Filomena Fund

The Filomena Fund was inspired by the spontaneous generosity of the viewers of Providence Municipal Court Judge Frank Caprio’s popular program “Caught in Providence,” televising the judicial work of Judge Caprio and his compassionate approach to those who came before him in his courtroom.

In 2018, Angie Chesser, a single mother from Indiana and viewer of the program, was so moved by the plight of a motorist who came before Judge Caprio, that she mailed a $25 donation to the court, requesting it be used to help another single mother. In response, the Judge used the funds to assist a woman without many resources, paying forward Angie’s act of kindness. Days after the case aired, dozens of donations were received from viewers looking to help others in need. These unsolicited donations soon became known as the “Filomena Fund.” Named for Judge Caprio’s mother, Filomena, the fund embodied her life-long generosity and efforts to help others in her Federal Hill neighborhood and beyond.

After almost 40 years on the bench, Judge Caprio retired in 2023, but the donations to the fund in memory of Filomena and to help those less fortunate continued. The donations were then dedicated to assisting various charities and organizations that provided essential assistance to those in need.

The Board of the Directors of the Filomena Fund said it was an “easy call” to transfer the fund’s contributions to the Rhode Island Foundation, and the donor-advised Filomena Fund at the Foundation was created to continue its charitable work.

The professional staff, philanthropic expertise, impeccable reputation, and flexibility to direct financial assistance to help in all sectors were important considerations in choosing to partner with the Rhode Island Foundation. Goals for the fund include support for organizations like the Federal Hill House, which had a profound impact on Filomena, the Fund’s namesake, raising children as a young mother on Federal Hill, and for other nonprofits focused on basic human needs and education.

Although Judge Caprio has retired, the Filomena Fund and its good work carries on.

Contributions to the Filomena Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation can be made here.