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Preserve Rhode Island Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / April 9, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
“We want to keep our special, unique historic structures and our special places that form the character of our communities and contribute so much to the quality of life in Rhode Island,” states Valerie Talmage, executive director of Preserve Rhode Island (PRI).

The nonprofit has focused on this mission since it was founded in 1956 as the only statewide organization working on all facets of preservation. In a state rich in history and architecture, PRI backs up local preservation efforts in every city and town.

PRI is perhaps best known for its advocacy for policies that protect Rhode Island’s historic places including the successful initiative to bring back State Preservation Grants that fund capital repair of historic buildings open to the public as part of the 2014 creative and cultural economy bond. PRI also is advocating for State Historic Tax credits.

PRI is itself an owner of historic properties, the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum in Providence, the Jeremiah Dexter House also in Providence which serves as PRI’s headquarters, the Philip Walker House in East Providence, Blithewold Mansion Gardens & Arboretum in Bristol (operated by Blithewold, Inc.) and Hannah Robinson Rock in South Kingstown (managed by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management).

“We pride ourselves on being good stewards of our buildings and in assisting others in their preservation work. We work to find new uses for old buildings so they can continue to be part of the fabric of the community,” Valerie says.

PRI’s programs also include its annual Rhody Awards for Historic Preservation, convening the Historic Site Coalition of Rhode Island, and encouraging families to visit historic places through the Rhody Ramble. “We’re very place based,” Valerie explains. “There’s a physical reminder that tells a story, and preserving those physical reminders is important.”

Following a search process of endowment managers, PRI transferred a majority portion of its endowment to the Foundation. “This looked like it would be a real win-win. You provide competitive returns, so we’ll benefit not only from good returns, but also from your expertise in the Rhode Island philanthropic community,” Valerie shares.
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