Community Investments

COVID-19 Response

Thanks to the thousands of donors who’ve entrusted resources to the Rhode Island Foundation over the last century, we've been well prepared to step-up and step-in as the COVID-19 crisis has impacted our state.

COVID-19 Response and Relief

Through the generosity of so many, four COVID-related funds at the Foundation—COVID-19 Response Fund, weR1 Rhode Island Fund, Rhode Island Fund for Public Education Virtual Learning Challenge, and COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund— have received more than $15 million from approximately 1,400 donors. The Foundation also partnered with the State of Rhode Island to administer approximately $10 million in CARES Act funding, making grants to well over 100 local nonprofit organizations. That means we’ve stewarded more than $27 million in COVID-19 response related funds since the onset of the pandemic.


In response to the need for social distancing, our team has produced virtual capacity building workshops to aid the nonprofit community and share best practices.

Nonprofit workshops


Creative partnerships are making a difference for Rhode Islanders - including students - as we continue our efforts to alleviate disparities magnified by the pandemic.

Here's one example
An activity at Thrive Behavioral Health

COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund

The COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund was established at the Rhode Island Foundation in April 2020 by the state Office of the Health Commissioner (OHIC) with more than $5 million in funding from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, Tufts Health Plan, and UnitedHealthCare. Since that time, more than $5.3 million in grants has been awarded to help Rhode Islanders cope with the behavioral health challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. The programs range from offering counseling to survivors of domestic violence to helping children cope with the pandemic via telehealth services.

Giving Changes Everything

A special edition of the Foundation's magazine, “Giving Changes Everything,” focuses on the power of local philanthropy amidst a pandemic.

Giving Changes Everything, a special COVID-19 response edition

A man carries groceries.

weR1 Rhode Island Fund

With government and community partners, including Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, we launched the weR1 Rhode Island Fund in June 2020, aimed at providing direct cash assistance to Rhode Islanders who may not qualify for emergency relief support due to their immigration status. The Foundation kicked-off the fund with a $200,000 grant toward the goal of $3 million, and thanks to the generosity of so many, that goal was quickly met.

A better future

Leadership through crisis is both art and science; as Rhode Island’s community foundation we will continue to work diligently with leaders across the state to encourage creativity, pragmatism, and to be bold in ensuring that all Rhode Islanders emerge better off over the long term than they were before this crisis began.

Read more here