Stories

A family legacy:
third generation of Goddard family partners with Foundation

In 1915, eleven prominent Rhode Islanders approached Rhode Island Hospital Trust Bank with the innovative idea of starting a community foundation for Rhode Island. (The country’s first community foundation had been established just one year earlier in Cleveland.) One of those forward-thinking Rhode Islanders was R. H. Ives Goddard.

A Partnership Since 1916

The Goddard family’s affiliation with the Foundation has not wavered since it was established in 1916. In 1932, Ives’s sister, Madeleine Ives Goddard (who became the Marquise d’Andigné when she married René d’Andigné) bequeathed $100,000 to the Foundation to start an endowment that today is valued at more than $800,000 and, in the last 10 years alone, has awarded nearly $400,000. This first major gift to the Foundation was designated by Madeleine “for the relief of incurables.” Grants through the years have benefitted organizations serving individuals with diseases including polio, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Robert H.I. Goddard's Impact

In 1961, Ives’s son, Robert H. I. Goddard, was appointed to the Foundation board of directors, a position he held for 33 years, including the last 22 as chairman. “That was a major part of my father’s life during that time. He was very dedicated and committed to the Foundation,” notes his daughter, Margaret (Peggy) Goddard Leeson, who served on the Foundation board from 1997 to 2006.

While on the board, Bob established two funds at the Foundation: the Robert H. I. Goddard/St. Elizabeth Home Fund, and the Robert H. I. Goddard Fund, an unrestricted fund. Through his estate, Bob made plans for another fund. He died in 2003 at age 93, and after the death of his wife, Hope, last year at age 98, the Robert H.I. Goddard and Hope Drury Goddard Fund was established at the Foundation.“I see this as a way to expand our family giving and, more importantly, a way to involve our children in giving.” – Tom Goddard

The Foundation is one of dozens of community organizations with which the couple was involved. The list is a virtual who’s who of Rhode Island nonprofit organizations.

Leaving a Legacy

The Goddards’ son Ives explains, “What was characteristic of my father’s approach to community service was that he just did it as a matter of course. It was part of his everyday activities, and it wasn’t just a matter of writing a check.” Noting that his father was a great conservationist, Ives recalls his father traipsing through the woods, sawing limbs off trees, and painting the scar with creosote to protect it.

His brother, Moses, recalls too their father’s love of the sea and his “obsession with old sailing vessels.” Of his commitment to the community, Moses says, “We all learned to give back early in our careers through his example.”

Of the new fund, William H. D. Goddard, another son, states, “It’s a continuation of what the family has been doing for a long time. It’s a matter of community responsibility for people who are fortunate and have the means to give something back to the community.”

“He wanted to leave a legacy, and he wanted to leave a good portion of it through the Rhode Island Foundation. I see this as a way to expand our family giving and, more importantly, a way to involve our children in giving,” says Tom, another of Bob and Hope’s sons.

Peggy agrees, noting, “It was set up so it can go on for generations. I’m sure our father would have hoped it would go on.”

Carol Golden, senior philanthropic advisor at the Foundation, says, “Bob and Hope were committed to making Rhode Island a better place. The Foundation looks forward to supporting the Goddard Family as they continue the family legacy with this new fund.”