‘Quiet foundation’ boasts $10M in grants since founding

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As attorney John Partridge calls it “the quiet foundation” celebrated a big step with the donation of more than $10 million in grants to Rhode Island charities since being organized in the early 1980s.

Partridge, chairman of the board of Ocean State Charities Trust, wasn’t too quiet either when he and other trustees gathered at the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center in Conimicut recently. Partridge pointed out that approximately $1 million in total grants has been awarded to nearly 60 Kent County organizations. Partridge’s audience included representatives from many of those non-profits including Westbay Community Action, the ALS Rhode Island Chapter, the Pawtuxet Rangers, Mentor Rhodes Island, Cornerstone Adult Services and the Warwick Boys and Girls Clubs.

Partridge also talked about the Endowment Incubator program, which is designed to encourage smaller charities to begin to focus on long-term planning and the development of endowments. Citizens Bank is the investment advisor to the Endowment Incubator program that now has a total of $3 million in assets.

The aim of the fund, explained Partridge, is to help non-profits grow reserves so they can address a crisis situation, but especially plan ahead. Fund participants must be non-profits and invest a minimum of $25,000 to join the program. Unlike some other foundations that only allow the withdrawal of gains earned, incubator participants can dip into their principal investment.

“It’s first class investment advice on the cheap,” said Partridge.

A 23-year member of the Ocean State Charities Trust board of trustees, Mayor Scott Avedisian, said that the trust when reviewing grant applications looks to buy “something tangible that will keep operations [of the non-profit recipient] going.”

“From providing support and programs to those suffering from ALS and Parkinson’s, to offering services and resources to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, to helping people lead more independent and fulfilling lives, to volunteering for events that celebrate Rhode Island’s rich heritage, Kent County’s organizations meet a diverse array of needs that municipalities cannot do alone. I am proud to have been a Trustee for so many years and to see the enormous commitment of these agencies to our communities,” Avedisian said in a statement release by the fund.

Ocean State Charities Trust was established with funds made available under applicable federal law relating to refunding and refinancing of housing bonds through Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation. Pursuant to its charter, the purpose of Ocean State Charities Trust is to promote the social welfare of the citizens of Rhode Island by providing funds to aid and assist charitable organizations particularly in the areas of housing, health, education and welfare. The Trust may receive and accept gifts and bequests from any person to be held, administrated and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of its charter.

Ocean State Charities Trust is governed by a board of five Trustees, each appointed by a Rhode Island governor for a term of five years. All Trustees serve without compensation. In addition to Partridge, and Avedisian, Secretary, Jonathan Farnum, is Treasurer and Mark Russell and Helen Marandola are members.

Since its commencement, over 2,500 grants have been awarded by Ocean State Charities Trust to eligible Rhode Island charities. The vast majority of grants have been in the range of several thousand dollars and usually for equipment, repairs, refurbishments, scholarships and specific, approved projects. True to its charter, Ocean State Charities Trust ensures that eligible charities meet funding criteria located in every county within Rhode Island receive an aliquot share of grants.

For more information with respect to the grant making procedures of Ocean State Charities Trust, please refer to our website, osct.org, or contact Executive Director Jane Lynch at 401-728-9008.

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