Media release

Rhode Island Foundation receives $12 million donation for scholarships

The gift is the largest for scholarships in the Foundation’s 106-year history

A $12 million gift to the Rhode Island Foundation will soon help send dozens of Rhode Island high school graduates to college every year through its new Robert G. and Joyce Andrew College Scholarship Fund, which is named in honor of the late donors.

“Bob and Joyce loved Rhode Island. It was home. They recognized the importance of education but realized most kids couldn’t afford it; they certainly couldn’t afford it when they were young. They wanted to pass along the opportunity and gift of education, yet keep it in Rhode Island,” said Drew Davies, co-executor of the Andrew estate and a friend of the couple.

The gift is the largest donation expressly for scholarships in the Foundation's 106-year history. The new fund is expected to generate enough income annually to provide nearly 100 scholarships a year.

"Ensuring the legacy of generous donors who want to support the community over many years is core to the work of the Rhode Island Foundation. We are honored that Bob and Joyce Andrew trusted us to preserve their legacy with these scholarships, which will benefit so many now and well into the future. Each year these funds will make a meaningful and lasting difference in the lives of each of the many recipients," said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

The fund will provide financial-need-based scholarships to applicants who pursue undergraduate study at Bryant University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, the University of Rhode Island or the Community College of Rhode Island within three years of graduating from a Rhode Island high school. The scholarships are renewable for up to three additional academic years. The Foundation estimates this year’s scholarships will average about $6,000.

“Bob and Joyce would be humbled by the joy their gift will bring. The magnitude of this gift will carry on for generations and change many lives,” said Davies. “This is a celebration of their lives. Helping these students fulfill their educational dreams is their legacy.”

Married for 59 years, the Andrews grew up in Providence's West End in the 1930s and 1940s. After Bob returned from serving with the U.S. Army in Germany, he and Joyce began investing in real estate. Joyce was a teller at Citizens Bank in Providence until her retirement. Bob had a long and successful career as a businessman, including stints at the former Fleet Bank and as a vice president of one of the largest real estate firms in Rhode Island. He then launched several small businesses and went into commercial real estate before his retirement.

The deadline to apply is May 9. For more information about the Robert G. and Joyce Andrew College Scholarship Fund, click here.

The Foundation has been offering scholarships since 1922, when the Providence High School Scholarship Fund was established. The Andrew scholarships are among $4 million in financial aid that is available this year.

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. For more information, visit