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BankNewport Awards $45,000 in Grants to Aid Education and Workforce Development Organizations


NEWPORT, RI (June 14, 2022) – BankNewport is pleased to announce that it has awarded $45,000 in grants to five organizations in Rhode Island that provide education, training and workforce development: DownCity Design, East Bay Community Action Program, FirstWorks, Providence Promise, Rhode Island Tutorial and Education Services, and Save The Bay.

“As a true community bank, supporting those who support our neighbors is essential to our mission,” said Jack Murphy, President & CEO, BankNewport. “We are extremely proud to contribute to the nonprofit community throughout Rhode Island who perform tireless and selfless work to care for those in need.”

DownCity Design was founded in 2009 to empower people to imagine and create a better future for their communities using design. Since its founding, over 2200 participants in the free afterschool and summer design programs have collaboratively built more than 85 permanent amenities for public spaces in and around Providence, including community gardens, outdoor classrooms for public schools and creative play structures for parks. BankNewport’s grant will support the organization’s digital literacy and workforce development efforts.

“Generous funding from BankNewport enabled us to acquire 10 new laptops that will help low-income youth and adults in our free programs learn new career skills and create service projects for our most vulnerable communities,” said Adrienne Gagnon, Executive Director. “We are so grateful for their support.”

East Bay Community Action Program provides high-quality, comprehensive and accessible health and human services to assist people to achieve their fullest potential. BankNewport’s grant will support the organization’s Newport Youth Center and its subsidized employment & GED attainment efforts. “The support received from BankNewport for East Bay Community Action Program’s Youth Centers is a sound investment in the futures of 17 teens who reside in the East Bay region,” said Angela Downing, Senior Director, Workforce Development & Social Services. “In addition to purchasing technology for use by participants, the BankNewport grant supported subsidized internship opportunities in an array of industries, including: automotive, education, Information Technology, medical, retail, performing arts, boating, marine trades, and social services.”

FirstWorks, a Providence-based nonprofit organization with a mission to enrich the social, educational and economic fabric of Rhode Island by engaging diverse audiences with world-class performing arts experience and catalyzing partnerships that foster equitable access to the arts. BankNewport’s grant will support the organization’s expanded arts education offerings in Newport.

“BankNewport has played a special role in expanding FirstWorks’ Arts Education program to Newport– earlier this month students of Pell Elementary joyously came together in their first assembly all year,” said FirstWorks Executive Artistic Director, Kathleen Pletcher. “Over 100 students created music alongside Sidy Maiga, a Rhode Island-based, master percussionist from Mali. Thanks to BankNewport, FirstWorks is championing the arts as essential to building back Rhode Island through programs that connect students to world class artistry and their own creativity.”

Providence Promise is a parent-driven partnership that provides a foundation to support Providence Public School and Charter School students to continue their education after high-school. The BankNewport funds will enhance the organization’s financial empowerment and family engagement in BNWise, the Bank’s financial education platform.

“Providence Promise is so excited about BankNewport’s support of its Early Scholarship Program, which provides additional funds to the college savings accounts of our students,” said Madalyn Ciampi, Executive Director. “This grant will be used to provide Early Scholarships to families who participate in financial literacy programming and we look forward to working with BankNewport to both facilitate financial literacy sessions and provide college savings incentives to all who participate.”

Rhode Island Tutorial & Education Services (RITES) provides highly qualified support to children struggling with reading and math. BankNewport’s grant will support the organization’s specialized literacy techniques.

“BankNewport’s philanthropic support helps us to provide important tools and supplies for more than 300 kids for the academic school year,” said Lisa Bigney, Co-Founder & Director. “These tools help students achieve important milestones in reading comprehension. We are so thrilled to have BankNewport’s support to help us develop strong learners.”

Save The Bay is the voice for Narragansett Bay through advocacy, education, and habitat restoration and adaptation. BankNewport’s grant will support STEM education experiences, both in-person and via distance learning.

“Over our 35 years of providing environmental education programs to students in Providence and throughout the Narragansett Bay watershed, we know just how impactful these kinds of experiences can be,” said Save The Bay Director of Education Bridget Prescott. “It’s hard to put a price tag on the value of a student learning about the ecosystems, the animals, the habitats right outside their door. We believe that every student has a right to these experiences, no matter where they live or where they go to school. Unfortunately, program costs—especially transportation costs—can prevent a school from exploring these opportunities. We are so grateful to BankNewport for their support, which has allowed us to lessen these financial barriers and helped us continue delivering meaningful programs to Providence students throughout the 2021-2022 school year.”

From left to right: Wendy E. Kagan, Executive Vice President/Chief Engagement Officer, BankNewport; Kathleen Pletcher, Executive Artistic Director, FirstWorks; and Jamil Jorge, Education Director, FirstWorks.

From left to right: Adrienne Gagnon, Executive Director, DownCity Design; and Carmen Diaz Jusino, Vice President/Community Development Officer, BankNewport.

About BankNewport:

Founded in 1819 and headquartered in Newport, BankNewport offers a full suite of loan and deposit products and services for families and businesses throughout Rhode Island. BankNewport is one of the longest-standing community banks in the United States and, as a mutual organization, is committed to the financial success of its customers, employees and communities. BankNewport has 18 branch locations, with commercial lending offices in Cumberland and Providence. BankNewport business lines include OceanPoint Marine Lending, specializing in consumer marine and recreational vehicle financing programs, and OceanPoint Insurance, a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency, providing a broad range of property casualty insurance products, including employee benefits and marine related insurance products.