|Foundation founder Jesse H. Metcalf
Our History and Mission
The Rhode Island Foundation was founded in 1916, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country, and is the only community foundation serving the state of Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Foundation is a proactive community and philanthropic leader dedicated to meeting the needs of the people of Rhode Island.
To advance this mission we:
- Actively inspire philanthropy and increase permanent resources for the state of Rhode Island
- Create maximum positive impact through our grantmaking, outreach and other investments in the community
- Provide leadership and a forum for dialogue on critical community issues
- Collaborate with individual, business, government and community partners to catalyze positive change and develop solutions to longstanding challenges
1916 - The Rhode Island Foundation is established with a $10,000 gift from Jesse H. Metcalf
1932 - Foundation receives its first $100,000 gift
1977 - Foundation grants first exceed $1 million
1993 - Foundation is chosen as the state's coordinator for the national Kids Count effort.
1995 - Convened first Professional Advisory Council
1997 - Launched Teachers and Technology, a $5 million initiative that provided a laptop computer and training to at least one in three Rhode Island public school teachers
1999 - Foundation moves into its first permanent home: One Union Station
2000 - Women's Fund of Rhode Island established by $2.5 million challenge from the Foundation
2004 - Foundation introduces its Strategy Grants program
2006 - Foundation assets first surpass $500 million
2008 - Foundation launches Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations so they can better achieve their missions
2010 - Foundation embarks on new strategic direction
2011 - Foundation initiates Rhode Island Innovation Fellowships to stimulate solutions by Rhode Islanders to Rhode Island challenges
2012 - Foundation announces Civic Leadership Fund to support activities beyond grantmaking to influence critical or emerging issues in Rhode Island
2012 - Foundation hosts Make It Happen RI, a two-day economic development forum attended by more than 300 Rhode Islanders