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.

Frieda Dengal Fund
By Jean Cohoon / December 31, 2013 /   Loading Disqus...
“It was a life well lived,” Christine Driscoll says of her aunt, Frieda Dengal, who died in September 2012 at age 91. “She was a single, self-made woman. Through her own hard work, she was successful.”

Born in Rehoboth, MA, Frieda lived her entire adult life in Pawtucket. She rose through the ranks at Verizon, working in the company’s business service department. During World War II, she took her work one step further, serving as a citizen volunteer international operator in Seattle, WA.

“She was one of the operators connecting calls to the Pacific Rim. Much of the work was top secret and involved everything that was happening in the war,” Christine explains.

Frieda’s volunteer efforts continued throughout her life. “She was a Gray Lady for the Red Cross. I think she was a frustrated nurse. She didn’t have money for school, which I think is why she wanted (through this fund) to provide scholarships for nursing students,” says another niece, Kathy Urbanik, who continues, “She also drove patients for dialysis in Boston. She didn’t mind driving there; she was fearless.”

Through volunteer work at women’s shelters in Pawtucket and Providence, she became known as the ice cream lady. “She would bring ice cream for the children. She felt it was important that the children have treats,” Kathy explains.

“And she was the cereal lady at Amos House. She would load her car with food and deliver it to Amos House. She wanted to assure that people’s – and especially children’s – basic needs were taken care of,” Christine recalls.

Of her aunt’s decision to continue to help others through the Foundation, Christine says, “She wanted to give to something where she could do the most good…where her fund could grow and where it would be added to other funds to have an even greater impact.”

Through a trust Frieda established, this fund forever will “support medical research and provide scholarships for students studying to become nurses and other medical professionals, and assist children in need to obtain a quality education and health care, especially dental and eye care.”
blog comments powered by Disqus

Featured Post

  • Making science come alive Posted last week
    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 3 weeks ago
    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 last month
    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 last month
    Our RIGHA Foundation Fund awards more than $280,000 in grants to promote primary health care.
  • Introducing moves to fuel growth and expansion Posted 3 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