Ralph and Letty Raponi feel fortunate to be able to give back to their community. “We’ve done well,” says Ralph, adding, “The Rhode Island Foundation makes sense to us as a way to help others.”
And helping others they are. This fund is the fourth permanent endowment the couple has established at the Foundation. Two of the previous funds, the Elueterio, Anna, and Mary Raponi Memorial Fund (2009) and the Frank J. Raponi Fund (2013), were established in partnership with Ralph’s brother, Anthony. The funds memorialize Ralph and Anthony’s parents and two siblings and benefit the Salvation Army-Rhode Island State Office and the Smile Train Charity, respectively. In addition, Ralph and Letty established a fund in their own names in 2010 to benefit Special Olympics Rhode Island.
This newest venture forever will support Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, an organization Ralph became familiar with when elderly tenants of his utilized the services. “They were regularly well served by Meals on Wheels,” Ralph says of the statewide organization that promotes itself as “the only nonprofit home-delivered meal program in the state.”
With a mission “of meeting the nutritional and special needs of the elderly in order to help them maintain their independent lifestyles,” Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island has been delivering healthy meals to seniors and homebound individuals for 47 years. Its staff and volunteers currently serve more than 1,500 meals each day through home delivery and a congregate dining program in Providence.