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 accepts proposals for funding – grants, loans or scholarships – in several different ways.
- 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 annually.
- Applications for the POC/RI Bar Association Scholarship and for the POC/Brown University Urban Education Fellowship follow guidelines set by the RI Bar Association 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
- Members of the Board of Advisors of POC may, at any time, also bring forward a request for funding by an organization or individual based on identified needs within the community.
The Proposal Process and What is Required
As an organization following the principals of trust-based philanthropy we believe strongly in making the process as easy and simple as possible for those seeking funding. Rather than requiring those seeking a grant or low interest microloan to spend a significant amount of time on paperwork, we ask you to make a proposal that discusses the following:
- Who you are, your mission and how you serve the BIPOC communities in Rhode Island?
- What are you seeking in financial support from POC? A low interest microloan or a grant? Please tell us how much you are seeking and discuss the program POC will potentially be funding during each year of your request. (Most programs are funded for an initial period of one to three years.)
- How many BIPOC people, in what community and what cities and towns in Rhode Island will the funding provided by POC impact?
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’d like to know how you believe you’ll be able to make an impact over the duration of your request.
We fund educational, job-skills programs and entrepreneurial ideas 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
(Note: Rhode Island-based programs for Indigenous peoples who are impacted in Connecticut and Massachusetts are also eligible for consideration.)
Once a proposal is received it will initially be reviewed to ensure that the request falls within the mission of POC. If so, we will likely 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 or contract with the receiving organization or individual for the duration of the funding request. For requests larger than $350,000 per year the contract will generally include agreed-upon anticipated performance metrics which will be reviewed as part of a conversation with POC on an annual basis. POC will provide funding by check, only, within 10 business days following execution of the agreement or contract. 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 does report 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 generally won’t require funded organizations to develop and prepare full-scale reports detailing all their work each year. But we do want to have regular 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. It’s all about trust, transparency, listening and conversation. Together.