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Newport County Fund Awards $110,000 to 16 Local Nonprofits

The International Yacht Restoration School hosted the Newport County Fund reception last week to announce small grant recipients.

Neil D. Steinberg, President and CEO of The Rhode Island Foundation, welcomed a crowd of about fifty people last Thursday morning, June 23, to the International Yacht Restoration School to announce the 2011 Newport County Fund (NCF) recipients of it's Small Grants Program. Leland Merrill, of the NCF Advisory Committee, joined him for the announcements. 

About $110,000 in grants were handed down to sixteen local deserving nonprofit organizations, including one in Little Compton, whose proposed projects would benefit from the financial assistance. 

"It is our mission is to serve all people of the state of Rhode Island," Steinberg said, as he addressed NCF members, donors, and grant recipients present at Thursday's reception. "We really do appreciate our relationship with the Newport County Fund and our relationship with Newport County is very important to us... I dare say there is not anybody here who does not understand, appreciate or see on a regular basis the need of the community."

"There are many examples of how a small amount of money is going to make a great difference and that is what is exciting about the Newport County Fund," said NCF Philanthrophy Officer Joyce Bothelo. "The money we provide can be the money to get an idea started or a program off the ground and can help these organizations leverage those learnings for a larger initiative."

Peter Milinazzo, Director of the Newport County YMCA, one of the largest recipients of the NCF grants, said the grant money will be funnelled to the Adaptive Physical Activity Program at the YMCA.

"The YMCA is so excited and so committed to the new Adaptive Physical Activity program," said APA Director Katy Woolbright.

The APA programs are for individuals with disabilities as well as individuals who need adaptations to activities to be able to participate.

"I literally get goosebumps when I think of the stories I see every day," Milinazzo said. "I am obviously towards the end of my career and this is one of those legacy programs I will leave behind."

The NCF is a permanent endowment to the Rhode Island Foundation and serves all of the communities of Newport County. Since it's establishment in 2002, the fund has reached $2 million  in investments in Newport County.

Below is a list of the grants awarded, provided by the NCF:

YMCA of Newport County – $10,000 (Newport County)
The Newport County YMCA aims to significantly improve and positively influence the quality of life and social well being of its members. Emphasis is placed on the whole person through the programs and activities the help develop spiritual, mental and physical well-being. The Newport County YMCA currently offers, for a fee, Adapted Physical Activity programming to adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). This grant will enable the YMCA to expand APA programming to adults with ID who cannot afford to enroll in the Y’s fee-based fitness classes. More than 100 adults with ID will benefit by increasing their fitness level along with opportunities to socialize in a community setting.

Common Fence Music - $10,000 (Newport County)

Connecting the Beats: Bringing African and Afro-Caribbean Music to the Youth of Newport County is collaboration between six youth serving agencies and schools in Newport County to expand youth access and exposure to roots music traditions through performances and workshops. Grant support will fund costs for the program's design and administration, for promotional costs, and for performers' fees.

Newport Historical Society - $10,000 (Newport)

This grant will provide partial funding for staff needed to complete the first phase the Newport Historical Society's Collections Records Survey Project and to create a searchable online collections database.

- $10,000 (Newport County)
The grant for the Good Gardens Initiative will provide staffing support and supplies to develop a community-based environmental education program centered on gardening. The project will expand garden areas at the Sanctuary and in the community as both growing and teaching spaces. Programs will educate both children and adults about the value of organic gardens and adopting sustainable gardening practices.

Nature Conservancy - $10,000 (Little Compton)

Grant support will assist in funding a part-time volunteer coordinator to help establish the Friends of the Dundery Brook Greenway Trail. The Friends group will help to build, maintain, and steward this environmental resource for educational use and enjoyment of the community. A Friends group is a cost effective strategy for preserve management and an important way to engage Little Compton residents to become conservation ambassadors in their community.

Island Moving Company - $9,000 (Newport and Portsmouth)

Island Moving Company will deepen its relationship with two of the thirteen elementary schools in Newport County by tying community-themed creative movement programs to anti-bullying efforts at the schools. Through this pilot program, students in Newport and Portsmouth will have an opportunity to use the discipline, creativity and self-expression of dance to explore issues of community and behavior.

Jamestown Community Chorus - $1,669 (Jamestown)

This grant will provide partial support for performers' fees to add orchestral accompaniment to the rehearsals and public performances of the Jamestown Community Chorus December concert program. 

Jamestown Community Chorus as fiscal agent for Jamestown community Piano Association - $1,665 (Jamestown)

This grant will support the 2011-2012 Jamestown Community Piano Association Concert Series.

Jamestown Education Foundation - $2,160 (Jamestown)

This grant will support the expansion of an after school music instruction program for strings for K-5 students in Jamestown.

Save The Bay - $6,620 (all Newport elementary schools)

With grant support to cover program costs and transportation, Save the Bay will be able to expand their Bay Partners program to all Newport elementary schools beginning with one elementary grade level district-wide. All students will receive the same curriculum-based science enrichment and will participate in multiple, progressive programs that connect directly to the science curriculum in their classrooms. This comprehensive program model aligns with Newport's science curriculum, Rhode Island Grade Span and Grade Level Expectations, as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines

Tides Family Services -$4,000 (Newport County)

Tides Family Services aims to be the premier provider of a continuum of wrap-around, non-residential services to high-risk youth in Rhode Island. Tides Family Services recently opened a store front in Middletown to provide "virtual learning" (computer-based) curricula in language arts, math and science--with intensive, one-on-one tutorial support--to ensure that very high-risk youth re-enter the educational process and set clear goals toward high school graduation or GED completion.  The self-paced virtual learning program is tailored to meet the needs of these students with the goal of raising their levels of educational success and the attainment of high school or equivalency diplomas. With grant funds, Tides Family Services will purchase computers for the program.

East Bay Community Action Program - $7,070 (Newport County)

The Mission of East Bay Community Action (EBCAP) is to provide high quality, comprehensive, and accessible health and human services to assist people to achieve their fullest potential. With grant funds, EBCAP will purchase supplies for the Newport County Community Based Oral Health Programs for care ranging from pediatric preventative oral health dentistry services to geriatric dental care provided in nursing homes.

Visiting Nurse Services of Newport & Bristol Counties - $3,500 (Newport County)

Caring for the caregivers is an important part of a community health program. This grant will support the mental health needs of home and hospice care staff and VNS administration and provide professional training in elder emotional and mental health issues to VNS staff, community providers, and family care givers.

Best Buddies RI - $7,500 (Aquidneck Island)

Best Buddies creates opportunities for one-on-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This project will enhance educational, recreational, and social opportunities for students with IDD by providing quality afterschool programming that promotes socialization and inclusion within the following schools in Newport County: Gaudet and Portsmouth Middle Schools, Middletown and Rogers High Schools, and Salve Regina University.

Newport County Community Mental Health Center - $8,500 (Newport County)

The mission of Newport County Community Mental Health Center, Inc. (NCCMHC) is to provide quality, comprehensive, professional mental health services to individuals, to families, and to the community in accordance with regulatory, licensing and ethical standards and in a manner that is culturally sensitive and competent.  With grant funds, NCCMHC will expand its development and grant writing capacity by retaining the services of a consultant who will assist with program evaluation and obtaining new resources to improve and develop behavioral health services relative to trauma for the children and their families of Newport County.

Women’s Resource Center of Newport - $8,460 (Middletown)

The Character Development Initiative is a bullying education and prevention program operating at the Gaudet Middle School. Grant support will help to expand program outreach to parents and community-based youth organizations and to introduce the Initiative to elementary schools in Middletown.

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