How We Work
The Papitto Opportunity Connection (POC) provides grants, scholarships, and microloans to unique and narrative changing programs that are designed to create success stories for Rhode Island’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. We operate differently than many foundations, and we do so purposefully.
First, we make investments only to organizations or individuals whose activities primarily benefit people of color living in the State of Rhode Island. We do so by actively engaging with and listening to the people who would benefit most from the investments made by POC. We regularly have conversations, small and large, across the Ocean State in the neighborhoods where our investments can make a difference. By listening and doing our homework, we are better able to work with non-profit community organizations, individuals and entrepreneurs who have game-changing ideas that will benefit the BIPOC communities of our state.
Second, we use a “Trust-based Philanthropy Approach” that is based on open, honest, and transparent communication. Our Board of Advisors consists of individuals entirely from Rhode Island’s BIPOC communities – African-heritage, Indigenous, Hispanic, Southeast Asian, and Southern Asian – each of whom provides a unique perspective on the needs of their communities.
Third, POC is a private family foundation that does not accept donations from any individual or organization under the Internal Revenue Service Code. That means we don’t raise funds to support our work. All of our funds come from our foundation.
Frequently Asked Questions
When and How:
POC provides grant funding to Rhode Island-based organizations that are recognized 501 (C)(3) entities under the Internal Revenue Service code, and that hold a current certificate of good standing from the Rhode Island Secretary of State.
Unsolicited requests for funding consideration by the Board of Advisors will be accepted twice each year; between June 1-15 and again between December 1-15.
Applications for the RI Bar Foundation Scholarship, and for the Brown University Urban Education Fellowship, which are funded by POC, follow guidelines set by the RI Bar Foundation and Brown and each has a unique deadline. Information about each, including deadlines for applications can be found on line at ribar.com and brown.edu
Applications for the Transform RI Scholarship follow guidelines that can be found here.
The Grant Proposal Process and What is Required
As an organization following the principles of trust-based philanthropy we believe strongly in making the process as easy and simple as possible for those seeking funding. If you are seeking funding for an existing program, we want to know how you’ve done so far and whether your program has worked. If this is a new program, we want to know how you believe you’ll be able to make an impact over the duration of your request.
We fund educational, job-skills, and entrepreneurial programs that benefit or support the BIPOC communities in Rhode Island. There are several categories of activities that we do not fund under any circumstances:
– Building construction
– Capital campaigns
– Lobbying of government entities
– Political campaigns or events
(Note: Rhode Island-based programs for Indigenous peoples who are impacted in Connecticut and Massachusetts are also eligible for consideration.)
Please use this application if you are a 501(C) (3) entity seeking a grant to support a program.
The POC Microloan Program
If you are a for-profit business, person or entity, POC has funded several microloan programs that are administered by community service organizations working in Rhode Island’s communities of color. These programs are administered by the Rhode Island Black Business Association, Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Center for Southeast Asians. Each of these organizations has set its own lending limits and eligibility criteria.
POC also makes a limited number of larger microloans available to for-profit business each year. For profit businesses must be in good standing with the RI Secretary of State to be eligible to receive a POC microloan.
If you are a for-profit business seeking a microloan, please use this application.
Once a proposal is received it will initially be reviewed to ensure that the request falls within the mission of POC. If so, we may request a meeting to further discuss your proposal and how you intend to make an impact in the BIPOC communities of Rhode Island. During this time, we may suggest mutually beneficial changes to your proposal based on an ongoing conversation.
When the proposal is in final form, it will be reviewed and discussed by the Board of Advisors who will make the decision on whether to grant a funding request. Organizations and individuals who are seeking funding based on a proposal to POC can generally expect a decision on their request within 45-60-days.
What Happens Once a Proposal is Funded?
Once a funding request has been approved, POC will enter into an agreement with the receiving organization or individual for the duration of the funding request. For requests larger than $350,000 per year the agreement will generally include agreed-upon anticipated performance metrics which will be reviewed as part of a reporting requirement and discussion with POC on at least an annual basis. POC will provide funding by check, only, within 10 business days following execution of the agreement. POC does not publicize the specific amount of an individual grant or microloan (except for academic scholarships). We believe it’s more important to talk about the impact of your program than it is about the amount of money you have received. POC reports its funding amounts and recipients to the IRS as required by law.
We want to hear from the BIPOC communities of Rhode Island to listen and understand where and how we can help to make and support fundamental change. Relying on our trust-based philanthropy approach, while we will ask for sufficient information to help us to measure success, we may not require funded organizations to develop and prepare full-scale reports detailing all their work each year. But we do want to have regular reporting as well as in-person or remote conversations to hear what you’re doing and confirm that things are going as planned, or if we need to work together to change course or alter direction. We will also send you a questionnaire near the anniversary of your receipt of funding from POC to ask you some questions about how you were able to impact communities of color in Rhode Island with POC funding. It’s all about trust, transparency, listening and conversation. Together.