Dept. of Commerce Awards RIC Federal Funds to Assist Underserved Rhode Islanders

May 14, 2002
(Warwick, R.I.)–Congressman Jim Langevin today announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce's (DOC) Economic Development Administration has awarded Rhode Island College (RIC) $40,000.

    According to the DOC, the federal funds will be used to support the Rhode Island Office of Statewide Planning to effectively integrate distressed populations of the state that have not historically been included in the economic development process as part of the Administration's commitment to keep American working.

        "Thanks to this federal award, Rhode Island College will be able to reach out to disadvantaged areas of Rhode Island in the hopes of providing people with opportunities to succeed," said Congressman Langevin, an alumnus of Rhode Island College.  "Working with the Rhode Island Office of Statewide Planning, Rhode Island College will be breaking new ground in empowering to those who may be struggling and unaware of the federal assistance available to them and their families."

        The grant allows the emerging Public Policy Center Project at RIC to work with the Office of Statewide Planning Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy to reach out to underserved minority and immigrant populations in the urban areas of Providence.  Such outreach will include a series of three training sessions for neighborhood and community leaders in the poorest areas of the state.  The workshops will work with local neighborhood and community groups to identify potential sources of grant support and fundable economic development projects.

        RIC hopes that various social, environmental, and economic disadvantages experienced by residents of the state's most distressed areas will be addressed thanks in part to this federal grant.

        According to the project director, Dr. Victor L. Profughi, of RIC's Center for Public Policy Project, "A principal anticipated outcome of the EDA capacity building grant is to help neighborhood and community groups outside the normal funding loop write successful grant proposals so that they will become an integral part of economic development in their communities.  It is our hope, and expectation, that this initial EDA grant, along with our collaboration with Statewide Planning, is the first step in what will become a growing network of relationships serving the people of our state." 

        Those groups that the Rhode Island College will work with include: Center for Hispanic Action, International Institute of Rhode Island, Progresso Latino, Proyecto Esperanza, West Broadway Neighborhood Association, Armory Revival Company, Stop Wasting Abandon Property, The Elmwood Foundation, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, Tides Family Services, Children's Friend and Service and the John Hope Settlement House.