To Families and Friends, Colleagues and Supporters of South Providence Neighborhood Matters,
A combination of circumstances has critically affected SPNM. This is to apprise you of why and how this has happened:
For thirty years SPNM has been a lifeline for families of South Providence. It has provided food for the needy (we are the 2nd largest food pantry in RI), helped the homeless find a place to live and services they need, and taught good citizenship to youth through its after-school, summer camp and mentoring programs. It has provided emergency help for many who have had nowhere else to turn. It would be impossible to count the many ways SPNM has impacted others, permanently improving lives and helping to make the SPNM children responsible and contributing residents of our state.
For all this time, the agency has resided in the basement of Calvary Baptist Church on Broad St. in Providence, whose pastors and parishioners have offered a warm and welcoming home. In recent years, the children’s program has been regulated by the Department of Children, Youth and Families, the job of which it is to assure acceptable conditions for the safety and well-being of the children receiving services here.
The current basement space has formidable deficiencies, the most important being no windows opening to the outside. It is not possible to add windows to this basement-level floor. To get around its deficiencies, SPNM requested and received repeated waivers from DCYF allowing us to stay here while searching for a new facility that meets all DCYF criteria. SPNM has been unable to locate a facility that meets the DCYF criteria. DCYF informed SPNM in August of 2016 that it will no longer provide a waiver. That effectively ended all children’s programs at SPNM.
At the same time, the revenue stream supporting SPNM has drastically narrowed. The grants that SPNM relied on are fewer in number and sought after by many more agencies in need. As a result, it has been necessary to curtail programs and services. Staff have had payless paydays and layoffs. Children’s services have been eliminated. Remaining staff are owed weeks of unpaid salary. SPNM is not the same any more.
After many months of living on a shoestring budget and unfulfilled hopes of finding a way out of these dire circumstances, the Board of Directors has concluded that SPNM can no longer exist as it has, after providing decades of service and after being a beacon of hope to so many. Regrettably, it must shut its doors on March 31st.
REQUEST FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO FUND WIND DOWN AND SEVERANCE PACKAGE FOR FAITHFUL EMPLOYEES
Even so, necessities remain that need resolution, including unpaid rent and unpaid salaries. Director Yvette Kenner has gone far above and beyond duty in staying on despite frequent periods without pay and with no certainty of being paid. For such a dedicated leader who has given so much to SPNM we must now provide support. The Board of Directors is asking those who receive this letter to assist in meeting these obligations to effect an orderly closing of SPNM and to fund severance packages for Yvette and Doreen commensurate with their faithful service.
For SPNM to have come to this point is painful to anyone who knows what it has done for the South Providence community and how well it has done that. Would you please contribute what you can to help bring SPNM to an honorable conclusion? You can send your check payable to “SPNM” to: SPNM, 747 Broad St., Providence, RI 02907.
Thank you from the staff past and present, the volunteers, the Board of Directors, and especially the many whose lives have been touched by SPNM .
747 Broad Street, Providence, RI 02907-1601