Community Conversations

We have completed our Centennial Community Conversations series. Please check back for information on our 2017 Community Conversations. 

Centennial Community Conversations (2016)

Our Centennial Community Conversations focused on the capacity, generosity, and innovation of our partners and how they help build community.

Strengthening People and Organizations

November 3, 2016, Rhode Island Foundation

This cross-sector event spotlighted organizations and leaders that the Foundation has supported through a capacity-building investment. Our goal was to share information about exciting efforts happening in Rhode Island, showcase the work of individuals and organizations, and facilitate new thinking and dialogue between and among our partners. See photos from the evening and learn what seven nonprofit leaders tell us about their capacity-building efforts. 

Featured speakers: Keith Cooper, Beautiful Day; Beth Cunha, Center for Dynamic Learning; Peg Langhammer, Day One; Marta Martinez, Rhode Island Latino Arts; Andrew Posner, Capital Good Fund; Hillary Salmons, Providence After School Alliance; and Jonathan Stone, Save The Bay.

Inspiring Philanthropy

July 19, 2016, Save The Bay Center, Providence 

This panel discussion highlighted five of our partners who are passionate about giving and actively engaged in philanthropy. In giving them the opportunity to share their unique stories and experiences, we hoped to inspire a broader audience about what philanthropy is and why it matters.

Featured speakers: Linda Fain,Malcolm Farmer III, Alan Harlam, Bhikaji Maneckji, and Anne Sage. See photos from the evening and learn what inspires and motivates these philanthropists to give.

Innovative and Proven Programs 

March 23, 2016, New England Institute of Technology

This cross-sector event provided an inside look into innovative and proven programs that the Foundation has invested in. Read more and see clips about exciting efforts happening in Rhode Island that were showcased at this event.

Featured speakers: Laura Adams, RI Quality Institute;

Cathy Doyle, Year Up Providence; Meg O’Leary, The Learning Community;Leo Pollock, RI Food Policy Council; Daniel Schleifer, New Urban Arts; Loren Spears, Tomaquag Museum.

Community Conversations 2015

Community Conversations 2015 focused largely on our strategic priorities of education, health, economic security, and philanthropy. Our criteria: subjects of particular relevance to Rhode Island today, and contributors who offer a unique, hands-on perspective. 

Cross-sector Community Conversation: Our investment in economic security, education, and health

Thursday, November 5, 2015 


We all have an ambitious agenda for our state that we cannot accomplish alone. Tackling these complex and persistent issues requires coordination, collaboration, and shared vision. 

At the Cross-sector Community Conversation we heard from a sampling of Foundation partners who are bringing these strategies to life through their innovative programs and hard work. Four presenters from each of the three sectors were asked to speak briefly about what they are doing to move the state forward. Of course, this is just a small sample of the good work happening; for every one of the 12 presenters, we know there are many more doing similar positive, forward-thinking work in Rhode Island.

Read more about the conversation on the Foundation's blog

Leading for Change in Urban School Systems

Dr. Andres A. Alonso, former CEO Baltimore Public Schools May 7, 2015

Few know the challenges of improving student outcomes in urban school systems better than Dr. Andres Alonso, Professor of Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and former CEO of Baltimore Public Schools. In his six years as CEO, Baltimore Public Schools reduced its high school drop-out rate by half, raised student achievement across the city, and embarked on a $1 billion campaign to rebuild the city’s schools. Rhode Island educators joined Dr. Alonso for a wide ranging conversation on leading for change in urban school systems in the twenty-first century.

See photos and read more about this event on the Foundation's blog. Learn more about Dr. Andres Alonso.

Roadmap to Reduce Disparities

Marshall Chin, MD, MPH, University of Chicago Medicine
April 2, 2015

Health care organizations and providers must work together to eliminate disparities in care by improving tools and strategies across systems. At this session, we explored a road map that can be used by organizations, policymakers, and researchers to reduce disparities in health care. This session was co-sponsored by the Brown University Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership program and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

See photos and read more about this event on the Foundation's blog. Learn more about Dr. Marshall Chin.

Jobs, Education, and Workforce Development: Getting on the same page

Michael Bettersworth, Center for Employability Outcomes at Texas State Technical College
Julian Alssid, College for America at Southern New Hampshire University
February 11, 2015

It is more important than ever that employers, educators, and job training providers work together to ensure that workers can fulfill the needs of jobs – for today and tomorrow. Yet all too often, there is a disconnect between what employers need and the skills taught in our classrooms and training programs. At this session, we explored two models that have successfully broken down the silos.

See photos and read more about this event on the Foundation's blog. Learn more about Michael Bettersworth and Julian Alssid (scroll to leadership).

State of the Teaching Profession: Challenges, Opportunities, and the Path Ahead

Shael Polakow-Suransky, Bank Street College of Education
January 12, 2015

Rhode Island’s classroom teachers play an indispensible role in shaping the future of our State. But what about the future of the teaching profession itself? Shael Polakow-Suransky, President of the Bank Street College of Education, led a wide ranging conversation on the state of the teaching profession, the challenges educators face, and the opportunities for success in the years ahead.

See photos and read more about this event on the Foundation's blog. Learn more about Shael Polakow-Suransky.


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Providence, RI 02903


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