02 Mar

United Way Gains $1M for Nonprofit Center

United Way Receives $1 Million Commitment to Support Creation of Statewide Nonprofit Resource Center

Funding from Papitto Opportunity Connection will accelerate the development of the central, singular center being built to strengthen Rhode Island’s nonprofit sector

Providence, R.I. (March 2, 2022) — The vision shared by local nonprofits and led by United Way of Rhode Island to create a statewide Nonprofit Resource Center has received a major boost in the form of a $1 million commitment from the Papitto Opportunity Connection (POC). The funding will help United Way accelerate the development of the business model of what will be a central, multi-faceted entity aimed at strengthening the state’s nonprofit sector as a whole, and will be spread across four years.

“This is transformational philanthropy that further validates both the need and the desire in our state to realize an organization that exists to broadly support our nonprofits,” said Cortney Nicolato, United Way’s president and CEO. “We are grateful to Barbara Papitto and the POC for embracing this vision, recognizing the opportunity at hand, and stepping up to create lasting impact that will serve our communities for generations to come.”

United Way announced plans to establish Rhode Island’s first and only Nonprofit Resource Center in late January and placed a call for applicants to serve on the Design Team that will help guide its creation. The Center will serve the state’s entire nonprofit ecosystem and work to enhance its capacity while prioritizing the needs and perspectives of BIPOC-led and other small and mid-size nonprofits. This includes providing training, advocacy, visibility, and research to advance organizational resiliency and infrastructure.

In addition to providing essential services, enriching neighborhoods, and supporting and empowering children and families, the state’s nonprofit sector represents a vital component of economic development. Each day, more than 70,000 Rhode Islanders — representing nearly 20 percent of the state’s workforce — go to work for nonprofit organizations that collectively generate $13 billion in annual revenues.

“Making connections is a foundational part of POC and by supporting the Nonprofit Resource Center along with United Way of Rhode Island we can ensure our state’s nonprofit sector is connected to the resources and tools they need to thrive,” said Barbara Papitto, founder and trustee of the Papitto Opportunity Connection.

Creating the Nonprofit Resource Center is a key component of the Invest United pillar of United Way’s LIVE UNITED 2025 plan and advances the goals of strengthening the capacity of the sector and furthering leadership development. United Way also received funding from Rhode Island Commerce Corporation as part of their Network Matching Grant program, which was designed to build support systems for Rhode Island’s small business community.


United Way of Rhode Island is uniting our community and resources to build racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders. A member of the world’s largest nonprofit network, we bring together individuals, businesses, nonprofits, community leaders, and government to tackle the root causes of inequity and achieve specific, measurable goals. Our programs include 211, the statewide front door connecting Rhode Islanders with social services, resources, and vital programs. Both directly and through grants to nonprofits, we are investing to build economic opportunity, advance childhood learning, expand philanthropy, and drive policy and participation. To learn more, visit unitedwayri.org, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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