PROVIDENCE, RI (June 9, 2017) – The
history of Black life in Rhode Island from the earliest days of the colony will
be brought to life thanks to grants from the Rhode Island Foundation. The
funding is through the Archive, Document, Display and Disseminate (ADDD) Fund
at the Foundation.
“By providing the resources to
bolster libraries and other civic, cultural and literacy-focused organizations,
we can enlarge their position as community centers that encourage dialogue
around important topics,” said philanthropist Herman Rose, who created the ADDD
The primary goals are to increase
public access to information through preserving and promoting print, digital or
other material and to provide challenge grants for fundraising campaigns for
the acquisition of equipment, special collections and publications among other
Freedom received funding to support the
printing of 10,000 copies of “On the Rhode to Freedom: Black Historic Sites in
Rhode Island,” a self-guided, statewide tour of upwards of 55 historic sites
related to state's African American history, people and events.
This free booklet will contain
information on churches, residences, businesses, historical markers, public
sculpture and memorials where something significant occurred, such as the
former Black neighborhoods of Snowtown and Hardscrabble in Providence.
“Few, if any, Rhode Island tour
booklets over the years have referenced more than one or two Black sites, so a
project of this scope and range is significant, necessary and well overdue,”
said Ray Rickman, who chairs Stages of Freedom.
The brochure is intended to be a
user-friendly guide for tourists, residents, students, scholars, historical
societies and libraries.
“This will bring awareness to the
rich, mostly overlooked, or invisible African American history within our
midst, to encourage self-guided tours and to create a dialogue about the
importance of our shared history,” said Rickman.
The Bristol Historical &
Preservation Society received $1,500 to continue cataloguing its early
collections, including original documentation of the Africa-to-America slave
trade. The work includes digitizing photos and documents to make the material
“The ultimate goal is a database
that appropriately catalogues the important artifacts in our collections to the
standards of best practice, one that best benefits our community of users. We
hold a collection that is nationally significant and we wish to cherish and
present that to the widest audience possible,” said Catherine Zipf, executive
The Foundation also awarded funding
to five other Providence organizations, including the Center for Southeast
Asians. The nonprofit plans to publish "Through the Bamboo Forest:
Stories of Southeast Asian Refugees in America,” which will document the
experience of Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian refugee community.
The book will be a collection of
personal, vintage photographs and documents chronicling the journeys of
refugees from the border camps in Thailand to their new lives in Rhode Island
from 1970 to 1990. The material will be accompanied by the personal stories of
“Members of our community have allowed
us to borrow images that are catalysts for the stories of their journey, the
flight from Southeast Asia, often under great duress, and the challenges they
faced trying to assimilate into an urban, American lifestyle,” Channavy Chhay,
executive director. “Our purpose is to build a visual archive, accompanied by
narrative text, and then to utilize that archive in making this community
visible, both to itself and to others.”
International Institute of Rhode Island will convert its oral history project, “My Story, Our
Community,” into a traveling exhibit that will be staged in every Rhode Island
city and town.
“There is a need to bring this
message of welcoming and inclusivity to every corner of Rhode Island. It is
absolutely necessary to take these stories outside the urban core in order to
bridge the divide between native and foreign-born residents,” said Brandon
Lozeau, community relations manager.
The Providence Athenaeum
will create a digital archive of its fine arts collection in order to increase
public access to historic artwork and encourage scholarly research.
“The digital archive will integrate
research essays and high resolution digital images for as many as 100 pieces in
our collection,” said Matt Burriesci, executive director. “It will make the
collection much more accessible to students, artists, scholars and the general
The Providence Preservation
Society will create a companion website to supplement the reprinting of its
popular 2003 publication, “PPS Guide to Providence Architecture.” The website
will present the guidebook content using rich images and text, as well as
incorporating Google Maps.
“This innovative project is in line
with our institutional goals to educate the community, including new audiences,
about historic resources in Providence. It will create an easily accessible
database of resources that conveys the history of Providence’s
built-environment to visitors, residents and researchers alike,” said Sarah
Santos, director of advancement. “We’ll reach new and expanded audiences to
promote tourism. Providence’s historic fabric is both a cultural and economic
asset enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.”
The Southside Community Land
Trust will promote its farm and garden plots, children and youth programs,
health education and where Central Falls and
Pawtucket residents can find affordable, healthy food.
“Our high school youth staff
are going door-to-door conducting outreach in English and
Spanish about local farmers markets and how to sign up for community
garden plots,” said Jenny Boone, grants and outreach manager. "We'll
support new gardeners with free workshops and agricultural
The community garden and farm plots
are behind the Galego Court apartments in Pawtucket and in the future
Garfield Park Community Garden in Central Falls. Families and young children
are also learning about healthy food and how to grow their own produce in
small, urban spaces.
The Greenville Public Library and
the South Kingstown Land Trust also received grants from the Foundation’s ADDD
fund. Over the years, it has awarded nearly $400,000 in funding.
The Rhode Island Foundation is the
largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode
Island. In 2016, the Foundation awarded a record $45 million in grants to
organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse
communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often
in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping
Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit www.rifoundation.org.