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Rhode Island’s Non-Profit of the Year 2013

Friday, January 03, 2014

 

It's been a big year for one of Rhode Island's most wide-reaching nonprofits --  much to the benefit of community organizations helping those in need across the state.

In April, the United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) announced it would be investing $3 million in Rhode Islanders.  For the period starting July 2013 and going through June 2016, 28 organizations representing 36 Rhode Island cities and towns will receive funding to support programs in UWRI’s focus areas of Education, Income, and Housing and Homelessness. 

According to UWRI's $3 million announcement, "Funding decisions were based on UWRI’s firsthand knowledge that when people have a safe, affordable place to live, a good education, and a higher-paying job, they can provide for themselves and their families."

Mission -- and Accomplishments

"Throughout the 87-year history of United Way of Rhode Island, our work has helped to change thousands of lives across our state," wrote CEO Tony Maione in a letter to the community.  "And, thanks to the unwavering commitment and generosity of the community, we achieved tremendous results during the past year," which included more than $12.6 million donated
, more than 15,600 donors
, more than 1,300 volunteers
, and more than 9,500 hours donated.

Engaging Young Professionals

This fall, the United Way's Young Leaders Circle kicked off their 2013-2014 "Learn with Leaders" Series, embracing UWRI's campaign theme "Change can't happen without you."  YLC highlights influential Rhode Islanders who have inspired change in the community and encourage others to be part of a change.

The goal of YLC, who has over 840 members from all over Rhode Island, is to engage RI young professionals in the work of United Way and develop the next generation of philanthropists.  In the prior year, YLC hosted 4 volunteer events, 2 advocacy initiatives, 3 fundraisers, 4 professional development events, a four-part Speaker Series, and 3 networking events -- and members contributed over $65,000 to the United Way's Annual Campaign.

UWRI also fosters community engagement through its Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) which brings women together as a unique driving force to help close the gaps in early childhood literacy. Members volunteer in classrooms and community programs, organize book drives, advocate for important issues, and attend networking and special events. 

Tony Maione

Creating New Partnerships

In November, UWRI in conjunction with the Capital Good Fund launched its first "micro-branch" in Woonsocket, to help residents with a Payday Alternative Program.

"United Way and CGF began discussing this project last April. United Way and many other community based organizations were working at the legislature to lower the rate that payday lenders can charge from 260% APR to something more reasonable. One of the objections we heard was that there were no alternatives for people who needed short term loans," Maione told GoLocal.  

Maione continued, "So we decided to work with CGF to bring their product to Woonsocket to see if people would use a better and cheaper alternative."

Between strengthening existing partnerships in the community, creating new ones, and supporting Rhode Islanders in need with the tools to succeed, United Way is GoLocal's nonprofit of the year for 2013.  

 

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