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:

"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.

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Donate Now! It's secure, fast, and easy.

Donate now to the NEARI Children's Fund through the PayPal Donate button below.

You may also donate through the donation form. You will need to complete and print the form, then mail to Children's Fund. D​onation Form

There is no Fund administrative fee - every penny of every donation goes directly to Rhode Island students. The Fund is about restoring hope and giving struggling students a chance to succeed in school...and in life.

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.

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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.

Apply 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.