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Robin Hill Fund
By Jean Cohoon / December 31, 2013 /   Loading Disqus...
Paul Follett learned about the Foundation through Make It Happen RI, the Foundation-sponsored convening in September 2012 designed to set a new economic course for Rhode Island. “When I attended Make It Happen, I picked up your annual report, read through it, and it looked like a reasonable thing to get involved with. What you do is of interest to me,” he states. Paul acted quickly on his new-found interest, establishing this donor advised fund.

He has deep roots in Rhode Island as “a fourth or fifth generation Rhode Islander.” In the 1930s, his paternal grandfather bought land in Snug Harbor and built a cottage on it. Situated on a knoll, he named the cottage “Robin Hill.” Spending wonderful summers at Robin Hill was a gift to me that now needs repayment, Paul explains.

Raised in Cranston, Paul enlisted in the Army following his graduation from Cranston High School. Following a three year stateside enlistment in the Army, he enrolled in the electrical engineering program at the University of Rhode Island. While a student, he worked as a boat carpenter and he and his wife had three children. Of the competing demands, he says simply that he was “serious and driven about getting it done.”

After graduation, Paul worked in electronic design for GE in Pittsfield, MA before returning to Rhode Island. He worked at several electronics companies, including Techni-rite Electronics and Gulton Industries before joining a startup company, Atlantek, in Wakefield. Atlantek’s work as a pioneer in thermal printing enabled the small company to design and manufacture unique printers for such industry giants as Polaroid, Kodak, Hewlett Packard, Haliburton, Siemens, and DuPont among others.

Paul and his partners sold Atlantek in 2004, and Paul retired. Within a year or two, he joined the Cherrystone Group of angel investors. “It looks at young start-ups and basically funds new companies. It’s fun looking at them and trying to determine who’s going to be successful,” Paul says.

Through this fund, Paul intends to support organizations that give a hand to people to help themselves, explaining, “I’d like to find a way to reward folks who are pulling themselves up. I have a lot of patience for people who work hard.”
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