Media release

After nearly 15 years at the helm, Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO, plans retirement from Rhode Island Foundation for May 2023

Led by Dr. G. Alan Kurose, the Foundation’s Board of Directors will establish a search committee and engage an executive search firm in order to identify the organization’s next leader

The Rhode Island Foundation announced today that Neil D. Steinberg will retire from his role as President and CEO of the state’s community foundation effective May 1, 2023. Steinberg will continue to lead the organization’s operations and strategies, and offer transition support, while the Foundation’s Board of Directors will launch a national search for the institution’s next leader.

“Neil has been a transformative leader for the Rhode Island Foundation and for the entire state,” said Dr. G. Alan Kurose, Rhode Island Foundation board chair. “He has assembled a management team at the Foundation that has consistently performed at a very high level, particularly during the pandemic. With the full support of the Foundation Board, Neil has also established civic leadership as an enduring priority of the Rhode Island Foundation.”

Steinberg joined the Foundation in 2008 following a distinguished career in banking and fundraising. “I have been fortunate to have worked for three iconic Rhode Island institutions – Fleet Bank, Brown University and the Rhode Island Foundation. That said, being president and CEO of the Foundation has undoubtedly been the best job I have ever had, and has allowed me the opportunity to work – as hard as I ever have – in service to the community,” said Steinberg. “At the Foundation, we truly live our mission to be a proactive community and philanthropic leader dedicated to meeting the needs of ALL the people of Rhode Island.”

Steinberg’s contributions to the growth and impact of the Foundation have grown the institution’s assets by three and a half times - despite taking the helm of the organization during an economic crisis in 2008. He has also contributed significantly to strengthening the Foundation’s position as the state’s leading philanthropic entity and as a strong voice for civic leadership and systems change for the good of all Rhode Islanders. In addition, his leadership has solidified the Foundation’s position as a national leader in the community foundation sector.

Steinberg will leave a legacy of leadership and positive impact that includes:

o Raising over $600 million in funds, and overseeing grant awards totaling more than $700 million since 2008;

o Launching the Foundation’s Civic Leadership Fund more than a decade ago, allowing the Foundation to respond – in real time – to challenges and opportunities facing our state;

o Leading long-term health and education planning efforts with experts in the two sectors, and initiating and leading ‘Make it Happen’ planning efforts to spur on economic development and small business support as the state rebounded from the 2008 economic crisis, and again in 2021 – gathering community input and pulling experts together – to offer ideas and strategies for consideration as state leaders determine how to allocate Rhode Island’s $1.1 billion share of discretionary American Rescue Plan Act dollars;

o Steinberg also led the launch of the Foundation’s two most significant scholarship programs – the Carter Roger Williams Scholarship and the Andrew Scholarship;

o In addition, he has been a strong advocate and supporter of the Foundation’s increased commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, including the launch of the Equity Leadership Initiative; and

o Steinberg has built a talented team at the Foundation, and has worked to increase awareness of the Foundation’s work and build the institution’s brand.

“At 68 years old, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and exploring a next chapter in my career,” said Steinberg. “I expect to continue committing significant time and energy to the community, and to Rhode Island.”

The Foundation’s Board of Directors is committed to finding an accomplished leader to steward the organization into the future, and advance the mission of meeting the needs of all Rhode Islanders. The Board, led by Dr. G. Alan Kurose, will engage an executive search firm to conduct a robust search for the Foundation’s next chief executive.

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 $98 million and awarded $76 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.