Dedication to community

William P. H. Freeman was born in 1875 in Providence, Rhode Island. With a career as a real estate broker, Freeman was an active member of his community and its affairs for many years and one of the founders of the John Hope Community Center, later renamed the John Hope Settlement House. Located on Providence’s West End, the John Hope Community Center was a community-based organization founded in 1929 that provided a variety of social services, along with community outreach and advocacy for children, youth, and families of Providence.

In 1913, Freeman served on the executive committee of the newly chartered Providence Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and eventually served as its president for a dozen years, retiring in 1934.

Freeman’s dedication to his community catalyzed his philanthropic legacy in Rhode Island. Upon his death at the age of 96, Freeman left bequests for the John Hope Community Center and Bannister House, a long-term care facility in Providence.

In addition, Freeman took it one step further and gave $1,000 to the Foundation to establish the William P.H. Freeman Fund. Established in 1972, it is an unrestricted fund that the Foundation can use at its discretion to meet the needs of the people of Rhode Island forever.

This thoughtful act of generosity made William P. H. Freeman the Foundation’s first Black donor. We are proud to honor his legacy.

One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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