Our donors, our partners: one family's legacy in Rhode Island
When education fails, and kids do not have the math and reading skills to perform basic functions, it is a personal catastrophe for them,” notes estate planning attorney Dana Pickard, a partner based in Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge’s West Palm Beach offices, who is involved with literacy efforts in the Palm Beach County, Florida schools. Dana and his four siblings are successor advisors to a fund established by their father, prominent Rhode Island attorney and community leader Robert F. Pickard, who was one of nine original members of the state’s Board of Regents. When he established this fund, Robert Pickard spoke frankly about his intention to do something for students in Rhode Island’s public schools.
And his children have followed through on their father’s wishes. “One of the reasons my father wanted to create the fund was to honor my mother’s memory,” notes Dana Pickard, who continues, “She was a typical post World War II wife and mother who raised five children; later, she served as a classroom teacher’s aide in East Greenwich. She saw firsthand the value added to the classroom when teachers have additional assistance and students receive individual attention.” When the time came for the Pickard family to think about projects to support, they gravitated toward programs that mirrored the work their mother, Marjorie Olson Pickard, had found so rewarding in the East Greenwich public schools.
The Pickards are pioneers in the Foundation’s co-funding efforts, which involve bringing worthwhile projects to the attention of donors. Says Carol Golden, executive vice president and chief development officer, “Through co-funding, our donors have heroically enabled us to stretch our grant dollars much further at a time when the need is increasing in Rhode Island.” In particular, the Pickards have supported the Providence After School Alliance, City Year Rhode Island, Volunteers in Providence Schools, and the URI Central Falls Academy.
Notes Dana Pickard, “We really appreciated the Foundation vetting these programs for us; we know that educational approaches don’t always succeed, and we rely on the Foundation’s expertise in evaluating projects.”
Of their involvement in co-funding, Dana Pickard says of his family, “We look forward to participating for many years to come. This is exactly what my father hoped would happen – that his five kids would consult and work together to carry on his and our mother’s legacy in Rhode Island.”