“We’ve lived here most all our lives,” Christine Rooks says of her and her husband’s desire to support organizations in the state where they grew up, had successful careers, raised a family, and have been actively involved.
Both natives of Warwick, Chris attended Wheeler School and Steve attended Moses Brown School and Warwick Veterans Memorial High School. Further education took them out of state, but both returned to Rhode Island following graduation.
Marriage followed and Chris began teaching in the Lower School at Wheeler before taking time off to raise the couple’s now-adult children, Stephanie and Benjamin. Returning to Wheeler, Chris was first a member of the Board of Trustees and then worked in admissions and later in fundraising, concluding her career as the school’s Alumni and Parent Relations Director.
Following his graduation, Steve taught for a year at Moses Brown before going into business, first his family business, U.S. Oil Company, which he eventually sold, and then with Vargas Manufacturing, a division of Armbrust Corp. In 1996, he opened Shred-it Providence, a franchise branch of Shred-it International. When Shred-it recently merged with Cintas’s Document Division, the corporation began buying back its local franchises, and Steve sold Shred-it Providence back to the company in early 2015.
His retirement has allowed the couple to establish this donor advised fund. “The sale of the business put us in a position to be better able to support local organizations,” Steve shares, adding, “And having the Foundation, with its knowledge of what to do and how to do it, allows us to do what we couldn’t do independently.”
The Rooks have long been involved community members, with Steve’s board positions including the Rhode Island Zoological Association, the Burke Fund, Kent Hospital, and Kent Hospital Foundation. Chris has been equally active, devoting her time and energies to the Wheeler School Alumni Association, Planned Parenthood, Junior League of Rhode Island, Youth in Action, Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, and Button Hole.
Through this fund, the couple envisions continuing their support of organizations in the areas that long have interested them – education, health, and other community needs.