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Cherry Family Fund
By Jean Cohoon / February 13, 2019 /   Loading Disqus...

“Whenever we were struggling, someone always reached out and helped us. That made an impression,” Melanie Cherry shares, recalling her experiences years ago as a young bride.

“You can’t pay that back, you have to pay it forward,” Melanie continues, something she and her husband, Joseph, have made a priority.

Melanie and Joe both grew up in Pawtucket and are graduates of Sacred Heart High School and Saint Raphael Academy, respectively. Melanie continued her education at Rhode Island College (RIC), majoring in elementary education and special education. Joe also continued his education before enlisting in the Marine Corps, a move that took the newly-married couple to Santa Ana, CA. Joe, stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Santa Ana for two years, then deployed to Southeast Asia. Melanie substitute taught in Santa Ana area schools.

Following his honorable discharge, the couple returned to Rhode Island. Joe began working at Brown & Sharpe, while also completing an engineering degree at Roger Williams University and later earning a master’s degree from Lesley University. 

Melanie earned her master’s degree in elementary education at RIC and continued substitute teaching. Once her sons were in school, Melanie was a regular volunteer in their classrooms.

Joe was recruited from Brown & Sharpe to Johnson & Johnson and finally C.R. Bard, from which he retired as worldwide vice president of operations. He also retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a chief warrant officer-4 after 23 years of service.

Melanie is active with the Arc of Blackstone Valley, serving as secretary of its board and leading the organization’s membership campaigns and golf tournaments.

Having already established several scholarships, Melanie and Joe intend to continue to focus their philanthropy on education through this donor advised fund and to involve their sons - Jonathan, an R & D portfolio director at Biogen in Cambridge; Jason, CFO at Carousel Industries in Exeter; and Ryan, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps - in recommending grants.

“This (the Foundation) is the place we need to be. Through this fund, we can make our philanthropy work better and do more to help others,” Melanie believes.

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