January 4, 2021
The patriarch of the Champlin family, Stanton Browning Champlin, was nothing if not resilient. He ran away from home in 1838 at the age of 12. But thanks to the kindness and generosity of a stranger, a Providence grocer who took him in, he was able to reach his full potential.
Resilience and generosity. In my lifetime, I cannot recall ever seeing such exceptional examples of these as I did this past year. The staff, volunteers, and board members of so many remarkable charities across this state have continued to persevere under seemingly untenable conditions. We read the stories in over 300 grant applications and heard the accounts through more than 60 virtual site visits.
I think of how Nicole Dufresne and the team at Boys & Girls Club of Providence created graduation bags for club members and delivered them directly to their homes to celebrate their accomplishment of finishing high school. Or Curt Columbus and Trinity Rep’s masterful pivot to produce A Christmas Carol in a whole new way, ensuring a Rhode Island treasured tradition continued. And the many summer camp operators like Maureen Fitzgerald and the Ocean Community Y that navigated through changing rules and regulations to enable thousands of children to have some semblance of summer fun and learning.
These organizations – and hundreds more – confronted the challenges of 2020 head on. Under unimaginably difficult circumstances – a global pandemic, a reckoning over racial injustice, an economic crisis, and a rising tide of anxiety and unrest – all of you in the nonprofit community were nimble, responsive, and creative. You focused on equity and expanded your reach. You reconfigured programs, identified flexible service delivery models, and found innovative ways to connect.
Resilience and generosity. With the growing and urgent needs of Rhode Islanders as your north star, you persevered. Thank you.
If this year has reinforced anything for us, it’s that our non-profit community has so much riding on its collective shoulders. We listened to and learned from you this year, and we will continue to work to be nimble and responsive, in return. We have built a more streamlined and transparent process. Our online application is more efficient and accessible, and the streamlining will continue with our grant distribution. Of particular importance in 2021, we have moved to a twice-a-year distribution cycle. Organizations now can apply in one of two grant cycles through the online application portal. The first cycle is open now through January 15, 2021; and the second cycle will be open June 1 to July 1, 2021.
These modernization efforts are all in service of your work. The Champlin Foundation wants to see you succeed, which is why we encourage you to stay in touch. If you have questions about whether a project might be a fit or how to strengthen a request, ask us. If you are unsure of how to complete your application, reach out. We are here to help you do important work and expand your impact, and we love hearing from you.
We have no idea what the coming year will bring, but the story of Stanton B. Champlin gives me hope, and your stories do, too. Last year my New Year message spoke of the hope, excitement, and anticipation I felt for the year ahead; I wrote about the glass being half full. The resilience and generosity I’ve witnessed makes that all hold true again now.
With deep appreciation for all you do,
Nina Stack, Executive Director
Look for The Champlin Foundation 2020 Annual Report on our website this spring. While you are there, subscribe to receive occasional emails with news and updates from the Foundation.