Papitto Opportunity Connection Wants To Help Transform RI With Scholarships – And $ 1 Million Prize


The “Transform Rhode Island Scholarship” established by Papitto Opportunity Connection will be open to any high school student of color in Rhode Island. From November 1 to January 30 of each year, students can apply by submitting an essay, video, or multimedia presentation that answers this question: If you had a million dollars to improve the lives of people of color in Rhode Island – through education, housing, vocational training, health care or business – what would you do?

The top three finalists will receive scholarships of $ 25,000, $ 15,000 or $ 10,000, to be used for tuition, housing, health care or other related costs.

And Papitto Opportunity Connection will fund the winning idea with $ 1 million.

There is no other scholarship program like this, said Tarantino, where high school students are empowered to help their communities.

“We will be the beacon in teaching other states how to change the narrative,” Infante-Green said. “This is an opportunity for our young people to lead in a way they have never had before. “

Since its inception last December, the new private foundation has donated $ 8 million and committed an additional $ 45 million in grants and scholarships for housing, education, business and corporate initiatives that benefit to people of color, Tarantino said. The “Transform Rhode Island Scholarship” aims even higher.

Sometimes as they get older people can lose hope and harden themselves, founder Barbara Papitto said, as she held an unlit torch just before the announcement. This scholarship – and the pledge to fund the best idea with $ 1 million – could show young people that their visions matter, she said. This gives students the opportunity to lead and see their best ideas funded immediately.

“They are brilliant and creative and amazing, and they also want to help,” Tarantino said.

“This scholarship will open the minds and eyes of young Rhode Island men and women and help them achieve their dreams,” said Arnell Milhouse, founder of CareerDevs and member of the advisory board of Papitto Opportunity Connection. “And, especially for communities of color, few felt like they had that power. This will put them behind the wheel.

Saturday’s WaterFire, co-sponsored by Papitto Opportunity Connection and Brown University, was the first time the 27-year event was dedicated to celebrating the life and contributions of Rhode Island’s BIPOC communities. All of the artists, musicians and vendors featured on Saturday were people of color, and several organizations that were helped by Papitto Opportunity Connection set up booths at the event.

Loren Spears, executive director of the Tomaquag Indigenous Museum, said POC’s support has given the Indigenous Empowerment Network the opportunity to expand its work, offer internships and partner with schools and other groups.

She said she was eager to see what ideas emanated from the stock market. She sees how today’s youth are empowered to speak out about equity and inclusion, and how they support their communities. “They will not only have a voice, but an opportunity to implement” their ideas, she said.

Amanda Milkovits can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.

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