"The poor man’s foundation"

In 1934 Harry C. Burnham designated $75.00 from his estate to the Rhode Island Foundation making it the smallest bequest in our 100 year history. This act calls attention to the effectiveness of the community foundation model as a means of using small sums of money, the aggregate of which makes a reservoir for serving the needs of the community over a long period of time. Today the Foundation accepts donations of all sizes to contribute to existing funds or our primary discretionary source, the Fund for Rhode Island.

"Heretofore the foundation technique has been regarded as a medium adapted to the use of individuals of great wealth. The community trusts have made it equally serviceable to men of moderate means. Without finding large funds indigestible, these trusts have been in addition, as F.P. Keppel of the Carnegie Corporation has called them ‘the poor man’s foundation.’ In every quarter of the country, they are gathering strength from the benevolence of men of good will. They have gone about the task of harnessing benevolence, of giving concrete and enduring expression to good intentions, of putting idealism to work. By the mounting power of a multitude of benefactions of every size, from countless sources for diverse objects, they seem destined to become a salutary power in the land."

- Article from the New York Community Trust, 1934


One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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