I recently received the wonderful news that the Rhode Island Foundation was soon to receive another generous estate gift. Throughout our history, the Foundation has been honored by the foresight and trust of donors who have placed their charitable legacies in our care through both lifetime and estate gifts
. Two qualities of this gift made it especially remarkable. First, it was a gift to the Fund for Rhode Island
, our unrestricted permanent endowment created to forever address the evolving needs of Rhode Island. Second, the donor sought no recognition for her generosity; in fact, our staff had never met her (although we have worked closely with her attorney).
This was a pure and humbling act of generosity.
And what a legacy it will be! By contributing to the Fund for Rhode Island, she tapped into perhaps the most powerful trait of a community foundation: our knowledge and perspective of the community. The Foundation directs unrestricted grants to opportunities where we believe they can have the greatest impact. A community, by its very nature, is dynamic, ever-changing in its composition, culture, and needs. Through this special gift, the donor gave the Rhode Island Foundation more than just her contribution. By allowing us to pool her funds with other generous donors (past and present) and use our discretion in making grants, she gave us her trust. What this gift supports today will inevitably change in the future, but the donor’s legacy of supporting Rhode Island will last forever.
We are pleased to have a robust legacy society called the “1916 Society
,” named after the year of our founding. Members of the 1916 Society have committed to leaving a positive and lasting imprint on our state through charitable giving to the Foundation. Our job is to carefully steward the spirit and intent of these legacies. As part of our full endowment, these charitable funds – and the grants they’ve made in our community – have significantly grown over time. All of this would not be possible without the generosity and trust of our donors and their trusted professional advisors. Thank you for believing in the power of philanthropy.