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.

Sophia Academy Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / February 28, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

When Maya Clifton entered Sophia Academy in fifth grade, she was studious yet painfully shy. Recognizing her potential, Maya’s parents believed Sophia would provide her a safe, loving, and academically challenging environment that would encourage her to come out of her shell and excel.

They were right.

Maya’s strong academic achievements combined with her poise helped her earn a full scholarship to the Lincoln School. And this past summer through a program with Sophia, she landed a paid internship at the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University. She is currently applying to colleges.

Her parents believe it is because of the foundation their daughter received at Sophia that she is confident, capable, and hopeful about her future as a scientist, educator, or researcher.

“Maya’s story is not unusual. The Sophia experience transforms our students from quiet and reserved fifth grade girls to young women who are eager to pursue intellectual opportunities and advocate for themselves and others,” says Gigi DiBello, Sophia’s head of school.

Founded in 2001 by Sister Mary Reilly, RSM, Sophia is an independent, fully-accredited, all-girls middle school. Students who are Providence residents and qualify for free or reduced lunch are eligible to apply.

“Sophia’s programs are phenomenal and include a strong math curriculum. Our girls are prepared for high school and to be leaders in their communities,” says Alison Eichler, Sophia’s board president.

“Our goal is to stimulate a love for lifelong learning by providing our students with an empowering, hands-on education with opportunities beyond the classroom,” Gigi continues.

Sophia enrolls 60 students in grades five through eight. Every Sophia student receives financial aid. Ninety-five percent of the alumnae graduate from high school and almost all go on to post-secondary learning.

“We offer a solid curriculum, taught by a top-notch faculty, and have our own building in the Elmwood neighborhood,” says Alison. “An important way to build on this success is to strengthen our endowment to keep Sophia thriving for decades to come.”

“We are looking forward to continuing our partnering with the Foundation to grow our endowment. Our work together will support the dreams of many more students like Maya,” says Gigi.

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 3 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