Our Blog RSS

The latest news and occasional commentary about what’s happening at the Foundation and around our great state. 

Rhode Island Foundation Blog


We are proud to be part of the Rhode Island community! Follow our blog for the latest news and occasional commentary about what’s happening at the Foundation and around our great state.

Sojourner House Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / November 20, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
“We believe that no one deserves violence in a relationship,” are the bold words on the website of Sojourner House, an organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence and their children. Last year alone, they assisted more than 3,000 new clients.

Sojourner’s comprehensive services include a 24-hour helpline, the Providence Drop-In Advocacy Center, an emergency shelter, transitional housing, support groups, referrals, education around issues including teen dating violence and teen pregnancy prevention, and more. These services are provided by a staff of 15 – nine full-time and six part-time employees.

“We have a lot of volunteers and a very active board. It’s definitely a community effort,” says Vanessa Volz, executive director. Indeed, it was a community effort that founded Sojourner House in 1976 when Brown University students, alumni, faculty, and staff initiated a domestic violence hotline. The organization’s first shelter opened in the mid 1980s, and Sojourner has continued to increase its services through the decades.

“There’s still a lot of stigma around relationship violence. There’s still that shame,” Vanessa shares, adding, “Our clients all come to us having experienced some kind of trauma.”

Vanessa was hired to lead the organization in 2011 when, she says, the agency “was in transition.” With a new board and new staff, she says they’ve “turned the corner to where we now can be proactive and start strategic planning.”

Financial stability is at the center of Sojourner’s planning and this endowment is one component of that plan. “We want the agency to have a continuous source of revenue,” Vanessa acknowledges, adding that in the long-term she hopes this endowment will enable Sojourner to further expand its programming.

Sharing that one in four women in Rhode Island is a victim of domestic abuse and that more people are seeking services, she sees the need for services – and funding for those services – continuing to increase.

“I’m hoping that having this endowment at the Foundation will have a positive effect on our donors. The Foundation has a solid reputation, and donors can know their gifts are going directly to our services,” Vanessa explains.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Featured Post

  • Making science come alive Posted last month
    Thanks to our Carter Spark Grant, Narragansett Elementary School students just learned a lot about life around Narragansett Bay. Special education teacher Karen Festa used the grant to bring Save the Bay’s living “Bay Classroom Experience” to school.
  • Roger Williams' ideals come to life in scholarship recipients Posted last month
    The Rhode Island Foundation is sending seven high school seniors off to college with scholarships honoring Roger Williams, the state’s founding father.The four-year, renewable scholarships are through the Carter Roger Williams Initiative, which was launched last year by philanthropists Letitia and the late John Carter.
  • Carter fellowships inspire innovation Posted 2 months ago
    The recipients will receive $200,000 over four years to test and implement their proposals to dramatically improve life in Rhode Island thanks to the generosity of philanthropists Letitia and the late John Carter.
  • Grants will improve health of RI'ers Posted 3 months ago
    Our RIGHA Foundation Fund awards more than $280,000 in grants to promote primary health care.
  • Introducing moves to fuel growth and expansion Posted 4 months ago
    We are launching a new grantmaking opportunity, refining our strategic priorities, adopting impact targets and adding new staff positions to support work with partners, donors, nonprofits and community leaders.
Read More »


LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

E-News Sign Up