Providence Reparations

Closing the Present-Day Racial Wealth and Equity Gap

 

 

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On August 22, 2022, the Providence Reparations Commission submitted a detailed report to the City of Providence outlining the Commission’s findings, including a series of recommendations to advance reparations, defined by the Commission as “closing the present-day racial wealth and equity gap.” The report follows two years of engagement driven by Mayor Elorza’s community-driven Executive Order committing the City to a process of Truth, Reconciliation, and municipal Reparations for Black, Indigenous People, and other People of Color.

The “A Matter of Truth” report, which informed the recommendations of the Municipal Reparations Commission, described how race-based discrimination such as municipal, state, and federal government-sanctioned redlining, discriminatory employment and housing practices, urban renewal, and interstate highway improvements deconstructed neighborhoods largely composed of people of African heritage and limited-income including Fox Point, Upper South Providence, West Elmwood, College Hill and Lippitt Hill during the 20th century. The Report begins in pre-1600 and concludes with the African heritage legacy continued beyond 2020.

To address the findings from the Truth, Reconciliation and municipal Reparations process, in its report, the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission recommended that the City of Providence and/or external partners implement an 11-Point Investment Plan that advances reparations, defined as “closing the present-day racial wealth and equity gap.” Those recommendations include:

  1. Recognition of Harm
  2. Equity Building for African Heritage and Indigenous Communities
  3. Creation and Development of African Heritage and Indigenous Media, Technology and Communication Companies
  4. Creation of African Heritage and Indigenous Development Programs
  5. Review and Reformation of Laws and Policies that Harm African Heritage and Indigenous People and Communities
  6. Movement Towards a More Equitable Healthcare System for African Heritage and Indigenous People
  7. Creation of Neighborhood Incubator(s) Focused on African Heritage and Indigenous Communities
  8. Accelerate the Evolution of the African American Ambassadors Group (AAAG) into an African Heritage Public Policy Institute Model
  9. Creation of an “African Heritage and Indigenous Survivors and Descendants of Providence Urban Renewal Displacement” Fund
  10. Expanded Representation of African Heritage and Indigenous People in Governing Bodies
  11. Expansion of Cultural Engagement and Educational Opportunities for African Heritage and Indigenous Communities

Based on the recommendations of the Reparations Commission, a budget plan has been approved for the $10 million allocated for the COVID-19 Inequities Fund in the City’s American Rescue Plan Act budget. The budget “Closing the Racial Wealth and Equity Gap: A Proposed Budget for Municipal Reparations,” outlines investments in categories such as homeownership and financial literacy, education and healthcare. The full budget proposal can be found here.

NOW, FUNDING IS AVAILABLE TO ADVANCE THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE REPARATIONS COMMISSION! APPLY TODAY!

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Funding is available to advance reparations. Check out the opportunities/applications below for specific information on the funds available and how to apply. If you need help navigating the applications below, please call (401)421-2489 or email reparations@providenceri.gov.

Requests for Proposals/Open Applications

Expanding Operational Capacity Grant Program

Funding Available: $1,000,000

All applications for this program must be submitted by December 9, 2022 at 4PM

The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) hereby notifies interested applicants of the availability of funds allocated from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for grant funding. The availability and use of these funds is subject to federal regulations and is further subject to the City of Providence’s policies and program requirements. The Expanding Operational Capacity Grant Program is designed to increase the capacity of nonprofit organizations to provide supportive business, cultural, and social services to communities through the provision of capital funding grants. These capital funding grants can be used to improve the physical spaces of those nonprofit organizations. Capital improvement projects have many lasting benefits for nonprofit organizations and communities that they serve, such as increasing a nonprofit’s ability to occupy a dedicated space or building, lessening the chance of displacement, and offering increased visibility, stability, and overall capacity to carry out the mission of the organization.

For more information on this program, or to apply, please click here.

Earn and Learn Workforce Development Program

Funding Available: $1,000,000

All bids are due by December 5, 2022 by 2:15pm. 

The City of Providence Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) seeks proposals that deliver effective and innovative Earn & Learn workforce training programs run by eligible and qualified workforce training organizations. The proposal submissions should clearly define how the grant award will support the applicant organization’s ability to increase the workforce preparedness, career awareness, education and/or skills attainment, and job placement of eligible residents in the City of Providence. The proposed programs and initiatives should include outcomes such as competency-based training curriculum, assessment strategies, recommendations for instructional aides and resume building capabilities.

To read the entire request for proposals and learn more, click here or visit the City of Providence’s Current Bids webpage.

Feasibility Study for Advancing African Heritage-Owned Radio/Media Services

Funding Available: $250,000

All bids are due by December 5, 2022 by 2:15pm.

The City of Providence Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is issuing a Request For Proposals (RFP) to Qualified Bidders to develop a Feasibility Study to aid the City of Providence in developing a plan and a pathway to advance African heritage and Indigenous-owned media firms, (i.e., radio, podcast, television, digital platforms, broadband-access, etc.) as an important means to providing representative media content to the diverse Providence population. Media services may include formats such as online and social media, and broadcast radio. Qualified Bidders are encouraged to recognize innovations in media technology that are adaptable to quickly changing information modes.

The primary and target media audiences include the following populations: African heritage and Indigenous as defined within the City of Providence Municipal Reparations report along with residents within underserved neighborhoods as defined through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) as “Qualified Census Tracts.”

To read the entire request for proposals and learn more, click here or visit the City of Providence’s Current Bids webpage.

Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Disparity Study

Funding Available: $300,000

All bids are due by December 5, 2022 by 2:15pm.

The City of Providence Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) seeks a qualified firm to conduct and provide the results of a complete and legally supportable Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) disparity study to inform and support the need for programs to enhance participation in City of Providence contracts by business enterprises. The purpose of the study is to assess research and evaluate any disparities that exist between MWBEs becoming qualified to apply for and be considered for the awarding of public contracts and overall utilization by the City of Providence. The successful Bidder will have experience conducting a MWBE disparity and related studies. The objective of the Bidder is to provide complete statistically sound and legally defensible analyses of the City’s contracting and procurement activities to determine any disparities existing in the utilization of MWBEs. The data collection, analysis and report generated by the successful Bidder for the City of Providence Office of Economic Development disparity study will follow and comply with the legal framework set forth in the United States Supreme Court decision. The results of the successful Bidder should be reliable for the reinforcement and reestablishment of standards required for the City to address any significant disparities identified. Qualified Bidders are invited to submit Proposals for the work in accordance with the terms and conditions presented in this RFP.

To read the entire request for proposals and learn more, click here or visit the City of Providence’s Current Bids webpage.

Recruitment and Support to Expand Minority Certification

Funding Available: $265,000 

All bids are due by December 5, 2022 by 2:15pm.

The City of Providence’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program connects certified businesses with opportunities to sell their products and services to City of Providence departments. The goal is to promote fairness and equity in the City’s procurement process to increase M/WBE’s participation and support economic prosperity for minority and women-owned businesses.

The City of Providence Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is seeking qualified proposals that deliver technical services related to assisting WBE/MBE, and DBEs become certified in the State of Rhode Island. This certification would assist in the City of Providence overarching participation goal.

To read the entire request for proposals and learn more, click here or visit the City of Providence’s Current Bids webpage.

Black Policy and Equity Institute Seed Funding

Funding Available: $150,000

All bids are due by December 5, 2022 by 2:15pm.

The City of Providence’s African American Ambassador’s Group (AAAG) invites proposals from community-focused organizations to continue the work of the AAAG to transform systems and policies that will decrease and/or prevent continued racism and inequities related to the social determinants of health for African Heritage and Indigenous peoples across the state of Rhode Island.

 To read the entire request for proposals and learn more, click here or visit the City of Providence’s Current Bids webpage.

Covid-19 Equity Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement

Funding Available: $100,000

All bids are due by December 5, 2022 by 2:15pm.

The primary goal of COVID-19 Equity Program, as established by the reparation commission, is to “close the present-day racial wealth and equity gap.” The “racial wealth gap” refers to the difference in assets owned by different racial or ethnic groups.  This gap results from a range of historical, structural, and economic factors that affect the overall economic well-being of these different groups. Components of the racial wealth gap include, but are not limited to, differences in income, debt, and home-ownership rates. Nationally, the average Black household has approximately 15-20% of the net wealth of the average White household.

In order to understand and assess the impacts of the programs and projects funded through the COVID-19 Equity Program, the City is seeking proposals from qualified research teams to conduct an independent evaluation of the performance and impact of this suite of programs. In particular, the City seeks to better understand the City’s existing racial wealth and equity gap, and how the use of these funds impacts existing disparities.

To read the entire request for proposals and learn more, click here or visit the City of Providence’s Current Bids webpage.

Creation of a Fund for Home-based Child Care Providers

Funding Available: $250,000

All bids are due by December 5, 2022 by 2:15pm.

The City of Providence is seeking one or more bidders to design and launch a pilot of a shared service cohort for home-based child care providers in Providence. This funding originates from the 11th recommendation within the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission, Expansion of Cultural Engagement and Educational Opportunities for African Heritage and Indigenous Communities. In recognizing the facility grants currently available from the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence, as well as professional development opportunities made available by state departments and the SEIU education and support fund, this RFP is intended to support home-based child care by centralizing key business services and expenses that providers struggle to access consistently.

This shared service cohort will allow member organizations to strengthen back-office expertise and alleviate the financial and capacity burdens that business-side responsibilities present for sole providers and small family-based providers. This shared service cohort will allow providers to focus on education and child-centric care and create a better opportunity for financial stability. This model should be targeted towards providers offering fully subsidized care to families, as subsidy rates remain well below their actual operating costs. The shared service cohort must be designed to meet the eligibility criteria enumerated within the municipal reparations commission’s report. This pilot will encompass recruitment of one or more cohorts of providers, coordination with these providers to prioritize and customize services to meet their unique needs, and evaluation and assessment of the result and impact of this shared services model.

To read the entire request for proposals and learn more, click here or visit the City of Providence’s Current Bids webpage.

Creation of Resident Scholarship Fund & Expansion of Youth Internship Program

Funding Available: $750,000

All bids are due by December 5, 2022 by 2:15pm.

The City of Providence is seeking one or more bidders to design and launch a pilot of a shared service cohort for home-based child care providers in Providence. This funding originates from the 11th recommendation within the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission, Expansion of Cultural Engagement and Educational Opportunities for African Heritage and Indigenous Communities. In recognizing the facility grants currently available from the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence, as well as professional development opportunities made available by state departments and the SEIU education and support fund, this RFP is intended to support home-based child care by centralizing key business services and expenses that providers struggle to access consistently.

This shared service cohort will allow member organizations to strengthen back-office expertise and alleviate the financial and capacity burdens that business-side responsibilities present for sole providers and small family-based providers. This shared service cohort will allow providers to focus on education and child-centric care and create a better opportunity for financial stability. This model should be targeted towards providers offering fully subsidized care to families, as subsidy rates remain well below their actual operating costs. The shared service cohort must be designed to meet the eligibility criteria enumerated within the municipal reparations commission’s report. This pilot will encompass recruitment of one or more cohorts of providers, coordination with these providers to prioritize and customize services to meet their unique needs, and evaluation and assessment of the result and impact of this shared services model.

To read the entire request for proposals and learn more, click here or visit the City of Providence’s Current Bids webpage.

Expanding Cultural Engagement and Providing Educational Opportunities

Funding Available: $350,000

All bids are due by December 5, 2022 by 2:15pm.

The City of Providence is seeking a bidder, or a cohort of organizations, to expand the cultural engagement and educational opportunities for youth in the City of Providence. A successful bidder will likely need to formulate strategic partnerships with multiple entities in order to bring the expertise and capacity necessary to bid on three unique projects contained within Section 3: Scope of Services.

The goals for the resulting programs include:

  • Development of foundational materials needed for a culturally responsive educational model that will advance an awareness and understanding of the culturally diverse history of Rhode Island and New England.
  • Advancement student understanding of their own history and heritage.
  • Creation of a K-12 curriculum that allows the "A Matter of Truth'' report to be taught in schools located in Providence, in addition to other materials that could be used in afterschool or out-of-time programs.
  • Curricula for Providence and Rhode Island schools could be developed within US history, Rhode Island history, Civics, and/or Ethnic Studies coursework & accommodates a wider reach of learners including MLLs, special education, home based, etc.
  •  Raising public awareness and appreciation of the city's history of diverse populations, customs, and practices.
  • A feasibility study with the intention of establishing an African Heritage & Indigenous History School
  • Principles by which an African Heritage and Indigenous History School be guided.
  • Recommended mission, principles, governance model, structure, and impact of said model.
  •  Public awareness and appreciation of the city's history of diverse populations, customs, and practices.
  • Capitalize the funds through matching gifts from partnering educational and charitable institutions.

To read the entire request for proposals and learn more, click here or visit the City of Providence’s Current Bids webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an RFP?
A RFP is a request for proposals. An RFP often announces a project/program and is an open call to submit an application for consideration.

What is a NOFA?
A NOFA is a notice of funding available. A NOFA often announces funding that is available for a project/program and is an open call to submit an application for consideration.

Who is eligible to apply for RFPs and NOFAs?
Anyone who meets the qualifications listed in a RFP or NOFA.

Where did funding come from?
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 into law to bring direct and immediate funding to states, counties, municipalities and other governmental units across the country. These funds-Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF)- are to be used by state and local governments to address the devastating public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Providence received approximately $166M in SLRF funds, which were distributed via municipal ordinance into various categories in May 2021 and June 2022.

The June 2022 ordinance included an infusion of $10M into the COVID-19 Inequities Fund. The purpose of this funding is to address the lingering disparities resulting from injuries suffered by African Heritage and Indigenous communities as outlined in Truth-Telling and Reconciliation phases of a three-phase process.

How did Providence get to this point?
On July 15, 2020, Mayor Elorza, joined by members of the African American Ambassadors Group (AAAG) and community members, enacted a community-driven Executive Order committing the City to a process of Truth, Reconciliation, and municipal Reparations for Black, Indigenous People, and other people of color in Providence.

Then, on March, 29 2021, Mayor Elorza joined local historians and community members to announce the African American Ambassadors Group (AAAG) Truth-Telling report: A Matter of Truth. The report includes a comprehensive analysis of the role of the City of Providence and State of Rhode Island in supporting a “separate and unequal” existence for African heritage, Indigenous, and people of color.

Driven by the findings in the A Matter of Truth report, on February 28, 2022, Mayor Elorza joined joined Reconciliation project leaders, and community members to announce the Framework for Reconciliation and sign a community-driven Executive Order establishing the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission to address the injuries outlined in the Truth Telling and Reconciliation phases and provide clear recommendations to the City on appropriate policies, programs, and projects to begin repairing harm. The Commission had 13 members, with seven members appointed by Mayor Elorza and six members appointed by the Providence City Council.

A municipal reparations commission was formed to provide clear recommendations to the City on appropriate policies, programs and projects to begin addressing lingering disparities. The commission authored a detailed 11-point investment strategy that articulates specific recommendations, grounded in community feedback and research, for how the City should spend the $10M COVID-19 Inequities Fund. Further, the commission authored a set of ARPA-compliant eligibility criteria that specifies the intended recipients of the funding and/or programming resulting in the administration of the $10M. Details of the eligibility criteria can be found on pages 12-14 of the 11-point investment strategy report.

What is the funding criteria for reparations investments?
The Commission undertook significant deliberations to develop an eligibility policy that reflected both the history of racialized discrimination within the City of Providence dating back to nearly four centuries, and also the on-going effects still influencing the present day. While noting this history of discrimination began with Indigenous land-taking and African enslavement, it soon evolved into newer forms of intolerance that were constantly placed upon non-white residents.

The eligibility definitions also recognize residents who may not have been harmed by early injustices to Indigenous inhabitants and enslaved Africans, but were injured by the lingering legacy of disenfranchisement and enslavement due to their Indigenous and African heritage once they arrived to the city in later years. In recognizing these irrefutable demographic facts, the Commission adopted four eligibility categories for recommended reparations investments that would most accurately reflect the City of Providence’s unique history and also respond to the residents in the present day with the most measurable need.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE – People who are a part of social and cultural groups that share collective ancestral ties before the European settlement of Providence and Rhode Island, including the natural resources where they live, inhabit, or from which they have been displaced.

AFRICAN HERITAGE PEOPLE – An ethnic group consisting of people with ancestry originating from sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the city’s African heritage residents include, but are not limited to, African American, African, Bi-racial, Afro-Latino, Cape Verdean, and Afro-Caribbean.

QUALIFIED CENSUS TRACTS & NEIGHBORHOODS – Under the final U.S. Treasury ARPA rule, recipients of funding “were allowed to presume that families residing in Qualified Census Tracts (QCT) or receiving services provided by Tribal governments were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.” Providence QCTs eligible for these programs include Upper and Lower South Providence, Washington Park, Mount Hope (Lippitt Hill), Olneyville, Fox Point, Hartford, Elmwood, Smith Hill, Wanskuck, and Manton.

RESIDENTS FACING POVERTY – Providence residents/households earning less than 50% of the Area Median Income that are considered to be very low-income. Preference given to residents/households earning less than 30% of AMI who are considered to be extremely low-income households. Individuals who are eligible for programming include:

• Residents who were born in the City of Providence or,

• Non-College students who have lived in Providence, Rhode Island for a minimum of three (3) years or,

• For people who moved to Providence to attend a college or university, three (3) years from the last date of enrollment.