Community Impact Report FY20

2019-2020 Community
Impact Report


More than 13,000 Rhode Islanders joined us to help our community through one of its toughest times.

When called to action in the face of a global pandemic, United Way of Rhode Island proved that we were built to address major crises by effectively harnessing resources from government, corporations, nonprofits, and individuals.

With your help, we raised $14.6 million for the COVID-19 Response Fund, our Community Impact Fund, and 401Gives - putting those dollars to work in our community and aiding hundreds of other nonprofits.


This report details the investments we made to strengthen our state thanks to the Community Impact Fund. We're particularly proud of - and thankful that you made possible - the work that centers on building equal opportunity for justice and prosperity for all Rhode Islanders. But, as we know, we have much more work to do before that becomes a reality.

Last summer, we held small-group conversations with hundreds of Rhode Islanders that informed the development of our new 5-year strategic plan. Those conversations identified the importance of addressing systemic barriers to economic and physical health in our communities. Then, the pandemic underscored the urgency of combatting racial disparities. Addressing inequities has been central to our work, and we plan to expand that effort even more in the coming months.

We look forward to tackling root causes with united solutions… together.

Our Work


Volunteer Center

Managed by our team here at United Way, the Volunteer Center is a statewide, online platform that connects local nonprofits with Rhode Islanders interested in volunteering. The Center is currently used by more than 75 nonprofits and thousands of volunteers throughout the Ocean State.



Last year, 211 answered 205,792 calls, connecting Rhode Islanders with food, housing, addiction recovery services, cyber security assistance, and more. With support from Citizens Bank, 211 continues to partner with POINT and the Cybercrime Support Network.



What does it mean to be an advocate? It means speaking up for all Rhode Islanders, creating solutions for complicated social issues, and raising awareness of these issues. Our policy work is an investment that impacts the future of all Rhode Islanders. 


Out of School Time Learning

In October, we released a report on the State of Out of School Time Learning Programs in Rhode Island, in collaboration with the Rhode Island Foundation and the Rhode Island Afterschool Network.

Among the report’s key findings — demand for Out of School Time programs is so great that 2 out of every 3 applications cannot be funded.


Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

Last tax season, more than 8,935 Rhode Islanders received free preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, resulting in $14,496,932 being returned to their pockets.

In partnership with Citizens Bank, we funded $227,000 to deliver VITA in the Ocean State, leveraging the investment more than sixty times over to benefit low- and moderate-income working Rhode Islanders.


Summer Learning Initiative

This past summer Rhode Island youth, spanning 4 communities and 16 sites, took part in United Way's Summer Learning Initiative, a 6-week program that emphasizes experiential learning and community engagement.

Together with Hasbro, Inc. and Women United, we've developed this program as an innovative solution to summer learning loss.



At 6 a.m. on April 1, 2020, United Way of Rhode Island launched the first 401Gives, a statewide day of giving. With an ambitious goal of $1 million, 401Gives (a nod to the date and R.I.'s beloved area code) raised $1,310,480 for 366 nonprofits from 7,545 generous donors who made 13,377 gifts. Read all about 401Gives 2020 in the community report.

COVID-19 Response

When COVID-19 overwhelmed our communities last spring, nonprofits were there to help in an instant, despite being impacted themselves. To support these local, direct-service nonprofits, United Way of Rhode Island partnered with the Rhode Island Foundation to create the COVID-19 Response Fund.

In 2 months, we raised more than $8.5 million from Rhode Islanders and corporate partners from throughout the state. The funds were rapidly deployed to nearly 200 nonprofits to support their work to provide food, housing, and more. In addition, funding was used to secure medical supplies for healthcare professionals working hard to care for our neighbors every day.

Our Grantees


Equity Opportunity Grants


Adult Ed + Workforce Development


Afterschool + Early Childhood


Financial Coaching




Housing + Homelessness


Olneyville Community Fund


Summer Learning



Our Donors

$13.3 million

given by donors to our neighbors in need

When you support United Way of Rhode Island, you support more than one issue or program - you join a movement for change.



Society Members

Keel Club

Anchor Society &

Boards &

Our Supporters

When Rhode Islanders are passionately engaged in the community they call home, we all benefit.

These groups lead the charge, strengthening our state through giving and volunteerism.

Workplace Giving Campaigns: Why FM Global gives back.

FM Global exemplifies Rhode Islanders’ commitment to helping their neighbors. Headquartered in Johnston, they’re Rhode Island’s largest private company and one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers. Our partner for more than 75 years, FM Global has raised a collective total of more than $75 million through their United Way Workplace Campaign.

Young Leaders Circle participated in 10 events last year where they gave, advocated, and volunteered to help our neighbors.

And, since 2011, they've given more than $1,063,150 to United Way of Rhode Island.

Women United: Leading the Charge, Inspiring the Change

Rhode Island's Women United is committed to bringing about positive change in our community and improving the lives of children in need by closing the gaps in childhood literacy. Last year, they invested $395,000 in literacy and out-of-school-time learning programs. And, since 2012, they've given more than $5.3 million to United Way of Rhode Island.

Our Financials

United Way of Rhode Island pools donations from thousands of Rhode Islanders to solve the state's biggest challenges.

A snapshot of our annual finances from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.


Highlights of the Year

August 2019 (Education)

Westerly Sun: "Summer learners enjoy a 5-Star taste of the real world"

Read more

November 2019 (Education)

Valley Breeze: "Local after-school programs shine in new statewide report"

Read more

December 2019 (Stabilizing Households)

GoLocalProv: "United Way of RI's Free Tax Prep Service Returns Over $27 Million to RIers"

Read more

December 2019 (Community Engagement)

Cranston Herald: "Community leaders honored at United Way's 93rd Annual Celebration"

Read more

January 2020 (Strengthening Nonprofits)

Boston Globe: "Nonprofit Innovation Lab launches today in Rhode Island"

Read more

February 2020 (Basic Needs)

WPRI-12: "United Way RI's 211 hotline sees increase in requests for help"

Read more

March 2020 (COVID-19 Response)

Providence Business News: "United Way, R.I. Foundation create COVID-19 response fund to help nonprofits"

Read more

March 2020 (COVID-19 Response)

Providence Journal: "R.I. Foundation, United Way offer $1.5 million to nonprofits for coronavirus response"

Read more

April 2020 (Strengthening Nonprofits)

Warwick Beacon: "401Gives raises more than $1.2M for nonprofits in single day"

Read more

May 2020 (Housing)

Providence Journal: "Affordable housing urged as 'pathway to economic recovery' in R.I."

Read more

May 2020 (Support for Seniors)

Providence Journal: "Project HELLO: You had me at 'how are you doing today?'"

Read more

May 2020

Nursing homes among nonprofits receiving $1.4 million in new Covid-19 aid

Read more

June 2020 (COVID-19 Response)

Providence Business News: "UWRI makes $600K in operational support funds available to nonprofits impacted by pandemic"

Read more

June 2020

Standing United: A Message from Cortney Nicolato

Read more

Watch: Community First Conversation

July 2020 (COVID-19 Response + Housing)

Providence Journal: "Raimondo launches $7-million rental assistance program with United Way"

Read more

July 2020 (Education/Summer Learning)

Valley Breeze: "Grant helps Woonsocket Summer Learning run through COVID"

Read more

July 2020

COVID-19's Impact on Nonprofits

Read more

July 2020

Community First Conversations welcomed Ana Novais, Deputy Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. She spoke about the important role health equity zones play in the state.

Watch: Community First Conversation

August 2020 (Community Engagement)

Providence Business News: "Rhode Island launches 211 voter information hotline"

Read more