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Banigan Malm Fund
By Jean Cohoon / April 13, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

Rev. Raymond Banigan Malm has dedicated his life to issues of social justice. Raised in South Providence in a working class family, he graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School, followed by Pope John XXIII Seminary in Weston, MA. Ordained in 1976, he served only two churches in his nearly 40-year career, Saint Joseph’s Parish in Newport and Saint Michael the Archangel Parish in Providence, which he had attended while growing up.

While at Saint Michael, he helped found the Family AIDS Center for Treatment and Support, now AIDS Care Ocean State. He explains, “In the early 80s, the AIDS epidemic was just beginning. I wanted to know how the parish could respond. We formed a grassroots group of neighbors and people from St. Michael’s, and the Rhode Island Foundation gave us a grant for the down payment on the organization’s first two homes for families living with AIDS.” Rev. Malm remains on the board of what now is Rhode Island’s largest AIDS-serving agency.

It was after he had conducted numerous funerals at St. Michael for victims of violence that he realized, “We have to teach people how to solve their problems in a non-violent way.” He participated in rigorous non-violence training – which he has gone on to teach extensively – and helped found the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. “It’s everything I ever dreamed it would be. It’s amazing,” Rev. Malm shares, noting the work of the organization’s street workers, social workers, job training staff, and support service providers; he remains on the Institute’s board.

His current focus is on immigration and spearheading a family preparedness program through St. Joseph’s. “The work we’re doing gives families the peace of mind that they will be re-united with their children if they are separated by immigration status,” he explains.

Although realistic about the work yet to be done, Rev. Malm states, “It’s better to focus on the successes.” And he’s optimistic that grants from this donor advised fund will further the efforts of organizations working to bring social justice to all.

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