Media release

Foundation is offering college scholarships of up to $20,000 to promote Roger Williams’ core values

Conceived of and funded by the Carter family, the program is in its fifth year

The Rhode Island Foundation today announced it will award college scholarships of up to $20,000 a year through the Carter Roger Williams Initiative. Conceived of and funded by philanthropists Letitia and the late John Carter, the program honors the principles of the state’s founding father.

“Roger Williams was a complicated man, but the pillars he aspired to resonate even in our modern era. Thanks to the vision and continued commitment of the Carter family, young people across Rhode Island will continue to discover his values and be able to connect with them,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. “Since the program started in 2017, 24 students have been awarded scholarships totaling $1.3 million.”

Rhode Island high school seniors who display an appreciation for values like freedom of conscience and learning from others that Roger Williams practiced are eligible for up to $80,000 over four years based on financial need and academic good standing.

Applicants must be residents of Rhode Island, high school seniors and attend a public, parochial or independent high school in Rhode Island. The deadline for members of the Class of 2021 to apply is Feb. 12.

Candidates will be evaluated based on financial need, comprehension and application of Roger Williams’ principles and record of academic and community achievement. More details about the scholarships are posted on

Last year’s five recipients received scholarships that could total $320,000 over four years. Kamar Gure, a first-year student at Rhode Island College, is one of the recipients.

I was not thinking of going to college at first, but when I found out about the Carter Roger Williams Scholarship, I suddenly had a hope that I might be able to attend college,” said Gure, who graduated from Central High School and is studying to be a labor and delivery nurse.

“There are probably some students who know about this scholarship but they don't want to apply because they feel like they might not get it. I felt the same way at first; but something in me kept telling me to try so that I wouldn't have to regret it later for not trying and the other thing is that you should never lose hope never. Don't ever lose hope, believe in yourself and don't think about where you are now, think about the future and where you want to be,” she said.

While the Carter Roger Williams Scholarships are the largest scholarships the Foundation awards, they are among nearly $3 million in scholarships the Foundation will award this year.

The Carter Roger Williams Initiative also includes a free online education hub at that offers activities and discussion starters on Roger Williams and his teachings for elementary, middle and high school educators to use in their classrooms. Also available online is a comprehensive collection of verified information about Roger Williams and his life, legacy and character.

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