Updated March 28 at 6:28pm

R.I. Foundation donates $28M in 2011


PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Foundation gave away $28 million to more than 1,300 nonprofit organizations in 2011, according to its newly released annual report.

The amount grant money donated in 2011 dropped 4.1 percent from 2010’s record donation of $29.2 million, the most the foundation spent since its founding 96 years ago.

Forty-four percent of the grants were determined by the foundation, while 56 percent were decided by donors.

The majority of the grants were directed toward six sectors — education, health, human services, environment, arts and culture and community and economic development — with education organizations receiving nearly $7 million.

The Rhode Island Foundation had $605 million in assets at the end of 2011, a 5.6 percent increase from the $573 million the organization had at the end of 2010.

Operating expenses for 2011 came out to 1.2 percent of assets.

The foundation lost 0.6 percent on its investments during 2011, but showed a 6.2 percent increase in the value of its investments over the last decade.

Gifts to the foundation surged 391 percent in 2011 to $70.8 million, counteracting the drops in 2009 and 2010 ($9 million and $14.4 million, respectively) from the $44.2 million given in 2008.

The Rhode Island Foundation is supported by 1,261 permanent endowments, 43 of which were created in 2011.

The foundation also runs the Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence, which offers training and workshops as well as online resources for nonprofits.

As part of a new project, the Rhode Island Foundation named Allan Tear and Soren Ryherd the inaugural winners of the Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship earlier this year.

Tear, one-third of the creative force behind technology-focused startup accelerator Betaspring, plans to use his three-year, $300,000 grant to develop a similar mentorship program for what he calls one of the state’s missing puzzle pieces in job creation – the arts and other social-impact ventures.

Ryherd will develop The Retail Project, which seeks to develop online stores into financial successes and then put them into brick-and-mortar locations to fill empty storefronts.


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