2013: A Year of



We’re inspired by you – our donors, our grantees, the leaders of our community.

– Frederick K. Butler, Chairman & Neil D. Steinberg, President & CEO

Dear Friends

Letter from the President/CEO & Chairman

For the Rhode Island Foundation, 2013 was a year filled with inspiration and momentum. Looking back, we could not be more proud of our community and all of our partners. With the year’s many highlights, how could we not be charged up?

Programs Around the State

Around the state, programs that are proven to have impact are being brought to a larger scale. UCAP, a second chance school for kids at risk of dropping out, expanded its Providence facility to include a new science lab, art studio, and gymnasium. Sales for Market Mobile, Farm Fresh RI’s wholesale distribution program, rose from $225,000 in 2009 to over $1.5 million in 2013, and Farm Fresh is now leveraging their existing delivery routes to create a Farm to Food Pantry program. Year Up doubled the number of un- or under-employed young adults it serves. The Loan Forgiveness Program for primary care professionals took root; the program has helped 39 doctors, nurses, and physician assistants practice in Rhode Island. Riverwood Mental Health’s Housing First Rhode Island program is providing homes and wrap-around services for our state’s chronically homeless.

Programs with New & Innovative Strategies

The Highlander Institute is advancing the use of classroom technology and blended learning throughout Rhode Island. AS220, a nationally recognized arts organization, is partnering with Digital City RI to provide a co-working space for digital media professionals. The Washington County Regional Planning Council is exploring shared municipal services in the areas of streetlight maintenance and information technology. McAuley House is partnering with nutritionist Dr. Mary Flynn to provide healthy, low-cost meals for its guests to combat conditions like diabetes and heart disease which disproportionately impact those in poverty.

Thanks to the generosity and vision of philanthropists Letitia and John Carter, four Rhode Island Innovation Fellows are leading dynamic efforts to tackle local challenges. “We’re inspired by you – our donors, our grantees, the leaders of our community. Your vision of a better future and your philanthropy make us proud to be your partner.”

The Foundation is proud to champion programs like these that are transforming our state. And we are excited to see new leaders emerge in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors, with fresh new ideas, strong networks, and deep commitments to Rhode Island. That’s why we eagerly launched Rhode Island: It's All in Our Backyard in 2013. Backyard celebrates Rhode Island’s successes and strengths, (re)introducing industry stalwarts like 300-year-old Hope Global and 140-year-old Gilbane Building, local farmer Pat McNiff and aquaculturist Perry Raso, ever-evolving assets like TF Green Airport and McCoy Stadium, explorer Dr. Robert Ballard and scientist Dr. Jeff Morgan, growing startups like MojoTech and Andera, and new entrepreneurs like jeweler Loren Hope and Robin Squibb of Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea.

Your Generous Contributions

Thanks to you, the state of the Foundation is strong. Donors contributed $43.7 million in 2013. Donors started 73 new funds and 56 people pledged a portion of their estate to us, ensuring that their philanthropic legacies will last forever. We hope you will read their stories. Community organizations turned $31 million in grants into priceless programs and services. Generous contributions to our Civic Leadership Fund helped to support “beyond grantmaking” work like convenings, research, advocacy, and network-building. And Foundation assets stand at a record $790 million.

Guided by our directors, we set a new strategic course for the Foundation, one that builds on our work over the past several years and our proud heritage, and sets bold new challenges to meet the needs of Rhode Island now and in the years to come.

Certainly, Rhode Island continues to face significant trials and deep inequalities that threaten the well-being of our people and our future. We do not underestimate these challenges. But we see great cause for hope. Every day, we’re inspired by you – our donors, our grantees, the leaders of our community. Your vision of a better future and your philanthropy make us proud to be your partner. We thank you for sharing your generosity of spirit.

– Frederick K. Butler, Chairman & Neil D. Steinberg, President & CEO

By the Numbers



Total Foundation assets
at year-end

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Total grants to
1,389 recipients

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Total gifts to the
Foundation in 2013

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Explore more stats and figures by downloading the complete Annual Report [PDF]. Download

2013 New Funds

See the list of more than 1,300 funds generous Rhode Islanders have established at the Foundation.
Complete List of Funds
Meet the members of our 1916 Society, individuals who have named the Foundation
in their estate plans or have established deferred gifts.

1916 Society

2013 Financials

Our approach to investing the dollars that generous Rhode Islanders have entrusted to us is a critical component of our work.We employ long-term investment, spending, and operating strategies to ensure not only that these philanthropic dollars last forever but also that we make available the maximum amount possible for grantmaking every year.

Spending Policy

The board of directors annually reviews the Foundation’s spending policy to ensure that our endowment continues to grow even as we continue to meet the needs of the people of Rhode Island. The Foundation’s spending policy of between 5.0 and 6.53 percent (including our support fee) calculated over a sixteen quarter trailing average, which is comparable with that of New England’s largest community foundations, allows us to provide a predictable stream of grants to organizations that serve our community, while maintaining a prudent rate of endowment growth. “Thanks to the diligent work of our investment committee and staff, we distributed $31.1 million in the community in 2013, a record for the Foundation.”

Investments & Investment Policy

A committee of Foundation directors and community members with expertise in the field governs our investments. The committee establishes investment policy, monitors individual investment managers and their performance, and sets each year’s spending rate. The Foundation also utilizes an investment consultant.

The Foundation’s asset allocation is diversified, and we set high performance standards for our investment managers. During the past decade, the Foundation has increased the proportion of equity investments and has expanded its portfolio to include emerging markets, alternative investments, and global fixed income assets.

The Foundation is committed to a “total return” investment philosophy to ensure that our endowment grows in perpetuity. Any investment return earned over the spending policy is added to principal, thus increasing the size of the endowment to combat inflation and overcome cyclical down markets. We consistently are in the top quartile of performance with peer foundation, and in 2013 we were pleased with our investment return of 17.7%.

Operating Expenses

We are committed to carefully managing our operating expenses, again with the goal of maximizing our investments in Rhode Island. To this end, in 2013 our operating expenses were managed to within approximately one percent of our total assets, which is well within the industry standards for community foundations.

Thanks to the diligent work of our investment committee and staff, we distributed $31.4 million in the community in 2013, a record for the Foundation.

For more detailed financial information, download our Balance Sheet. Download

Inside the Foundation

Board of

The Foundation is led by a board with the highest commitment to excellence.

More at rifoundation.org


Meet the team members at Rhode Island Foundation who make it happen.

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Discover more about our Foundation and how to get involved:
Foundation strategy Our grants program Giving through the Foundation Volunteer Advisors