You can help students beyond the classroom

Members can help students by contacting the NEARI Children's Fund. It provides a safety net for struggling students of any age whose personal needs interfere with their ability to come to school ready to learn.

Helping Students Since 1985

The NEARI Executive Committee established the Children's Fund in 1985 to help students who come to school without their basic needs met. Over the last 30-plus years, the Fund has poured more than $2 million into communities across the state, providing clothes, shoes, heat, groceries, eyeglasses, medication, special educational equipment and supplies, bedding, rental assistance, vocational uniforms, test and licensing fees, tutoring, summer school, and much more to countless students.

How your donations have helped RI students and their families: 

  • Clothing and food: mom unexpectedly died, dad is in prison and grandma is now caring for two children
  • Clothing and drivers ed fees: to help a high school student and their family in need
  • Outstanding electric bill: to help a homeless family getting back on their feet secure a new apartment
  • Grocery gift cards: for a single mom with no child support struggling to put food on the table
  • Gas cards: so a single mom can afford travel to and from the hospital while her child is hospitalized
  • Clothing and food: for a mom and kids who fled domestic violence and now live in a motel

The Fund is about restoring hope and giving struggling students a chance to succeed in school...and in life."

Your Support and Generosity Make the Difference!

If you see a need, make the call. Val Staples (, 401-463-9630) coordinates the Fund at the NEARI office. Any member of NEARI may alert her that a student might need help, and from there it's easy. In about a day, she will facilitate whatever the student needs, usually through the school nurse, social worker, or guidance office, and always anonymously.

The Children's Fund is fueled by donations and fundraisers, such as the Annual Golf Classic and March Magic. For memorial or celebratory donations, like the Heisler Grant, contact Val. 

View Brochure

Learn more about the NEARI Children's Fund Gingerbread Express!


For 30 years the NEARI Children's Fund Gingerbread Express has provided thousands of public school students in need personalized holiday gifts, warm coats, new shoes, and wished-for toys wrapped and tagged just for them. More here

Annual Golf Classic

The 31st Annual Golf Classic to benefit the NEARI Children's Fund is scheduled for July 14, 2022!

Richmond Country Club is the setting once again for a sunny day of golf. Registration and lunch begins at 12:30pm with a 1:30pm shotgun start. Join us for prizes, raffles and a steak fry - all for a great cause. Reserve your space with Val Staples, $150 per player. 

Flyer for sharing

Classroom Grant Program

Chris and Gloria Heisler were educators and strong NEA Rhode Island union supporters their whole career. We honor the Heisler’s memory and their dedication to students by awarding grants in their name to answer students’ needs. The Classroom Grant Program will disburse up to $500 for each approved grant application.
Learn more about applying for the Heisler Grant

NEARI Children's Fund Board of Directors


Sandie Blankenship

Vice President

Alex Smith


Cheryl Hawes


Kristin Chase
Fran Harris
Karen Jenkins
Stephanie Mandeville
Colleen Manuppelli
Valerie Staples
Lisa Tvenstrup
Walter A. Young Jr.



Other Materials of Interest

The Children's Fund Annual Golf Classic

Mark your calendar for the annual Children's Fund Golf Classic! Save the date for July 14, 2022.





Put a little March Magic in your local

During "March Magic," local associations create their own ways to raise money for the Children's Fund. (Yes, some of them are basketball brackets). Ask your local president how to get in on the fun!
March Magic Poster.pdf

Access Your Member Benefits

Use the number on your membership card as your login for the Access Member Benefits program.

National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI)

99 Bald Hill Road
Cranston, RI 02920-2631

P: 401-463-9630
F: 401-463-5337

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