Our History


  • DARE is founded by five people around Mattie Louise Smith’s kitchen table
  • DARE wins new school policy requiring children from the same family to be assigned to the same elementary school
  • Saving the Taylor Street Tot Lot – littered with trash and broken equipment, DARE members and their children work with the Parks Department – Park officials responded by cleaning the tot lot, installing new equipment, and putting a plan to sell the lot on hold


  • DARE wins a commitment from the City of Providence to build the first new playgrounds in years– on the Southside.
  • DARE wins the renovation and the right to help and design 4 playgrounds on the south side, and a first-time tennis court in the community.
  • Hot City Tour leading press and mayoral candidates on a bus tour of the worst vacant lots in Elmwood
  • DARE leads a state-wide coalition of groups who created the Percentage Income Plan (PIP) – people receiving federal heating assistance would pay an average of only 8% of their income for gas and lights, no matter how high the bill actually was. After five years of fighting, DARE and other groups succeeded in getting lower utility bills for families in Rhode Island.
  • DARE’s Youth Mural Project brought together 40 Black, Latino, Asian, and White youths to plan and create a 900 square foot mural, Shaping Our World, on the Elmwood Community Center in Providence.
  • Conference: Toxins in Minority Communities
  • Rhode Island Hospital provides free parking for low-income patients and visitors and free prescriptions for discharged patients.
  • DARE registers 2000 voters by coordinating Vote Rhode Island
  • Organizes for licensed home daycare employers to get better pay
  • DARE Publishes Youth in Focus
  • DARE brings together 15 groups to form the Bite Back Alliance for dental care and restores dental benefits for 30,000 families

1992 – 1994

  • Organized licensed home daycare providers to win better pay from the Department of Human Services
  • DARE organizes the People First Budget Coalition
  • Almac’s Supermarket responds to DARE and stops selling spoiled meat and renovates its Elmwood store.
  • Stamp project to eliminate tobacco ads that target young people of color.
  • Latino parents win major commitments to improve bilingual education.
  • Health Department Action
  • Project Green: Grassroots Revival for Environmental Empowerment of Neighborhoods
  • Tax Sale Action
  • CCSPA: Campaign for Community Safety and Police Accountability
  • DARE launches $225,000 capital campaign to purchase and renovate the DARE Community Resource Center

1995 – 1997

  • DARE leads a coalition that defeats sludge incinerator plan for South Providence.
  • DARE pressure the police department to give assets seized from crimes back to the community for youth programs.
  • High school students win Multicultural curriculum in Providence High Schools with DARE’s ALL Youth program.
  • DARE’s Home Daycare Justice Committee wins health insurance for daycare providers, making Rhode Island the only state in the nation to do so. Huge victory to strengthen childcare for low-income families.
  • Won commitment from the City of Providence, to clean up over 200 vacant lots in Providence littered with garbage and debris.
  • Sued the Providence Police Department, to release public records, of police abuse filed by Providence residents.

1998 – 1999

  • Behind the Walls Committee is founded
  • Won the release of police brutality complaint records to document the level of abuse Providence residents encountered.
  • Engaging neighbors in a multi-year project (Project Green) that created new policies for neighbor control over land, including winning a battle to sell vacant lots for $1 to the community.
  • Won commitment from the Mayor of Providence to provide $5,000, for neighbors to fix up a vacant lot, once purchased.

2000 – 2003

  • Organizing temporary and unemployed workers to win permanent employment with increased wages and benefits.
  • Won passage of Providence External Review Authority (PERA), a civilian review of the Providence Police.

2004 -2010

  • Winning the passage of a new Code of Conduct in all Providence Schools with alternatives to suspensions.
  • Winning a declaratory judgment forcing the City of Providence to stop granting any contracts or tax breaks until the implementation of the First Source Hiring law, and later winning a consent judgment for this implementation for access to publicly funded jobs, including people with prison records.
  • Organizing to stop the passage of a $60 million Tax Increment Financing plan which would have benefitted large downtown corporations at the expense of our communities.
  • 2007: DARE is a Founding Member of the National Right to the City Alliance


  • 2014: Just Cause Eviction Law Passed
  • 2017: Rent Stabilization Campaign
  • 2018: Fair Chance Licensing Campaign


  • Mutual aid and rent assistance organized during COVID-19 Pandemic
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