9 city non-profits receive $1.3M in Champlin grants

Warwick Beacon ·

Nine Warwick non-profits and three Cranston organizations have received grants totaling more than $1.4 million in the last week from the Champlin Foundations. The grants fund a variety of projects from equipment for the cardiac catheterization lab at Kent Hospital to new uniforms for the Pawtuxet Rangers to energy saving software for the Hall Library.

Statewide, 173 grants totaling $16,137,155 were announced Monday by the foundations’ executive director, Keith H. Lang.

“We never run out of opportunities [to fund worthwhile projects],” Lang said disclosing that the foundation received 386 grant applications of which 341 met foundation guidelines. In all, grant applications totaled $30 million. He said at $16.1 million, total awards were down about $2 million from last year, which, he explained is a function of what the foundation is required to distribute by Internal Revenue Service regulations, timing and market performance.

“I anticipate we’ll be bouncing back to $18 million [next year],” he said.

This year's grants bring the total given away to nearly $551 million since the Champlin Foundation was founded in 1932. Of that amount, $543 million has been distributed since the death of George S. Champlin of Warwick in 1980. The Champlin family was at the forefront of business and industry in Rhode Island for three generations. The Champlin fortune dates back to 1872 when the jewelry manufacturing company S.B. Champlin Company was founded.

George S. Champlin and his sisters, Florence Champlin Hamilton and Hope Champlin Neaves, established The Champlin Foundation Trust in 1932. A second foundation was established in 1947 and a third in 1975.

Virtually all communities in Rhode Island have benefited from at least one Champlin grant and more than 900 non-profits have received Champlin grants over the years. This year there were 10 first-time recipients that received $878,180 of the total awarded.

As in past years, the foundation largely makes grants for capital improvements focused in the categories of animal/humane, cultural/artistic, education, hospitals/healthcare, historic preservation, libraries, open space/conservation/parks/environment, social services and youth/fitness.

One of the major efforts this year, Lang explained, is to support Rhode Island Foundation’s $10 million campaign to restore Roger Williams Park to its former glory as part of its 100th anniversary celebration. Champlin has awarded a $778,000 grant for capital improvements to the park casino, boathouse and Temple of Music. An additional $750,000 grant was awarded to the Rhode Island Zoological Society for construction of a transfer station, commissary and guard shacks all part of the Rainforest Building Project.

In Warwick and Cranston, the checks arriving last week were excitedly received.

Winman Junior High School Librarian Mary Tow, who worked on a grant application with art teacher Susan Morgan, said Monday meetings are being scheduled for the creation of a STEAM Lab (science, technology, engineer, art and mathematics) that will be funded with a $91,045 Champlin grant.

Lang said the Winman grant was one of four awarded to schools under a competitive process. Tow said the plan is for the school to use a former woodworking shop for a lab outfitted with equipment including 3-D printers, robots, video cameras and sewing machines to provide more hands on educational opportunities.

“They are so excited to be learning when they are making something,” she said. Some of the equipment would also be in a “maker space” in the library. Tow and Morgan’s vision is to have all Winman students use the lab during their tenure at the school and integrate its use into the curriculum.

The William Hall Library received $83,000. Roughly $40,000 will be used to upgrade the HVAC system, replacing the condenser and improving heat and A/C service in the building, according to Ed Garcia, library director for the Cranston Public Library system. The remainder will fund the installation of an energy management system to regulate temperature in the library via software, leading to improvements in patron comfort and reduced energy costs.

“The Cranston Public Library is thankful for the support the Champlin Foundation provides to libraries across the state, including the Cranston system” said Garcia. The Cranston Public Library system has received over $500,000 in recent years from the Champlin Foundation, and according to Garcia, the renovation of the Central Library’s children’s room, funded by a previous grant, will begin in a week or so, and should be finished by spring.

The timing of $101,125 grant to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Warwick couldn’t have been better Lara D’Antuono said yesterday. The club submitted an application to purchase a new bus as well as for enhanced security systems, interior painting and camperships.

About two weeks ago, before any announcement of grant awards, the club bus, used to bring kids to and from clubhouse in Oakland Beach and Norwood, broke down. The club rented a bus and ordered a new one although they had no sure way of paying for it.

“We were crossing our finger and toes and everything we could [in hopes of getting the grant],” said D’Antuono. The new bus costing $55,400 is already in service.

As for added security measures at the two clubs, D’Antuono said that while “our clubs rank high for safety” she is looking to make conditions even better with more cameras and buzzers. Major Robert Nelson of Warwick Police and a member of the club’s board of governors is working on the project and several security companies are developing proposals, she said.

“We are very lucky,” D’Antuono said, “we are glad they recognized the safety of the kids at the club.”

The largest of the grants going to a Warwick-based nonprofit is for $709,565 to Kent Hospital, for the purchase of equipment for the hospital’s new angioplasty program.

“We are deeply grateful to The Champlin Foundations for helping us fulfill a life-saving need in our community with support for state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization equipment,” Michael Dacey, MD, president and COO of Kent Hospital said in a statement.

“Not only does this grant represent a critical investment in helping to treat some of our most seriously ill patients, but through the years generous grant support from The Champlin Foundations has been instrumental in helping Kent Hospital provide the very best care to the residents of Kent County and southern Rhode Island. They have been true partners in the care of our patients and families.”

Kent Hospital recently dedicated the Robert E. Baute, MD Cardiac Catheterization Lab where elective angioplasty is currently being performed, with emergency angioplasty expected soon. The lab cost $4.5 million.

Other Cranston and Warwick organizations receiving grants and how they will be used are: the Rhode Island Bar Foundation, $25,000 to support the Thomas F. Black, Jr. Scholarship Fund; the Hope Alzheimer’s Center, $3255 to replace the reception desk; the Gaspee Days Committee, $13,260 for an all-weather stage, storage trailer and wheel lock; the Pawtuxet rangers, $15,000 for new uniform coats, hats and accouterments; Thundermist Health Center, $131,430 for three dental operatories at the Woonsocket dental clinic; Ocean State Libraries, $42,000 for barcode scanners to be distributed across the consortium; Warwick Public Library, $25,650 for self-check and security related upgrades and the Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England, $177,750 for a 3-yurt complex at Camp Cookie in Glocester and camperships.

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