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  • Rhode Island Foundation Selects 31 People for Inaugural Equity Leadership Initiative Class

    The goal is to build a pipeline of candidates of color for positions of influence throughout the state 

    The Rhode Island Foundation has selected 31 people to participate in the inaugural class of its Equity Leadership Initiative (ELI). The program will build a pipeline of future leaders of color for positions of influence throughout the state. 

    “I am excited to get to work to cultivate the next generation of industry leaders – bank presidents, hospital CEOs, leaders in academia and kindergarten through 12 education, corporate executives, policy-makers, judges and more – who are people of color,” said Angie Ankoma, ELI’s executive director and a vice president at the Foundation. 

    The participants were selected from nearly 100 applicants. Members identify as Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous or multi-racial. Nearly 75 percent identify as women. They work in government and the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. 

    The 12-month leadership development initiative includes monthly group work sessions, regular one-to-one coaching sessions, being matched with a mentor and networking with high-level connections across sectors.  

    The participants are Adetola Abiade, Adewole Akinbi, Rose Albert, Janelle Amoako, Ana Barraza, Doris Blanchard, Madeline Burke, Michael Cancilliere, Krystal Carvalho, Angelyne Cooper, Steve Craddock, David Dankwah, Rupa Datta, Nwando Egbuche Ofokansi, Yvonne Heredia, Teddi Jallow, Stacy Jones, Silvermoon Mars LaRose, Francisco Lovera, Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies, Ray Nuñez, Monsurat Ottun, Alisha Pina, Manuela Raposo, Victoria Rodriguez, Juan Rodriguez, Rosedelma Seraphin, Kajette Solomon, Edward Tavarez, Carla Wahnon and Kilah Walters-Clinton. 

    The leadership program is just one facet of the Rhode Island Foundation’s broad, 3-year, $8.5 million plan to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and access – with a first focus on racial equity – above and beyond its traditional yearly grant-making. 

    Recent work includes creating a capacity-building program to support nonprofits led by Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous or multi-racial executive directors or other decision-makers within an organization; and launching a grant program to help nonprofits create anti-racist organizational cultures. 

    “Eliminating disparities and inequities is among our core values, and is a major focus across all of our work in the community. We use a racial equity lens while making decisions about allocating resources to improve health, educational success and economic security among other critical issues,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation. 

    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 $68 million and awarded a record $87 million in grants in 2020. Since its centennial five years ago, the Foundation has awarded more than $284 million in grants and has raised more than $328 million. 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 rifoundation.org.

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