Access for All Abilities Mini Grants

Representatives of five 2024 mini grant recipients are pictured with Crystal Cerullo and Amy Grattan.

The Access for All Abilities Mini Grant program supports businesses, nonprofits, schools and city/town agencies that want to improve accessibility so people with disabilities can participate in social, leisure, recreational and cultural activities alongside other community members. 

The Sherlock Center has awarded more than $160,000 in grants since 2009. This funding comes from the Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 

We prioritize applicants that actively include historically underrepresented groups and diverse communities such as veterans, refugees and LGBTQIA+ individuals. 

Congratulations to our 2024 mini grant recipients:

  • The Collaborative in Warren, which will purchase a removable ramp for the main entryway at its new program location and make improvements to its restroom to be ADA-compliant. 
  • Gnome Surf, which will build a four-part disability awareness strengthening program mandatory for all instructors with topics including autism awareness, sensitivity awareness, child safeguarding and more.
  • Newport Art Museum, which will create participatory, inclusive spaces in galleries and quiet areas with resources such as tactile displays, didactics, iPads with artist-featured videos, musical instruments and sensory bins. 
  • Providence Public Library, which will purchase and install sound-dampening panels in program and classroom spaces to improve acoustics for all program participants.
  • Refugee Dream Center, which will purchase two specialized beach chairs tailored for individuals with mobility impairments and establish a program so community members with disabilities can borrow them free of charge.

Eligibility and projects

Learn more about who can apply for mini grants and the kinds of projects our grants support.

  • Applicants must provide social, leisure, recreational or cultural activities to the public.  

  • Applicants must be located in Rhode Island or primarily serve Rhode Island communities.  

  • Applicants must be one of the following:  

    • For-profit business  
    • For-profit or nonprofit organization  
    • Rhode Island school or school organization  
    • Rhode Island city and town government agency  

Organizations whose primary mission or client/customer base is disability focused are not eligible for a grant.

Some ideas that might receive funding are: 

  • An art studio plans to purchase wheelchair accessible tables and easels.  

  • An organization plans to provide weekly activity schedule and materials in accessible formats (e.g., large print, braille, plain language).  

  • A neighborhood gym plans to install a specialized piece of equipment that will be used next to other members.  

  • A summer camp plans to provide staff and counselors with disability awareness training.  

  • A theater plans to install an automatic door at its entrance.  

View past grant recipients below for more project ideas that received funding. 

Some ideas that would NOT receive funding are: 

  • A fitness studio plans to offer Zumba classes only for people with disabilities.  

  • A town plans to start a sports team for youth with autism.  

  • An organization plans to offer education, employment or skills training programs. 

For help or more information, contact Crystal Cerullo at or call 401-456-8915 (Ph.), TTY via RI Relay: 711 or 800-745-5555, Spanish via RI Relay: 711 or 866-355-9214  

Access for All Abilities Mini Grant past recipients

Red White & Brew Coffeehouse is a family-owned coffee shop that employs people with developmental disabilities and strives to change the way the world sees those with disabilities. Funds were earmarked for purchasing and installing an automatic front door to create an accessible entrance. 

The Warwick-based Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce used its funds to provide a sign language interpreter for three movie nights, continue providing a second screen with closed captioning, expand its handicapped parking area and add portable lighting.  

The Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library in Harrisville used its mini grant to update its children’s department audio-visual collection by purchasing Wonderbooks and VOX Books, which are pre-loaded audiobook players attached to hardcover books. 

The Exeter Public Library applied its mini grant funds toward installing two automatic door openers for the interior foyer doors at the library’s only public entrance. 

Real Access Motivates Progress (RAMP), a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for accessibility and inclusion in schools, businesses and the community, used mini grant funds to purchase suitcase ramps for Rhode Island businesses.  

Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown is an educational facility and public aquarium specializing in New England marine life and rescued animals, providing hands-on educational programs for children though high school. Biomes used the grant funds to replace the 560-square-foot play area with tight-lock rubber gym tiles to provide safety while allowing access for everyone.

RIOT RI, previously called Girls Rock! RI, is a volunteer-based nonprofit that uses music creation, critical thinking and collaborative relationships to foster collective empowerment and the development of healthy identities in girls, women, trans and gender-expansive youth and adults. The funds awarded were used for rental of a temporary ramp for use at JamStage, a youth rock camp program, and to purchase a portable ramp, allowing any venue to be accessible for disabled concert-goers and performers.

Shri Service Corps is a nonprofit organization that builds communities with skilled, service-oriented teachers. More than 8,500 people participate in its programs every year and it funds over 100 free classes each month. It used the grant funds to create 3-D object symbols to communicate yoga poses to make classes more accessible to all.

Woonasquatucket Valley Community Build Inc., d/b/a The Steel Yard is a nonprofit industrial arts center and shared studio in Providence and the only publicly accessible industrial arts organization in the region. The grant money supported educational scholarships for the disability community and an ADA-accessible water fountain in the studios.


The Cranston Public Library provides essential early literacy programming for children ages 0-5, inviting parents and caregivers to accompany their children in listening to stories, singing songs, using hand motions to act out rhymes, playing with toys, and creating art projects for little hands. The grant funds enabled the library to make physical changes to the programming space to meet the needs of children with sensory sensitivities.

Find Your Bold in Warwick uses obstacle course races, team-building events and hiking/trail running to help conquer limitations. It contracted with Camp Canonicus in North Kingstown to create a course using obstacles that would be accessible to and used the grant funds to build a bridge and accessible ramp to aid in crossing the brook and rocky incline on route to the new course. Once on the trail, the wheelchairs can move about freely.

Roger Williams Park Zoo, which operates the environmental ZooCamp for 10 weeks through the summer season for up to 2,000 campers every year, used the grant funds to install a sensory pathway to allow campers to express themselves or to provide a break from other activities. The Zoo also has incorporated the pathway into other programs.

The Woonsocket Harris Public Library used its grant funds to purchase adaptive equipment such as rollator walkers, assistive listening devices, transport wheelchair, handheld page magnifiers, reading glasses of various strengths and a variety of children’s books in braille.

YMCA of Greater Providence used grant funds to expand access at Camp Ok-Wa-Nessett in Warwick to campers with disabilities. Purchases included a beach wheelchair to enable access to the swimming ponds and four portable ramps that will provide access to the Science and Education (STEM) pavilion, archery center, spray park and art pavilion.


Save The Bay’s Bay Center in Providence provides public access classrooms, meeting space and 440 feet of waterfront space open to the public. It used the grant funds to help support installation of aluminum handicapped access ramps for the pier and kayak launch at the Bay Center.

The Arctic Playhouse, established in 2014 in downtown Arctic village in West Warwick, provides live theater performances, musical performances, film screenings, magician acts and community art nights. It relocated to a larger venue and used the grant funds to install accessible restrooms in the new space. 

The imPOSSIBLE DREAM playground in Warwick offers an integrated play and social setting for all children and families including picnic pavilions, gazebos, park-like settings and a large hall that can accommodate 100 guests. In the winter, the hall becomes an indoor playground, offering accessible play. The organization used the grants funds to purchase a wheelchair accessible WhisperGLIDE swing with seating for multiple people so wheelchair users can swing with friends and family.

Davisville Free Library in North Kingstown used its grant to educate staff on how to create inclusive story times. The library purchased equipment such as scarves, shakers, beanbags, big books and flannel board stories to help meet the diverse sensory needs of children participating in storytelling activities.

Preserve Rhode Island’s Lippitt House Museum, built in 1865, offers guided tours, special exhibitions, lectures, art installations, concerts and family programs. Preserve Rhode Island used its grant to develop an American Sign Language (ASL) video tour equivalent to its docent-led tours and a written English translation of the ASL video tour to supplement self-guided visitors.

Community Libraries of Providence, a nonprofit organization operating nine neighborhood libraries, used its grant to install an automatic swing door operator in the South Providence branch, allowing individuals with physical impairments to enter and exit the library on their own. The library is fully accessible once inside.

The Wilbury Theatre Group, a collaboration of artists producing contemporary theater in Providence, used its grant to make its Olneyville performance space fully accessible. Renovations included the addition of a wheelchair ramp at the side door and renovations to make a restroom wheelchair accessible.

YMCA of Pawtucket comprises five branches across the state, including the Westwood YMCA Summer Camp in Coventry, and used its grant toward the purchase of a Hippocampe wheelchair, an all-terrain chair that individuals can self-propel or be pushed or pulled to participate in camp activities and access the water.

Exeter Public Library used its grant to purchase a two-bay ADA Combination Swing Set at its playground, Chelsea Park. It has a molded swing for children to be lifted into and a wheelchair pull system in the other bay.

Jamestown Arts Center used its grant to host a series of trainings for its staff and instructor to better support individuals with disabilities within its programs. Funds also were used purchase adaptive equipment and art supplies. The center is working with several partners in the disability community to encourage greater participation of individuals with disabilities in its programs.

North Kingstown Free Library offers physical and digital collections, lectures, workshops, concerts, movies, story times, presentations, book discussions and more. It used its grant funding to install an induction hearing loop in its physically accessible meeting room, allowing better access to programming for those with hearing loss.

Ocean Community YMCA offers a wide range of social and leisure programs and classes at its three branches and Camp Watchaug. It used its grant funds to train an employee to become certified as an adaptive sailing instructor and to purchase equipment allowing campers of all abilities to safely participate in sailing.

Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol provides visitors with the opportunity to explore 18th century farm life in Rhode Island. The museum used it grant to install a permanent and portable ramp to provide access to the 1790’s farmhouse and a restroom at the farm.

The Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown used its award to contribute to the creation of an ADA-compliant universal trail that allows access to individuals who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids.

Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Warwick used its grant to purchase items to address visual and auditory needs including large print or braille books, large-print programs and an FM assistive listening system.

Youth Pride Inc. used its grant funds to provide professional development training to its staff to help them better serve youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the organization’s drop-in center dedicated to meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth and young adults.

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island resurfaced the meadow trail from the Environmental Education Center at the Claire D. McIntosh Wildlife Refuge in Bristol, allowing full accessibility to the boardwalk, grasslands and wetlands down to Narragansett Bay.

Providence Public Library used its grant funds to make a sensory kit including assistive listening devices, magnifiers and high-intensity lamps. Staff members received training to assist patrons in using the tools.

The Town of Westerly purchased a MobiChair with its grant funds. This high-quality beach wheelchair reclines and floats allows access to the boardwalk, beach and water.

Yawgoo Valley Ski School in Exeter trained staff members in adaptive instruction through the Professional Ski Instructors of America, which specializes in instruction for skiers with disabilities.

The Cranston YMCA used its grant to fund the purchase of a wheelchair-accessible upper body exercise machine.

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, a Woonsocket community development corporation, purchased a computer-based individualized reading program, furnishings and sensory materials for its art center for grades K-5.

The Newport Art Museum reconstructed a ramp at the museum’s main building, the John N.A. Griswold House, completing a larger accessibility project.


The Blackstone Valley Boys and Girls Club used its grant funds to provide materials in an accessible format and to support training for staff and peer mentors to support children on the autism spectrum in its summer program. h

The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council customized an access ramp for the Blackstone Valley Explorer, a 40-passenger riverboat that provides 45-minute narrated tours, and purchased a portable ramp to allow wheelchair access from a floating dock.

East Side/Mt. Hope YMCA in Providence improved access to existing areas within the facility. Locker room showers were equipped with hand-held shower heads and shower seats, and changes were made to allow accessible access to the member consultation area.

New Urban Farmers, which works to increase healthy food access in Pawtucket and Central Falls by eliminating barriers, used its grant funds to create accessible raised garden beds at its three community garden sites. 

The Rhode Island Zoological Society used its grant funding to purchase resources to adapt ZooCamp program materials at Roger Williams Park Zoo and provided training to camp staff to support campers with disabilities.

The Providence Children’s Museum expanded a training initiative on inclusion and best practices in disability awareness for staff and volunteers to conduct a yearlong evaluation of its learning environments in consultation with professionals and families of children with disabilities.

Providence Inner City Arts built an accessible stage at its Roots Café, allowing artists and performers with disabilities to be included in arts, cultural and entertainment programming, workshops and lectures. 

Rock Spot Climbing, an indoor climbing facility in Lincoln, used its grant to offer discounted day passes to individuals with disabilities.

The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre purchased and installed aisle rails to increase safety and improve accessibility to each row of the 137-seat theater in Pawtucket. (The theater is now located in Warwick.)

The Vartan Gregorian Elementary School PTO used its award to help provide access to an elevated play structure with accessible ramps, bridges and wheelchair-accessible play panels at Cabral Park in the Fox Point neighborhood in Providence. Students use the park for daily recess and the Boys and Girls Club of Providence provides after-school programs to children of all abilities there.

The Contemporary Theater Company in South Kingstown used its grant to stage a production of “Alice in Wonderland,” which included 44 people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities and 24 trained actors. The play was staged for more than 800 members of the public and more than 600 schoolchildren. Participants experienced all aspects of a professionally produced play from acting, singing and dancing to building sets and working backstage.

Grand Piano of Greenville created a karaoke program, providing opportunity for participants to share music and socialize through a venue designed to minimize performance anxiety and build confidence. Funds purchased portable equipment so the participants could perform at community and public venues. 

The Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown repaired the Norman Universal Access Trail, which was impassable by wheelchair in some areas. Previously, visitors using wheelchairs could visit only the gift shop, restrooms and small surrounding area. The improvements have enabled school groups, which included students with disabilities, to make the mile trip into the woodland and to the Red Maple Pond observation deck.

Slater Mill used its grant funds to draw up a plan for ramps and handrails to make the waterwheel and machine shop exhibits at the Wilkinson Mill fully accessible.

The Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, housed in the former Bristol Town Jail, acquired technology to make its collections available as a video tour for individuals with disabilities unable to access the second floor.  

The Providence Public Library used grant funds to conduct a series of workshops to help librarians and program presenters better include children and adults with disabilities or mental illness in library programs.

The Rotary Club of Chariho used grant money to help defray the cost of crushed stone and equipment at the Sarah Jane McCullough Boundless Play Area, an inclusive playground in southern Rhode Island. The crushed stone is part of a subsurface for a “poured in place” rubber surface, which allows complete wheelchair access.

The Steel Yard in Providence used its grant funds to acquire additional safety equipment and a digital projector to assist with class demonstrations, protecting students with disabilities from feeling singled out.

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