WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Go big or go home? The Rhode Island Foundation is doing the first to benefit the second.
The agency announced a slew of grants Thursday morning for organizations across the state, with a monument at the Rocky Point area in Warwick at the centerpiece of the announcement. The grants are in honor of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Foundation this year.
Dignitaries gathered at the iconic Rocky Point arch for the announcement. Among the grants was $5,620 earmarked to restore the 60-foot arch, which has fallen into disrepair over the years. The first step is to give the monument a fresh coat of paint, which the foundation got a head start on at the event; local leaders including Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, the director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Janet Coit, the Rhode Island Foundation’s president Neil Steinberg and Rocky Point Foundation president John Howell put paintbrushes to steel as part of the ceremony — as in a ground-breaking.
The Rhode Island Foundation also announced a $12,300 grant for the Warwick Public Library — for home delivery of books, to residents who can’t travel to the library due to age or disability. The library figures they’ll mail 1,000 books home in the first year alone.
$15,000 is going to boost Cranston’s knowledge of the city’s own history. The Cranston Discovery Network will bring the community together to document events in the city’s history, with representatives from the city’s historical society, the library, the school department, the Cranston Herald newspaper, and the Cranston Senior Center. Markers will be installed around the city to note places, events and people of significance. “We look forward to bring our past to life in the present day,” said Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.
Coventry also received $15,000 for a new children’s playground to be installed near the town library, and East Greenwich received $1,500 to build three “Little Free Libraries,” where books and items are shared on the honor system, at housing developments.
$14,860 has been given to Thundermist Health Center. They’ll create a community orchard on land owned by the town of West Warwick, near the Thundermist facility on Main Street, with pear trees and berry plants.
$4,000 will go to the West Greenwich Land Trust to install informational kiosks at the Pratt and Fry Pond conservation areas to detail wildlife and trails for visitors.
These projects now compliment their biggest undertaking for the anniversary: a $10 million campaign to restore and revamp Roger Williams Park in Providence, including repairs to buildings, signage and entranceways. That project currently has raised $5.5 million.
The Rhode Island Foundation was founded June 13, 1916, with a $10,000 gift from industrialist Jesse Metcalf. The Foundation’s assets are now close to $800 million, officials said.