38 selected for Equity Leadership Initiative III

The program reflects the Foundation’s core commitment to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and access in all its activities

The Rhode Island Foundation has selected 38 people to participate in the third class of its Equity Leadership Initiative (ELI). The goal is to build a pipeline of leaders of color for positions of influence throughout the state.  

“The demographics of our state are changing quickly. Unfortunately, real opportunity for too many has not been keeping pace. Developing programs that raise up new voices is just one way the Foundation is ensuring that the opportunity gap continues to close,” said David N. Cicilline, president and CEO of the Foundation.

The cohort was selected from more than 80 applicants. Members identify as Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous or multi-racial. Seventy-one percent identify as women. Members of the cohort work in the public, nonprofit and for-profit sectors.

 The 12-month leadership development initiative includes monthly group work sessions, regular one-to-one coaching sessions, and networking with high-level connections across sectors. 

“We have the incredible privilege to offer this group of leaders the opportunity to be themselves, to respect their respective identities and to applaud their successes. We’re looking forward to developing pathways for them to achieve even more,” said Angie Ankoma, ELI’s executive director and a vice president at the Foundation.  

The members of the 2023/24 Class are Traci Adedeji, Robert Britto-Oliveira, Charles Carvalho, Minna Choi, Justina Crawford, Monique Dawes, Jonathan De Jesus, Doris De Los Santos, Cherai DiMeo, Michelle Fontes, Yanaiza Gallant, Sara Gilkenson, Deborah Gonzalez, Emily Gonzalez, Shikenya Gough, Nina Harrison, Alexander Jimenez, Gloria Johnson, Jamil Jorge, Sarnya Kunchithapatham Pichaiyappa, Stephen Larbi, Deborah Levans, Anthony Mam, Helena Moronta, Sharon Morris, Nephtali Navarro, Crystal Peralta, Mariel Phillip, Carolina Roberts-Santana, Ineida Rocha, Felicia Salinas-Moniz, Janie Segui Rodriguez, Patrick Smith, Ralph Tavares, Bernadette Tavares, Simone Tubman, Moises Valcarcel Gonzalez and Joana Yeboah.

“Equity leadership is not a one-size-fits-all prescription. Equity leadership is not a one-and-done. Equity leadership is not a destination, but a journey. Equity leadership is not just a mission statement, but an action plan. Equity-driven leadership is a way of thinking and acting that is focused on creating a more just and equitable world. Equity-driven leadership is a journey of constant learning, growing, thinking, strategizing and executing,” said Ralph Tavares, a member of the new cohort.

The leadership program is just one facet of the Rhode Island Foundation’s core commitment to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and access in all its activities.

 Recent work includes awarding nearly $2.2 million to help dismantle the fundamental causes of systemic racism in Rhode Island, awarding nearly $1.2 million to increase the number of teachers of color in urban school districts and creating a capacity-building program to support nonprofits led by Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous or multi-racial executive directors or other decision-makers within an organization.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $75 million and awarded $84 million in grants last year. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.