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Our Centennial

In 2016, the Rhode Island Foundation celebrates the 100th anniversary of our founding. We are proud to be Rhode Island’s community foundation and grateful to the many partners who have made our work possible over the past 100 years.

At the heart of a community foundation is community. Throughout the year, we will honor the people, places, and traditions that make Rhode Island special.

For all you have done for Rhode Island, thank you. We hope you will join us in celebrating our community!

100 Years, 100 Stories

Everyone has a story. Our 100 year history is comprised of many. Over the next twelve months we will share stories that highlight the many Rhode Islanders and partners who have contributed to our 100 year legacy.








Making philanthropy part of the business

Dozens of companies have partnered with the Rhode Island Foundation to establish corporate advised funds. For many corporate leaders, including Todd Blount of Blount Fine Foods, employee engagement in charitable giving is important, and corporate advised funds provide a great vehicle in achieving that goal.

Honoring the 'Jim Donaldson type of player'

“We wanted to do something to honor the Jim Donaldson type of player, someone who would put the team first,” Jim Donaldson, Jr. told us when he transferred a scholarship fund in his late father’s name to the Foundation in 2014.

Black Philanthropy Initiative

Community organizations answer the call

Marriage equality

Teach For America

Bringing world-class public art to Providence

Investing in promising medical research

Foundation milestones

Pioneering innovation

More stories

Celebrating Community

Centennial Gift: A $10 Million Campaign to Restore and Preserve Roger Williams Park

In honor of our centennial, we are leading a $10 million campaign to preserve and enhance one of Rhode Island’s most treasured spaces, Roger Williams Park.

Comprised of over 435 beautiful acres, offering a range of recreational and educational opportunities, representing Rhode Island's rich history and the diversity of our people, the People's Park has attracted generation after generation of Rhode Islanders for over 100 years. There is great opportunity at Roger Williams Park to expand programming, improve infrastructure, and steward the Park for generations to come.

Learn more about the park and the campaign

Centennial Community Grants Program

We are celebrating our Centennial by funding projects that will bring life to Rhode Island's remarkable communities. We have awarded $500,000 in grants to fund community-building activities in every city and town. 

Grants up to $15,000 were granted to nonprofit organizations, municipal governments, and community agencies to fund efforts that will build bikes lanes, design walking tours, plant community gardens, install historical markers and monuments, and more. All the work that is being funded is expected to be completed before the end of the year.  

Check out the map to learn more about individual projects in your community.

Community Contributions

We are so pleased to introduce Community Contributions, a new series of guest posts by Rhode Island leaders, thinkers, and doers responding to this prompt: This is what's next

Two beliefs generated this series:

  • The best conversations are sparked when people connect on the level of ideas and values. Every day, we meet smart, courageous Rhode Islanders who share a deep commitment to our community, made manifest in thousands of different ways that are inspiring and important.
  • The Foundation’s centennial commemoration is as much – perhaps even more so – about looking forward as it is about celebrating the past. With you, we are eager to shape our next century and Rhode Island’s.

  • Guest bloggers were asked to reflect on their personal and professional experience, perspective, and aspirations for what challenges are, could be, or must be next for our community. They may direct their remarks toward Rhode Island, a specific issue area or community, or the Foundation.
If this series provokes a new idea or connection for you, we’ll consider it a success! Please join the conversation on social media using #RIF100.

Tom Ahern and Simone Joyaux

Tom Ahern and Simone Joyaux, donors and community members


his is what’s next, we hope. As a small state, Rhode Island can be an incubator and test market for change. We imagine leadership from our state’s institutions, leaders who identify challenges and challenge the status quo. We expect a willingness to take risks and make change." View

Brigid Nee

Brigid Nee, Year Up Providence and INE Emerging Leader


hat comes next is a generation of children raised by educated and financially stable parents with the ability to provide them with a home that encourages learning and developing." View

David Dadekian

David Dadekian, Eat Drink RI and Rhode Island Innovation Fellow


ood is a health issue, an economy issue, a climate issue, a sustaining life issue and purely a pleasure. Rhode Island can be at the forefront of all these things and more. As I’ll continue to push, food will help RI grow." View

Joseph Nagle

Joe Nagle, CEO Delta Dental RI


eveloping that appetite for risk-taking — getting comfortable with the discomfort of walking the unknown path — may just be one of the most important traits any leader can have. We may not always know “what’s next,” but we can develop and nurture our ability to respond creatively." View

More Contributions

Centennial Happenings

Centennial News & Events

Building community with music in the Park

August 23, 2016

Nearly 5,000 people joined us at Roger Williams Park to celebrate our Centennial with a concert by the Rhode Island Philharmonic. It was a wonderful celebration of our 100th anniversary – bringing together one of our state’s cultural treasurers, one of our best-loved places, and many, many members of the community.

Celebrating a century of philanthropy

June 14, 2016

We celebrated our Centennial by staging our 2016 annual meeting at the Temple to Music in Roger Williams Park. More than 1,000 community and business leaders, donors, and grant recipients gathered 100 years to the day in 1916 that industrialist Jesse Metcalf established the Foundation with a $10,000 gift. Here are highlights of what CEO and President Neil Steinberg told them.

Building public policy by design

May 11, 2016

Our Centennial celebration is all about building community. So, we’re collaborating with the Rhode Island School of Design to develop local problem-solving capacity. RISD’s Institute for Design + Public Policy is offering a special session in August just for Rhode Islanders.

View All Centennial Happenings


Join us in celebrating our community! See tweets and photos from Rhode Islanders joining our centennial celebration throughout the year.

Connect with #RIF100

Transform the present... and the future

The Fund for Rhode Island is the common fund for the greatest good of the community. It supports our mission to meet the needs of the people of RI…yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Donate to the Fund for RI

One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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