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Leadership RI’s Mike Ritz: 12 Who Made a Difference in RI in 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

 

Leadership RI Executive Director Mike Ritz has made Central Falls a focus of LRI's efforts in 2012. Photo: LeadershipRI.

If any Rhode Islander makes it cool to harness the power of positive thinking, it would have to be Mike Ritz. The Executive Director of Leadership Rhode Island proved it in spades in 2012, using his clout at LRI to turn the brain trust of the state's up and coming leaders on the place in RI that may need it most--Central Falls.

In October 25, 2012, (the day that the city's bankruptcy officially ended), LRI launched Leadership Central Falls, a new, six-month leadership development program funded by LRI and donations. Leadership Central Falls will bring in 24 "established and emerging community leaders" from Central Falls who will commit to at least 100 hours of community service after completing the program. The goal is to seed the city with passionate advocates who have worked together and see the potential in their city's turnaround.

The launch caps a full-court press by Ritz, and Leadership Rhode Island, to make positive change in the financially plagued city. Central Falls was a central focus of LRI's most recent class, which also included the city's newly elected mayor, James Diossa.

Ready to take back the city

"The residents of Central Falls are re-energized, ready to take back their city," Ritz said. "This isn't about votes or individual selfish financial interests. Leave your ego at the door." Ritz, a true booster, is also a cofounder of Chocolateville, the Central Falls-based chocolate business that raises funds and awareness for local issues.

“Leadership Central Falls is a response to the need for sustainability of some of the good work that has begun during this municipal turnaround,” Ritz said. “The six-month course will explore ways to increase the community's potential for long-lasting success and empower residents to take action through our wider statewide network.”

In July, Ritz said that LRI's focus on Central Falls was "a pilot to see what we can do when we rally behind a particular issue." Now, with 2012 drawing to a close, the answer to that has to be a resounding yes.

 

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