Updated July 7 at 11:07am

R.I. Foundation awards record $31 million in grants in 2013

The Rhode Island Foundation awarded a record $31 million in grants in 2013 to more than 1,300 nonprofits, the organization said Friday.

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R.I. Foundation awards record $31 million in grants in 2013

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PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Foundation awarded a record $31 million in grants in 2013 to more than 1,300 nonprofits, the organization said Friday.

“We are grateful to our dedicated donors for joining with us to take on the state’s challenges and opportunities,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the foundation’s president and CEO, in a statement. “Their inspiring generosity enabled us to invest in Rhode Island as never before.”

The grant funding total was the most in the organization’s 97-year history, according to a press release.

Of the $31 million in grants, nearly $11.4 million was awarded in discretionary grants directed by the foundation’s staff and directors. Donor-directed grants totaled $19.7 million last year, up from $17.3 million in 2012.

The group also had its third-best fundraising year ever in 2013, raising $43.7 million in new gifts from individual, organizational and corporate donors, up from $38 million in 2012. At the end of 2013, the foundation’s total assets stood at more than $780 million.

The Rhode Island Foundation is Rhode Island’s largest funder of nonprofits, working in partnership with donors and organizations to meet the needs of Rhode Islanders.

Of the discretionary grants, $325,000 was awarded to the Highlander Charter School for its Center for Blended Learning initiative and $351,000 was given to food banks, homeless shelters and free clinics to provide needy Rhode Islanders with basic human needs.

Other discretionary grants included $200,000 for services to blind persons and $75,000 to develop and implement outreach activities for the Rhode Island Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan, which will address the threats of erosion and flooding caused by storm events and sea-level changes.

Also among discretionary grants, the Rhode Island Foundation raised $264,089 through its second annual Civic Leadership Fund, which enables the foundation to go beyond traditional grant-making to provide a forum for dialogue on critical community issues.

The fund supported the foundation’s “Make It Happen RI” initiative, which had several major achievements last year. The Rhode Island Foundation announced the final recipients of a share of $1 million in grants awarded through the initiative to jump-start 19 economic-development initiatives, launched the “It’s All In Our Backyard” public awareness campaign, and convened a series of focus groups to develop a new economic action agenda that was released last month.

Under its competitive strategy grant program, the Rhode Island Foundation invests in organizations and programs that strive for long-term solutions to significant community issues. In 2013, nearly $5.6 million was awarded to nearly 100 Rhode Island nonprofits for this purpose.

Rhode Island Foundation, Neil D. Steinberg,

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