Founded in 1916, the Rhode Island Foundation is one of the nation's oldest and largest community foundations. We are Rhode Island's only community foundation and the largest funder of Rhode Island's nonprofit sector.
|Jesse H. Metcalf
The Foundation was organized at the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Co. in June 1916 by a small group of prominent citizens. It was modeled after the first community foundation established in Cleveland two years earlier. "There is a growing belief that the charitable problems of each generation can better be, and should be, solved by the best minds of each generation," the founders wrote.
Jesse H. Metcalf, an industrialist and United States Senator, gave the Foundation its first gift of $10,000. Metcalf was a dominant influence in the development of American textiles and a well-known philanthropist and statesman.
Over almost a century, his original gift has grown to more than $800 million in assets that is dedicated to addressing the needs of our community. In 2014, the Foundation made grants of more than $34.8 million to organizations addressing the state's most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities, and in the first half of 2015 awarded an additional $17.2 million in grants.