Media release

Polly Wall to chair our Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Foundation has elected Mary Brooks “Polly” Wall as Chair effective Jan. 1, 2019. The Providence resident will succeed Marie Langlois.

“It has been my honor to contribute to the Foundation’s work helping the people of Rhode Island. I am certain that Polly’s extraordinary vision and broad experience will enhance the Foundation’s efforts to move our state forward,” said Langlois, whose 3-year term will expire Dec. 31. She will continue to serve as a member of the Board.

As the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofits in the state, the Foundation focuses on three strategic priorities: educational success, economic security and healthy lives. Its Responsive Grants Program invests in a wide range of sectors, including arts and culture, children and families, the environment and housing.

Wall brings substantial community and business leadership to the Foundation, where she has served on the Board since 2011. She currently serves as Secretary and chairs the Finance Committee.

"It is well recognized that for all the advantages and assets of Rhode Island, there is also tremendous need. There are countless opportunities to encourage, provide for and enhance life among our residents. In addressing such need, the Foundation has an impressive 100-plus-year history as a diligent steward, strategic funder and efficient conduit for donors to support the nonprofit work that is meaningful to each of them,”

- Mary Brooks “Polly” Wall

“With a superlative staff, the Foundation partners with generous donors and talented grantees to benefit all Rhode Islanders in various ways. Following Marie Langlois’ distinguished service, I am deeply honored to become the next Board Chair - all the more because my Dad, John Wall, also served on the Foundation’s Board for many years. It is a joy to be part of this dedicated community,” she said.

Wall was elected to a 3-year term as chair. The 13-member Board is responsible for setting policy at the Foundation, which raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to 1,700 nonprofits in 2017.

Mary Brooks “Polly” Wall
Mary Brooks “Polly” Wall

Wall earned her undergraduate degree in Economics at Brown University and an MBA from Harvard University. She is a former Managing Director and Chief Credit Officer (Americas) for Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Capital, and Union Bank of Switzerland. Prior to that, Wall was a Grain Merchandiser at Continental Grain Company and earlier completed Global Credit training at the Chase Manhattan Bank. Ten years ago, she returned to her native Providence.

Currently, Wall serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Community Preparatory School, as Treasurer of the Harvard Business School Association of Southeastern New England and as a member of the Vestry of Providence’s Grace Church (Episcopal), where she also served as Senior Warden.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.