through this program.