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Our Centennial

In 2016, the Rhode Island Foundation celebrates the 100th anniversary of our founding. We are proud to be Rhode Island’s community foundation and grateful to the many partners who have made our work possible over the past 100 years.

At the heart of a community foundation is community. Throughout the year, we will honor the people, places, and traditions that make Rhode Island special.

For all you have done for Rhode Island, thank you. We hope you will join us in celebrating our community!

100 Years, 100 Stories

Everyone has a story. Our 100 year history is comprised of many. Over the next twelve months we will share stories that highlight the many Rhode Islanders and partners who have contributed to our 100 year legacy.








Capital Good Fund

Capital Good Fund

Payday loans – also called “cash advances” or “check-loans” – are short term, small dollar loans that typically come due on a borrower’s next payday. These financial products can be toxic, with exorbitantly high interest rates that can lead families into debt traps that perpetuate, rather than solve, cycles of poverty.

Elevating the work of marginalized artists

Elevating the work of marginalized artists

Working to give voice to the range of diverse artists throughout the state, the Expansion Arts Program (EAP) – in partnership with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH) – supports community-based organizations which serve culturally-specific populations.

Family trust doubles for community

Family trust doubles for community benefit

Green & Healthy Homes

Green & Healthy Homes RI

Transforming public education in Rhode Island

Transforming public education in Rhode Island

Strengthening serivces

Strengthening services

Fostering professional and personal development

Fostering professional and personal development

Honoring our professional advisor partners

Honoring our professional advisor partners

Ensuring access to excel

Ensuring access to excel

Ensuring access to excel

Transforming neighborhoods

More stories

Celebrating Community

Centennial Gift: A $10 Million Campaign to Restore and Preserve Roger Williams Park

In honor of our centennial, we are leading a $10 million campaign to preserve and enhance one of Rhode Island’s most treasured spaces, Roger Williams Park.

Comprised of over 435 beautiful acres, offering a range of recreational and educational opportunities, representing Rhode Island's rich history and the diversity of our people, the People's Park has attracted generation after generation of Rhode Islanders for over 100 years. There is great opportunity at Roger Williams Park to expand programming, improve infrastructure, and steward the Park for generations to come.

Learn more about the park and the campaign

Centennial Community Grants Program

We are celebrating our Centennial by funding projects that will bring life to Rhode Island's remarkable communities. We have awarded $500,000 in grants to fund community-building activities in every city and town. 

Grants up to $15,000 were granted to nonprofit organizations, municipal governments, and community agencies to fund efforts that will build bikes lanes, design walking tours, plant community gardens, install historical markers and monuments, and more. All the work that is being funded is expected to be completed before the end of the year.  

Check out the map to learn more about individual projects in your community.

Community Contributions

We are so pleased to introduce Community Contributions, a new series of guest posts by Rhode Island leaders, thinkers, and doers responding to this prompt: This is what's next

Two beliefs generated this series:

  • The best conversations are sparked when people connect on the level of ideas and values. Every day, we meet smart, courageous Rhode Islanders who share a deep commitment to our community, made manifest in thousands of different ways that are inspiring and important.
  • The Foundation’s centennial commemoration is as much – perhaps even more so – about looking forward as it is about celebrating the past. With you, we are eager to shape our next century and Rhode Island’s.

  • Guest bloggers were asked to reflect on their personal and professional experience, perspective, and aspirations for what challenges are, could be, or must be next for our community. They may direct their remarks toward Rhode Island, a specific issue area or community, or the Foundation.
If this series provokes a new idea or connection for you, we’ll consider it a success! Please join the conversation on social media using #RIF100.

Ken Wagner, Ph.D., Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education


hat happens next in our schools will entail the integration of the academic skills and the so-called soft skills: social and emotional skills, creativity, questioning, analysis and synthesis, problem-solving, teamwork, persistence through frustration and difficulty entrepreneurial skills – the skills that will prepare students to succeed in the workforce, to be global citizens, and just to be good and honorable people." View

Scott Wolf, Executive Director, Grow Smart RI


hat I hope is next for Rhode Island is that we stop reflexively beating ourselves up, continue discovering our many assets, invest prudently in them, celebrate our growing diversity rather than panic about it, and generally begin a period of steady, sustainable and equitable economic growth." View

Joan Dwyer, Creator and Director of All That Matters


et’s lead the United States as the first of fifty to unite around raising the bar on our individual and collective vitality—today and for our future."  View

Alec Beckett, Creative Director, NAIL


hat’s next? We are next."  View

More Contributions

Centennial Happenings

Centennial News & Events

Celebrating a century of philanthropy

June 14, 2016

We celebrated our Centennial by staging our 2016 annual meeting at the Temple to Music in Roger Williams Park. More than 1,000 community and business leaders, donors, and grant recipients gathered 100 years to the day in 1916 that industrialist Jesse Metcalf established the Foundation with a $10,000 gift. Here are highlights of what CEO and President Neil Steinberg told them.

Building public policy by design

May 11, 2016

Our Centennial celebration is all about building community. So, we’re collaborating with the Rhode Island School of Design to develop local problem-solving capacity. RISD’s Institute for Design + Public Policy is offering a special session in August just for Rhode Islanders.

Celebrating our Centennial with $500,000 in grants for community-building across RI

April 27, 2016

We award Centennial Community Grants in all 39 cities and towns. The program is just one in a series of activities to mark our 100th anniversary this year.

View All Centennial Happenings


Join us in celebrating our community! See tweets and photos from Rhode Islanders joining our centennial celebration throughout the year.

Connect with #RIF100

Transform the present... and the future

The Fund for Rhode Island is the common fund for the greatest good of the community. It supports our mission to meet the needs of the people of RI…yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Donate to the Fund for RI

One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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