Roosa Fund announces 2018 grant awards

Four application deadlines in 2019
Thu, 01/10/2019 - 3:30pm

The following was submitted by the Roosa Fund of Block Island Ecumenical Ministries, Inc.

The Roosa Fund, a charitable fund sponsored by Block Island Ecumenical Ministries, is pleased to announce the awards made through its grant program in 2018, and the schedule of board meetings and proposal deadlines for 2019.

The Roosa Fund’s total giving in 2018, $730,313, is more than double the amount granted in 2017. The Fund made sizable investments in Block Island's people and environment in 2018, as well as supporting communities rebuilding after the devastating Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

The Fund's grantees in 2018 included six Block Island-based charities:

Block Island Economic Development Foundation, Inc., for a barrier fence at the Block Island Community Center

Block Island Health Services, Inc. Separate grants for a comprehensive campaign and for a fundraising event

Block Island Maritime Institute, Inc., for educational programs

First Baptist Church of Block Island (the Harbor Church), for its International Student Center program

The Haiti Fund of Block Island Ecumenical Ministries, Inc., supporting island residents participating in a volunteer service project in Haiti

HBC Affordable Apartments, Inc., towards converting a building to affordable housing

The Fund also made grants to three charities based off-island that benefit the island's people and environment:

Cross-Cultural Solutions, for support of an island volunteer's service project in Ghana

James Madison University, towards expenses of field work on Block Island for a graduate student's thesis project

The Nature Conservancy, two grants for educational and land preservation programs on Block Island

Also in 2018, the Fund made substantial grants to three organizations in the Virgin Islands to aid their recovery and rebuilding from Hurricanes Irma and Maria:

The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Island Health and Wellness, Inc., St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands Methodist Trust, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

In total, the Roosa Fund's Board of Directors approved 14 applications for full or partial funding in 2018, a decrease of four grants from 2017's total of 19 approved applications. Grants approved totaled $730,313, an increase of $400,604 from 2017 – more than twice the 2017 amount of $329,709.

The Board is also empowered to approve loans against its asset base. No new loans were approved in 2018. In 2017, however, the Board committed a new loan of $100,000 and renewed a $250,000 line of credit, both to island-based organizations.

Since the Fund's inception in 2011, the Roosa Fund has approved 129 grants and loans. Funds committed include $2,393,101 in grants and $893,000 in loans (including renewing the line of credit), for a total of $3,286,101.

Applications due by Jan. 19

The Vernon D. and Florence E. Roosa Fund is a donor-advised fund sponsored by Block Island Ecumenical Ministries, Inc. (“BIEM”). The Fund was established in 2011 with a generous gift from the Vernon D. and Florence E. Roosa Family Foundation Trust. The foundation was then dissolved. The current Roosa Fund supports non-profit organizations benefitting the people and environment of Block Island – including the poor, the young, and the elderly – and also responds to the needs of the poor in developing nations. Its giving emphasizes affordable housing, other basic human needs, education and local environmental improvement.

The Roosa Fund is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, all year-round Block Island residents, operating under the oversight and tax-exempt status of BIEM. The Board meets quarterly to consider grant and loan requests from tax-exempt public charities that have been invited to submit proposals after consulting with the administrator who manages the Fund's grantmaking program.

The Roosa Fund does not make grants to individuals, government agencies (with specific exceptions), or charitable organizations that have not been approved for tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service.

In 2019, the Board will consider proposals at meetings in February, May, September and November. The first application deadline of the new year is January 19, for the February board meeting. The other application deadlines in 2019 are April 27, Aug. 24, and Oct. 19.

The first step in the application process is to contact the Fund's administrator to discuss an organization's eligibility for support, the purpose of their program or project and their need for funding. Interested organizations should contact Patrick Tengwall, the Fund's Administrator, at 401-525-0506 or at well before the deadlines before submitting any documents.