Inspiring Philanthropy

We believe that philanthropy – at all levels – is an important indicator of civic engagement. 

Charitable giving in Rhode Island

People give when they feel invested in their local communities, when they feel change is possible, when they feel respected and appreciated – when they connect themselves directly with what they see happening around them.

Rhode Island ranks poorly for charitable giving, according to a number of studies. By one measure (2012 giving rate, calculated by the Chronicle of Philanthropy), we rank 47th nationally. A more in-depth study conducted by the Center for Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College in 2009 ranked us at 46th. Data aside, we see and hear it every day; organizations are struggling to find funds to test new ideas, bring proven programs to scale, or fully meet community needs. 

Contributing factors

There are many contributing factors that help explain low charitable giving in Rhode Island.

On the supply side – impacting factors include the economy, education levels, population and demographic changes, and social trends.

On the demand side – impacting factors include the number of nonprofit organizations and their capacity to make a compelling fundraising case and ask.
More philanthropy in Rhode Island means more innovative programs, critical services, and community-building work is possible. One of our goals as the state’s community foundation is to build a culture of philanthropy in Rhode Island by increasing giving activity and engagement among more Rhode Islanders. 


  • Increase availability of reliable information about local giving behaviors.
  • Build community philanthropy networks by investing in opportunities for peer learning and co-investing.
  • Invest in the capacity of key organizations to find resources to support their work.

Get involved

We’ve chosen to incentivize up to six groups of Rhode Islanders to tap into their networks of family, friends, and neighbors to participate in collective form of philanthropy – called a ‘giving circle’.

Giving circles have been described as ‘social investment clubs’. Groups of community members come together to raise and pool fundraising dollars, and make collective decisions about how to grant those funds to 501c3 organizations that they believe in.

Please note: the application deadline has passed.

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Our Fund for Rode Island brochure encourages unrestricted giving through the Foundation.

Fund for Rhode Island

The Fund for Rhode Island supports our mission to meet the needs of the people of Rhode Island. Together we can transform the present...and the future.

Learn more

We celebrate and thank the members of our 1916 Society.

Committed to philanthropy

We celebrate and thank the members of our 1916 Society – for their foresight, generosity, and commitment to civic engagement.




LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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