Roosa Fund announces 2019 grant awards

Three application deadlines in 2020
Sat, 04/04/2020 - 9:45am

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 2019, and the schedule of board meetings and proposal deadlines for 2020.

In 2019 as in past years, the Roosa Fund invested in Block Island's people and environment, and continued supporting communities rebuilding after the devastating Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Grants approved in 2019 totaled $116,889.

The Fund's grantees in 2019 included five Block Island-based charities:

Block Island Ecumenical Ministries, Inc., for operational support.

Block Island Maritime Institute, Inc., to expand its aquarium facilities.

First Baptist Church of Block Island (the Harbor Church), for its International Student Center program, and towards refurbishment of its handbell set, used by the Block Island Ecumenical Choir.

The Haiti Fund of Block Island Ecumenical Ministries, Inc., supporting two economic development projects in Ile a Vache, Haiti: a community garden and a water line extension.

NAMI Block Island, Inc., for a telemedicine program bringing mental health services to Block Island’s children and adolescents.

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

Butler Hospital, for supervision of the Block Island mental health telemedicine programs.

Musica Dolce, for a public chamber music concert and a school outreach program in October 2019.

The Nature Conservancy, for education and land preservation programs on Block Island.


Also in 2019, the Fund supplemented its previous grant to The Virgin Islands Methodist Trust, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, towards continued recovery and rebuilding efforts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

In total, the Roosa Fund's Board of Directors approved 10 applications for full or partial funding in 2019 totaling $116,889, compared to 2018's total of 14 approved applications and $730,313 in grants.

The Board is also empowered to approve loans against its asset base. No new loans were approved in 2019. However, drawdowns began on a $100,000 loan approved in 2017, as the Harbor Church (First Baptist Church) began construction on a significant affordable housing project to be operated by a separate island-based non-profit corporation.

Since the Fund's inception in 2011, the Roosa Fund has approved 139 grants and loans. Funds committed include $2,509,990 in grants and $893,000 in loans (including renewing one line of credit), for a total of $3,402,990.

Next applications due by April 25

The Vernon D. and Florence E. Roosa Family Fund is a charitable 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. Operating under BIEM’s umbrella, the 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, 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, or to government agencies (with specific exceptions), or to charitable organizations that have not been approved for tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service.

The Board’s first meeting to consider proposals in 2020 was in February. The Board will hold additional meetings in May, September and November. The next application deadline of the new year is April 25, for the May board meeting. The other application deadlines in 2020 are Aug. 29 and Oct. 24.

The first step in the application process is to contact Patrick Tengwall, 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 Mr. Tengwall at (401) 525-0506 or at well before the deadlines and before submitting any documents.