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Barbara Flinker Ruttenberg Fund
By Jean Cohoon / November 9, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

Barbara Ruttenberg’s home is tastefully decorated with mementos from her travels to countries around the world. Her philanthropy also has been international, including funding education for women in Africa and sponsoring a child in Guatemala.

She’s now settled in Providence – “I’m so happy here. I can’t imagine living anyplace else.” – and her philanthropy also is taking on a local focus.

Born in Brooklyn, Barbara earned a degree in psychology from Bryn Mawr College. She married after her junior year and moved to her husband’s native Rhode Island after graduation. Her early career led her to positions in child development at Brown University and at Meeting Street School.

Barbara returned to school for a master’s degree in special education at Rhode Island College and worked as a resource teacher in the Warwick public schools while raising her children – three daughters and a son. A second master’s degree followed, this one in mental health counseling, as did work leading psycho-educational groups for women and serving as a mediator for the Rhode Island Department of Education. Of the work with parents and special education directors from throughout the state, Barbara says, “It took a lot of energy and concentration, but I thrived on it.

Barbara explains she has three basic precepts for her life, all drawn from her Jewish faith: tikkun olam (“repair of the world”), tzedakah (giving charitably), and t’shuvah (return to goodness; forgiveness of others and self).

Her work and volunteerism, including 15 years to date as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, help satisfy the first principle. “And this fund with the Foundation fits right in with the second one,” Barbara notes. She plans to focus her support on programs serving women and children, noting, “I love babies and children, my work has always been with children, and I think women have to work harder to get ahead.”

She continues, “And I love that my donor advised fund will continue after I die and that my children will continue giving charitably through the fund. This is something I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to do.” 

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