As someone who always sees the glass as half full rather than half empty, the start of a New Year fills me with hope, excitement and anticipation. This is especially true following such a dynamic year here at The Champlin Foundation. Although our 100+ site visits in 2019 took place months ago, I remain inspired by what I saw, the people I met, and the exceptional work being done.

It was profoundly moving – extraordinary really – to watch a stroke patient at Sargent Rehabilitation Center practice dancing with his daughter in advance of her wedding. My morning walk through the African Alliance of Rhode Island’s Snake Den Farm in Johnston with Julius Kolawole, learning how Alliance members are expanding their produce business, was a delight. And seeing the dedication of the volunteers at RI Center Assisting those in Need (RICAN) in Charlestown was truly inspiring. The work being done by the staff, the volunteers and the board members of Rhode Island’s social sector agencies and organizations could not be more essential to the well-being of this state.

To contribute to this work in a small way is truly a privilege.

We recognize the very real challenges that our applicants must navigate every single day, often just to keep the doors open. This is why we have striven to be thoughtful and deliberate as we design a new online grant application in an effort to minimize the burden on organizations requesting support.

Beginning in 2020, requests to The Champlin Foundation will come through an application portal accessed through the Foundation’s website. We plan to roll out a number of resources in the coming months to help applicants understand the application and the technology. Until then, you can review a list of the questions you can expect to answer here.

Heather Fraser is the staff person at Champlin who has led this innovation effort. Heather joined us last March as the Foundation’s first Grants Management Associate and has proven herself to be a great member of the team and a thoughtful advocate for the agencies that apply for funding.

Just as in the past, the application timeline for 2020 remains the same. The online application will open on March 1st with a deadline for completion of April 30th. Completed applications can be submitted at any point during that time frame.

Please take note that after 2020, The Champlin Foundation will move to a two-cycle application process. Beginning in January 2021, there will be two separate opportunities to apply, and applicants will have a choice as to when they will submit their ONE application for the calendar year. Stay tuned as we share more information about this future change in the coming months.

We are using the launch of our new application portal as an opportunity to refresh our website as well. To help us illustrate the impact and contributions that our grantees make to Rhode Island, we plan to incorporate dynamic photographs of the agencies and organizations at work. I encourage grantee groups to be in touch if you have compelling photographs that you can share with us.

2019 was quite a year for The Champlin Foundation in a number of ways. Obviously, our move to technology-based applications has been significant, and I’m grateful to the colleagues who served as our “kitchen cabinet” in the design process.

At the start of last year, we engaged the Center for Effective Philanthropy to undertake a Grantee Perception Study to help us understand how we are doing from the grantee’s perspective. The results were enlightening and heartening, offering us valuable feedback on what we do well and where we might improve.

It was also a year of transition. We said goodbye to two gentlemen whose contributions to Champlin have been significant. For 20+ years, Richard Menkiewicz served as the Foundation’s primary trustee representative for PNC/Delaware Trust Company. Advocate, teacher, counselor and sometimes consoler, Rich’s contribution to the good work of Champlin cannot be understated. Having worked with past Executive Directors Dave King and Keith Lang, and then assisting with the start of my tenure in June 2018, his retirement this year marked the end of remarkable era for Champlin. Jon Farnum joined the Foundation’s Distribution Committee in 2004 and has brought an astute perspective and the greatest integrity to the job at hand. With his term now ending, it means we are welcoming a new member to the committee, Yahaira Placencia, who brings extensive understanding of Rhode Island and its communities.

Look for The Champlin Foundation 2019 Annual Report on our website this spring. While you are there, subscribe to receive occasional emails with news from the Foundation.

I hope we will stay in touch throughout the year, and I look forward to seeing you in the field.

With appreciation for all you do,

Nina Stack
Executive Director