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Catherine Gagnon, gallery director at the Wickford Art Association, straightens artwork on the gallery’s walls on Dec. 8. The Champlin Foundation is providing a $11,550 grant to renovate the gallery’s walls.

Eleven local organizations are benefiting this year from the generosity of The Champlin Foundation, which has announced $18 million in grant funding across Rhode Island.

They include museums and libraries, an art gallery and a summer camp.

In total, the foundation awarded 188 grants to meet pressing demands related to social services, education, historic preservation, arts and culture and beyond.

The University of Rhode Island Foundation & Alumni Engagement received $500,000 to support engineering technology, robotic equipment and tissue engineering work.

South County Health will receive $300,000 in Champlin Foundation money to purchase an endoscopic ultrasound device for South County Hospital.

In addition to large dollar awardees, smaller organizations will benefit from the grants as well.

Among them is the Wickford Art Association, which will use its $11,550 in Champlin Foundation money to make improvements to its gallery wall.

“We’re thrilled and incredibly grateful to have received this grant from The Champlin Foundation,” Catherine Gagnon, director of the nonprofit gallery, said. Gagnon said she believes it’s the first time the gallery has received Champlin funds.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time, during this difficult year,” she said.

The gallery plans to use the money to install new, larger wall panels to display art, Gagnon said. In addition, it will procure a few movable panels.

Elsewhere in North Kingstown, $20,000 will go to Smith’s Castle to use on a project for a new roof, exterior painting and repairs and window replacement. The Davisville Free Library’s award of $20,150 will help the library replace its parking lot, and the Rhode Island Farm Incubator will use $16,280 to purchase two high tunnels. Located on Exeter Road in North Kingstown, the Rhode Island Farm Incubator is a nonprofit organization that owns and operates several acres, buildings and infrastructure, with a mission of helping other farm and food entrepreneurs develop their own for-profit enterprises.

The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum in Saunderstown will put $9,500 in grant money toward a generator.

The South Kingstown Public Library received $25,000 toward replacing the roof of the Robert Beverly Hale Library; and Camp JORI, a Jewish overnight and day camp for children in grades K-10, will use $48,786 for road work and a chair lift for the camp’s swimming pool. The Pettaquamscutt Historical Society, Inc. received $9,345 for access work to its historic jail.

In Narragansett, the South County Museum will benefit from $13,377 to use on exterior painting and repairs to the caretaker’s farmhouse.

Of the 188 organizations receiving funding in this cycle, 25 are first-time grantees, joining the ranks of hundreds of mission-driven organizations that have been supported by The Champlin Foundation over its 88-year history. To date, Champlin has awarded more than $600 million to Rhode Island nonprofit organizations, primarily to fund capital projects.  

“The nonprofit community in Rhode Island has navigated the current health and economic crises with extraordinary resilience, while also keeping a firm eye on building for the future,” Champlin Foundation Executive Director Nina Stack said. “At a time when their services are in greater demand than ever before, so many essential charities have stepped up, their leadership thinking innovatively about how to adjust programming and deliver support. The Champlin Foundation is proud to support these agencies and organizations to expand their reach and impact, and to play a part in their vital efforts to help Rhode Island weather this storm and the challenges that await us in the future.”

Going forward, organizations can apply during one of two Champlin grant application cycles through Champlin’s online application portal. The first cycle will be open Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, and the second cycle will be open June 1 to July 1, 2021.

The Champlin Foundation’s key areas of focus include arts and culture, conservation and parks, education, health care, historic preservation, libraries, social services, welfare of animals and youth services. In reviewing this year’s applicants, Stack noted that many leaders found new and creative ways to connect with their communities.

The funding comes on the heels of The Champlin Foundation’s quick action last spring to provide additional relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, the foundation provided $1 million in emergency COVID-19 relief funding to 63 organizations, as well as $600,000 for the state’s nonprofit hospitals and $13,000 to purchase thermal scan thermometers for homeless shelters.

The foundation also provided flexibility for a number of existing grantees, allowing them to re-purpose $1 million in capital funding to maintain operations.

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