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Celebrating a year of inspiration
By Chris Barnett / June 2, 2014 /   Loading Disqus...

Hundreds of business leaders, donors, grant recipients and community leaders gathered at the Rhode Island Convention Center for our 2014 Annual Meeting. Here is what CEO and President Neil Steinberg told them.

This is an evening of celebration. Our goal, our aspiration is to be nimble, innovative, collaborative, and solution and impact-driven. Let me assure you, we do not underestimate the many challenges we all face, but we embrace them. We are inspired to strive for long-term systemic change, while not ignoring the need for urgency in our community and the need to break down the status quo.

Now in our 98th year, we are reminded that change is a journey, not a destination. But it is good to pause to celebrate milestones. Last year, a wide variety of generous donors contributed $43.7 million to us. We gave out a record $31 million in grants to a large array of nonprofit organizations. We achieved an investment return of 17.7 percent, and our assets stand at close to $800 million. While we are proud of these results, proud to be one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country, we humbly recognize that we need to do more, that the community needs us to do more, that it truly is our obligation and responsibility to do more.

But we cannot do it alone. And, so, we honor three of our most inspiring partners: Leon C. Boghossian III with our Harold B. Soloveitzik Professional Leadership Award, Loulie Mauran Groton with our Inspiring Partner Award and Farm Fresh Rhode Island with our Community Leadership Award.

Inspiration is everywhere. We are inspired by our donors. Without exception they are amazing people with great vision and enormous dedication. They believe in their responsibility to the community. They dig deep and act on their values. When you work with people like this every day, it is impossible not to be inspired.

We are inspired by the rich diversity of our community and our cultural strengths. Rhode Island’s demographics make this a very special place to live and work.

We are inspired by those community partners who educate our children and develop innovative ways to improve educational outcomes at scale.

We are inspired by those who provide affordable and accessible health care, while testing new ways to deliver primary care within a changing system.

We are inspired by the many individuals and organizations that champion Rhode Island’s world class arts and culture community.

We are inspired by those working diligently to preserve our quality of life on the land, in the air, and on the water, and to address the challenge of resiliency in the face of climate change.

We are inspired by the hard and dedicated work of our many partners providing services to children and families and ensuring an adequate safety net for those most in need.

We are inspired by the quest to end chronic homelessness and provide shelter and affordable housing to all.

We are inspired by the wonderful boots-on-the-ground work that our nonprofit partners do. They are constantly striving for excellence.

Lastly, we are inspired by all who are here tonight with us in this room; where we all have gathered to support one another; to express optimism when times are tough, confidence when there is doubt; and commitment to action to overcome inertia.

Thank you for all you do. Thank you for your partnership, and thank you for the inspiration to push forward to meet the needs of all the people of Rhode Island. Working together, we will find a way to just do it.


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