EDITORIAL

Philanthropic champions

Posted

Nothing epitomizes the holiday season quite like generosity bestowed upon individuals who need it most, and generosity bestowed upon organizations whose mission is to help others within their communities.

We cannot overstate the amazing work conducted by the Champlin Foundation, which every year provides millions of dollars in grants to deserving local organizations and nonprofits. This year, the Champlin Grants amounted to $22 million that will go towards helping communities across the state – over $600,000 of which is helping organizations in Cranston.

What is so wonderfully unique about the Champlin Grants in their range of gifts granted. From $1,000 to multiple millions, the moneys given by Champlin can make a world of difference to organizations of all sizes; money that would require extensive fundraising to raise on their own, or a shifting of priorities in order to afford.

Smaller organizations like the Children’s Dyslexia Center of RI, benefited greatly from this year’s grant infusions, getting about $3,000 to purchase a new computer for data collection, a storage shelf and additional tutoring supplies. Big Brothers Big Sisters received nearly $9,000 for a variety of supplies that will assist in its operations. Other organizations, such as the MS Dream Center, CCAP and the Cranston Public Library all received game-changing donations as well, at $36,775, $100,000 and $320,290 respectively.

These grants all go towards organizations that work to improve and advocate for the public good. The MS Dream Center, an organization unlike any other that assists people suffering from multiple sclerosis, will be able to use the funds to make improvements to accessibility inside its facility. CCAP will be able to take on a complete replacement of windows in their main facility – an expense that would be hard to find budget dollars to accomplish without the grant. The library will be able to improve its entire first floor of the William Hall branch.

The importance of these grants do not so much hinge on the work that is being done because of them, but rather how they relieve pressure on organizations that are always trying to stretch dollars and live within modest means. It enables them to take care of things like window replacements and the purchase of materials that might not make it into an annual budget, but greatly benefit the organizations’ missions all the same.

It truly is remarkable just how far-reaching the Champlin Foundation has become in the state. They have awarded over half a billion dollars to nonprofits in Rhode Island, and this year they distributed about $4 million above their average level of giving.

Organizations that prioritize giving and bringing people together amidst their mission statements should inspire each of us to give more of ourselves. We can volunteer our time, donate spare dollars or donate food to local food banks or pantries.

Another philanthropic organization, the Rhode Island Foundation, decided to once again put their money where their mouth is during a year where we have learned that food insecurity is rapidly increasing in the state, rather than decreasing as we may expect in a time of economic growth.

Last month, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank reported that there had been a 45 percent increase in the number of households facing food insecurity in Rhode Island over the numbers collected 10 years ago. Whether this is the result of improved data gathering or is a reflection of wage stagnation among the inflation of food and living costs is beside the point – it is an alarming number of people going hungry in a country with so much prosperity.

Seeing these reports, the Rhode Island Foundation vowed earlier this month to donate $100,000 to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, which will go towards the purchase of 300,000 pounds of food for those in need during the winter season – the peak season of hunger where the need for donations skyrockets.

We are humbled and inspired by the philanthropy of these two organizations, but also acknowledge the thousands of individuals who give time, money, donate toys, clothes or other items to people and organizations in need every year.

These acts provide us all with a bar to aspire to. If we all tried to attain that level of benevolence, what good might come to our world?

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