By Daniel Lovering
(Reuters) - The morning after actress Meryl Streep walked off with an Oscar many bet would go to Viola Davis, Streep gave a cash-strapped school in Rhode Island a $10,000 donation in Davis's honor, the school's founder said on Tuesday.
Davis, 46, has been a champion for now-bankrupt Central Falls, Rhode Island, the town she grew up in and has herself donated cash to help keep the library open.
Her longtime friend and sometimes rival Streep, 62, in response to Davis's cheerleading sent a $10,000 check to a local charter school, the Segue Institute for Learning, which faces closure.
The check arrived on Monday, the morning after Streep won the best actress Oscar for her portrayal of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," beating out front-runner Davis, who played a maid in "The Help."
"We've just been screaming from the rooftops," said Angelo Garcia, founder and director of operations at the school.
"We're excited Meryl Streep has gotten the ball rolling for us, but we recognize there's a long road ahead of us," he said.
The school is currently located in a public building that's slated to be sold because of financial difficulties in Central Falls, said Garcia, who has been friends with Davis since childhood.
It must buy the building or move to another location in the next 12 or 13 weeks, he said.
The donation from Streep's Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts - which the charity confirmed - will help the school start a capital campaign aimed at raising $1.2 million to buy and renovate the building and an adjacent community center, Garcia said.
Davis has "always kept us on her radar," Garcia said, and the donation followed a conversation Davis had with Streep "about a little school started" by her longtime friend.
The school has more than 200 students this year and was expected to grow to 240 next year, he said.
(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Paul Thomasch)