CRANSTON, R.I. – The Champlin Foundation announced today $7.9 million in capital funding to 78 Rhode Island based nonprofit organizations. Across 26 communities statewide, grants will make critical capital investments, including building upgrades, enhanced security and technology systems, new vehicles, and new and expanded facilities.
“In establishing the Foundation over 90 years ago, one of George Champlin’s main objectives in giving was ‘to help people to help themselves.’ That call to action is central to our state’s nonprofit community, which increases equitable access to health care, education, social services, and other opportunities that support and empower Rhode Islanders,” said Nina Stack, executive director of The Champlin Foundation. “Public libraries are a perfect example. Led by committed professionals and supported by hundreds of volunteers, libraries are the social and educational anchors for their communities. From creating space for the free exchange of ideas and knowledge, to resume help and job search tools that develop our state’s next-generation workforce, the libraries we support contribute to our social fabric and help people help themselves to pursue healthy, informed, prosperous futures.”
Ten libraries across 10 different communities received grants in this round of funding, including the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library in Narragansett—the state’s only completely new library building under construction. Twelve years in the making, this $8.9 million overall project is slated for completion later in 2023 and received $250,000 from Champlin in this round of funding.
“At a time when libraries are under a microscope, our library will serve as a reminder of the value we bring,” said Library Director Patti Arkwright. “We are known for providing access to books, but libraries have evolved into centers of the community where people can gather, get their information needs met, experience new technology, and learn new skills. Our new building, which is almost double the size, will offer all this and more, with significantly enhanced programming, new space for young people, a state-of-the-art maker’s space, and an expanded community meeting room. It has been a long time coming and we’re so excited to see it come to fruition.”
While Warwick Public Library has received support from Champlin many times in the past, this year’s $30,849 grant is first-time funding for the Conimicut Branch, a cozy building nestled on a quiet side street. The grant will comprehensively address the exterior needs of the building.
“Library branches—in Warwick and through the system statewide—are cornerstones of the community. They offer a welcoming and inclusive place for people to come together locally, finding resources and fostering connections within their own neighborhood,” said Warwick Public Library Director Aaron Coutu. “I’ve heard consistently from library patrons that visiting their local branch is like visiting family, thanks in large part to our incredible team of professionals. That is exactly the sense of community and belonging that we hope to foster.”
Pawtucket Public Library received a $395,000 grant toward the multi-year project of repointing the exterior of the Deborah Cook Sayles Public Library building, which opened more than a century ago in 1902, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Pawtucket’s two library buildings are beautiful spaces with rich histories. They are a source of pride for our community. We’re also incredibly proud of what happens inside these buildings, which are home to multi-generational programming that brings together diverse audiences,” said Pawtucket Public Library Director Susan Reed. “From our Teen Center, which gives young people in Pawtucket a place to call their own, to English language instruction, technology classes, and access to the city’s history collection, our facility and the team working therein are focused on helping the people of Pawtucket to lead successful and fulfilling lives.”
Libraries are just one of nine key areas of focus supported by the Champlin Foundation. Other priorities include capital investments in arts and culture, conservation and parks, education, healthcare, historic preservation and heritage, social services, youth services, and welfare of animals. The $7,986,833 awarded in the spring cycle makes the foundation’s total distribution to date $674 million over the past nine-plus decades.
This spring round of grants also includes two first-time grantees: Rhode Island Sports Union and Skills for Rhode Island’s Future. Nonprofits in Rhode Island will have a second opportunity this year to apply for funding. The fall grants application cycle opens on June 1, 2023, and will close on July 1, 2023.
About The Champlin Foundation: Since 1932, The Champlin Foundation has awarded more than $665 million to fund capital projects for Rhode Island nonprofit organizations. Its nine areas of focus cover Arts & Culture, Conservation & Parks, Education, Health, Historic Preservation, Libraries, Social Services, Welfare of Animals, and Youth Services. For more information visit ChamplinFoundation.org.