SEG awards first round of microgrants to elevate impact businesses in Rhode Island


Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) awarded $80,000 to 16 distinct Rhode Island small businesses and nonprofits through its recently launched Microgrant Fund. Each awardee received up to $5,000 to support key activities or obtain the necessary tools that will help take ventures to the next level. SEG’s Microgrant Fund was established with an initial gift from donors Mary Elleen and Chris Patton earlier this year. 

“Over the years, we have consistently heard from our community of entrepreneurs and ventures that access to early stage capital is a challenge and that small amounts of grant funding can make a significant difference in helping impact ventures launch and grow. We are very well positioned to make strategic decisions around early stage philanthropic investments because we get to know the entrepreneurs and their ventures as they participate in and graduate from our programs” said Kelly Ramirez, CEO of SEG. “We are so grateful for the foresight and trust of donors Mary Elleen and Chris Patton who seeded this fund. We plan to continue to seek philanthropic funding to further grow the fund and continue to better meet the demand for this type of seed investment.”

The businesses and organizations supported through these grants are leading a broad range of initiatives that include paid peer mental health advocacy, training for members of the nation’s first co-op for neurodivergent adults, bringing the benefits of sea kelp to soil in farms and community gardens, and construction costs for a new space that offers equitable healthcare for Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ community members. The ventures are spread out across all parts of Rhode Island and represent nearly one quarter of the state’s cities and towns.

“Rhode Island’s social impact ecosystem has grown over the years because of SEG’s impact. We are proud to support local businesses and nonprofits that are focused on leading initiatives that simultaneously push toward a common good and spark economic growth,” said SEG donors Mary Elleen and Chris Patton. “The SEG Microgrant Fund provides promising ventures with an influx of targeted investment for specific needs.”

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