Melville Elementary wins $10K grant to create sunshade roof

The following post was updated on Monday, Aug. 27, at 11:30 a.m. after The Foundation provided a clarification. 

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — A sunshade roof for an outdoor classroom is coming to Melville Elementary School thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. The project is 1 of just 47 statewide to win funding from the Foundation’s competitive Community Grants Program.

Construction begins for Melville’s outdoor classroom

“We’re excited about these ideas for making community happen in more and better ways at the local level. Supporting community-building will improve shared places and quality of life, promote collaboration and increase community engagement,” said Jessica David, executive vice president of strategy and community investments. “We’re grateful to have donors who invest in our work and partners like these that understand the needs of their community.”

Melville Elementary received the $10,000 grant to install a 30′ x 30’open-sided, sunshade roof for Melville’s outdoor classroom, which is currently under construction.

“We hope this will serve as a model for other communities to look to in the future. It will incorporate sustainable green infrastructure with an outdoor educational program, designed to help mitigate stormwater runoff issues that involves the students and educates simultaneously. It will be a place families can enjoy as well when school is out of session,” said Sara Churgin, district manager of the Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District, which is working with the school on the project.

Construction begins for Melville’s outdoor classroom

Melville Elementary is one of seven area projects to win funding through the Community Grants program. The Foundation awarded nearly $86,000 in grants for programs and services in Newport County.

The area organizations that won funding include Bike Newport, which was awarded $10,000 for environmentally friendly infrastructure at its bike barn; Lucy’s Hearth of Middletown, which received $10,000 to build a bicycle oasis, including secured bicycle corrals and a sun and rain shelter; and the Middletown Tree Association, which was awarded $10,000 to complete the final phase of a tree-planting plan for Valley Park.

The funding from the Community Grants Program is supplemented by a gift from long-time Foundation donor Anne Sage.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.

Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017. For more information, visit

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