We believe that philanthropy – at all levels – is an important indicator of civic engagement.
Charitable giving in Rhode Island
People give when they feel invested in their local communities, when they feel change is possible, when they feel respected and appreciated – when they connect themselves directly with what they see happening around them.
Rhode Island ranks poorly for charitable giving, according to a number of studies. By one measure (2012 giving rate, calculated by the Chronicle of Philanthropy), we rank 47th nationally. A more in-depth study conducted by the Center for Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College in 2009 ranked us at 46th. Data aside, we see and hear it every day; organizations are struggling to find funds to test new ideas, bring proven programs to scale, or fully meet community needs.
There are many contributing factors that help explain low charitable giving in Rhode Island.
On the supply side – impacting factors include the economy, education levels, population and demographic changes, and social trends.
On the demand side – impacting factors include the number of nonprofit organizations and their capacity to make a compelling fundraising case and ask.
More philanthropy in Rhode Island means more innovative programs, critical services, and community-building work is possible. One of our goals as the state’s community foundation is to build a culture of philanthropy in Rhode Island by increasing giving activity and engagement among more Rhode Islanders.
- Increase availability of reliable information about local giving behaviors.
- Build community philanthropy networks by investing in opportunities for peer learning and co-investing.
- Invest in the capacity of key organizations to find resources to support their work.