Whitcomb: Holiday Horrors; Break Up Facebook, Google, too; New Use for Brayton Point?

Monday, November 27, 2017


View Larger +

Robert Whitcomb, GoLocal Columnist

“It is hard to hear the north wind again,

And to watch the treetops, as they sway.

They sway, deeply and loudly, in an effort,
So much less than feeling, so much less than speech….’’

-- From “The Region November,’’ by Wallace Stevens



“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.’’

-- Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger


“I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything….

“Grab ’em by the {expletive}. You can do anything.’’

-- President Trump, in his famous 2005 conversation with Billy Bush.


And so it goes. There’s little doubt that power, and proximity to it, builds a sense of sexual domination/privilege in many people as well as a sense of submission in their victims. And the longer that famous people hold power, the more their sense of domination grows as our celebrity culture pumps them up.


Then comes along some event, such as the outing of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as a serial abuser, to cause people to look around and see what’s happening. Then there may be a period of relative restraint before the abuse by the powerful (which usually means rich, too, in our wealth-worshipping country) starts all over again.


View Larger +

Former President Bill Clinton

That we’ve had two recent presidents – Bill Clinton and Trump – who are serial abusers may signify that whatever the outraged rhetoric, Americans are remarkably tolerant of such bad behavior.  One of the saddest things about this is related to the fact that the president is not only head of the Executive Branch, but also head of state. As such he (and maybe someday she) is supposed to represent the dignity and gravity of the nation as a whole. And so bad behavior by a president lowers the image and self-respect of the whole nation. That problem has reached industrial strength.


New York Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand was right to blurt out the other day that Bill Clinton should have resigned in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Was Senator Gillibrand being hypocritical, given the great assistance that the Clintons have given her over the years? Probably.  The country would have been better off if Bill Clinton had left the White House in 1998. If he had resigned, an intelligent and dignified man – Al Gore – would have taken over and probably been elected on the basis of having been a competent chief executive for a couple of years before the 2000 election, in which as vice president he got half a million more votes than George W. Bush.  (As usual, the 18th Century Electoral College system gave a big advantage to the GOP.)


Public decorum and dignity have been sliding for some time, but Clinton and far worse, Trump, have pushed them off a cliff.


As for Charlie Rose: His narcissism and curious insecurity were often visible in his fawning over celebrities on his interviews. Still, those shows were often very good television, in large part because of the ingenuity and energy of the young producers and other off-camera staff who used Rose’s reputation for softball pitches to get good guests with an astonishingly wide range of backgrounds and expertise. Some of those staffers, however, paid a price in being sexually harassed by Charlie Rose the relentless egomaniac. Now they feel safe to complain. Mighty late.


Celebrities in these sex scandals, such as Bill Clinton, Trump,  Charlie Rose, Roy Moore, Al Franken, John Conyers, Joe Barton (he’s apparently just an exhibitionist rather than an abuser), etc. , etc.,  all have something in common – the desire to be at the center of everything. They’re all saying “look at me’’ all the time. This extends to the bizarre spectacle of so many of these far-past-the-Adonis-stage men displaying,  without invitation, their nudity (and/or excitable parts of their anatomy) to the women they’re hitting on. They’d do American culture a favor by going away.


View Larger +

Mark Halpren

Now the public is caught up in a Niagara of tawdry tales – a voyeur’s delight; the Weinstein case seems to have burst a dam holding back innumerable complaints. But citizens are so caught up in the circus that they might not notice the damage being done to federal functions by the Trump regime, such as gutting environmental protections and making it easier for Wall Street to pull us into another crash and recession. And a crooked tax “reform’’ bill aimed at further enriching the likes of the Trumps and the Koch Brothers moves toward possible passage. Scariest is the growing evidence of the tight collusion of the Trump mafia and the Kremlin, now at least briefly off the front page because of celebs’ sex scandals.




So, as the winds strip off the last leaves from the trees (except the oaks, many of whose leathery brown leaves will hang on through much of the winter), we enter the fearsome holiday season, bringing such features as Advent calendars, lots of colored lights, punch with mysterious ingredients and relentless retailing. It will be by turns exhausting, loud, fun and, perhaps toward the end, maudlin or even boring, much of it seasoned with social anxiety. Its best ending would be a cold, clear, calm New Year’s Day morning with its momentary feeling of a new start. 


There’s far too much emotion invested in the Christmas season, as any playing of “White Christmas’’ or “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,’’ both written in the early ‘40s, brings out.  The intensity of the emotions around the holiday shows itself in how popular these melancholy songs remain after so many decades, and after so much rock, hip-hop and rap.


Back to the business of America – business. Obviously, online shopping will continue to expand this holiday shopping season, but will that expansion slow as shoppers realize that maybe they want to spend more time with people and other physical things and less on an increasingly unsatisfying (and sometimes dangerous) Internet?


View Larger +

The romance of touching a newspaper

David Sax had a Nov. 19 New York Times piece headlined “Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over.’’ He’s the author of The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter.


He may be too optimistic. Obviously digital isn’t going away (and this is “Digital Diary’’!) but I sense that many more people these days are learning to regulate their screen lives. There’s increasing evidence that spending many hours a day online, especially in the social-media swamp, causes depression and anxiety.


It’s interesting to see the sales of books on paper rising and e-books falling. Likewise, vinyl records have been seeing a big comeback, as have paper notebooks. People want to (need to?) touch, see and smell things.  And who knows? Maybe this desire to get real things will create, for example, a successor small-store chain to succeed the sadly departing Benny’s. Maybe Adler’s Hardware, on Providence’s Wickenden Street, can lead the way around here. Benny’s was always an inviting place to find useful Christmas presents. Perhaps with a different kind of management, such small stores can succeed, at least in a few places with strong and stable neighborhoods.


We all must now swim in a digital sea but we will remain fundamentally analog. 


(Analog – adjective: “Relating to or using signals or information represented by a continuously variable physical quantity such as spatial position or voltage.’’)


To read Mr. Dax’s essay, please hit this link:




View Larger +

In other media news: The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division is suing AT&T to stop its $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner. Well, yes, such a combination is too big. At first glance,  I find it nice to see the government apparently acting, at least in this case, to promote a more level playing field for startups and to limit a huge entity’s pricing power. If AT&T gets Time Warner it would steer its customers to its own content, at a high price, and might effectively keep some programs from being used by new online streaming programs, thus hindering innovation.


But I’m also suspicious that the Justice Department might be trying to stick it to CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.  President Trump, whose respect for rigorous journalism and, indeed, the First Amendment, are weak, has made his hatred for CNN as clear as his love for his pal  Rupert Murdoch’s Fox “News’’.


The Antitrust Division’s  action begs a bigger question: When will the government go after the rapacious near-monopolies of Facebook and Google, both of which also pose a powerful threat to personal privacy and national security, at least as they’re run now by moral, philosophical and political ignoramuses (if techno and business geniuses)? And then there’s America’s monster store --- Amazon. Facebook and Google have accumulated more power than AT&T in Americans’ daily lives. In administrations before 1990, they would have been broken up.





No fishing regulations, no fish. It’s good to remember that when reading the news that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has ordered around 60 fishermen and 22 vessels, mostly out of New Bedford,  to return to shore as a result of cheating on fishing catches of cod, haddock, flounder and some other groundfish. The owner of many of the boats, Carlos Rafael, aka “The Codfather,’’ has been convicted in federal court of massive fishing violations.


The fishermen haven't been keeping accurate counts of their catches: Translation: They’ve been cheating on the quotas meant to protect the viability of valuable species in the waters off New England. The cod population is under particular pressure, with surveys saying that it has fallen to about 6 percent of what’s needed for long-term sustainability.


We almost made the American bison (buffalo) extinct by acting for decades as if they were inexhaustible. We sometimes seem to be taking the same attitude toward fish in the sea. Anyway, this is bad news for New Bedford for the next couple of years.




Now here’s something that speaks to a sector in which Rhode Island actually has a comparative advantage. This came in from Providence City Hall:


“Mayor Jorge Elorza and DESIGNxRI announced the culmination of the Providence Design Catalyst program that provided 17 Providence-based design businesses with funding, mentorship, and professional development to catalyze their small business growth. The Providence Design Catalyst program is the first design business grant program aimed at catalyzing small design business growth in the City of Providence. It is a partnership between DESIGNxRI, Rhode Island School of Design, the City of Providence, and Social Enterprise Greenhouse and funded through federal … funds.


“’Providence is deeply rooted in art and design-based industries. The Providence Design Catalyst program builds on that strength by enabling small businesses to get off the ground and grow in the Creative Capital,’ said Mayor Elorza. ‘We look forward to the continued growth of the awardees of this innovative and creative funding opportunity and their contribution to a thriving design sector here in Providence.”’


This is the way to go: Leverage Rhode Island’s comparative advantages – most notably in design, ocean-related industries, and superb location  -- to attract and expand businesses. Don’t try to compete in sectors in which the state has no particular advantages. Of course, some firms can be lured by big tax and other public incentives.  But they’re unlikely to stick around for long.




As for Virgin Pulse, the Richard Branson-connected wellness-at-work company that’s moving its headquarters to Providence from Framingham: The main reasons, besides the inevitable tax incentives, are that it’s still close to the vast healthcare/techno center of Greater Boston (but cheaper) and Providence is a much more interesting place to work in than Framingham.  That Providence has a medical and nursing school doesn’t hurt either. Who knows where Virgin Pulse will be based in five years but we all hope its employees enjoy their visit, especially Providence’s many fine restaurants.




A Missouri-based company, Commercial Development Co., plans to buy the now closed and once heavily polluting fossil-fuel-powered Brayton Point Power Station, in Somerset, Mass. and may turn the 307-acre site into a center for wind power. How fitting.

 “Multiple factors attracted us to this site. Of greatest interest was the potential for renewable energy development,” said Randall Jostes, the company’s  CEO. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center sees very breezy Brayton Point as a possible site for an industrial wind port.


Some of us will feel a pang when the two huge and eerie cooling towers at Brayton Point, looming on the south side of Route 195, are torn down. A lot of people have thought that the facility was nuclear.



View Larger +

Last Wednesday, my friend Bruce Newbury asked me on his radio show (WADK-AM -- 1540)  what I was doing on Nov. 22, 1963, when shots were fired in Dallas.


I was cutting open a dead white rat soaked in formaldehyde in my high-school bio lab when some kid rushed in to say that “some {John} Bircher shot Kennedy.’’


The John Birch Society (still around) is a radical-right wing organization far more famous then than now. (Among other things the society asserted that the fluoridation of public water supplies was a Communist plot and that Dwight Eisenhower was a Commie fellow traveler. The Birchers in the ‘60s were sort of proto-Tea Partiers.)


My labmate and I went to find a TV set in a common room. As we got there Walter Cronkite, then the CBS News anchorman,  looking stunned and near tears, took off his glasses for a few seconds, and announced that Kennedy was dead.


In fact, of course, it was the Communist Lee Harvey Oswald, a former resident of the Soviet Union, who shot Kennedy. I increasingly think that others were involved in the assassination, too.


I was never a huge Kennedy fan, but the horrific way in which his administration, and in 1968 his brother Robert’s presidential campaign, ended have scarred American politics to this day. And we would have done better without the Camelot myth.




The idea of the “public intellectual’’ in the U.S. has long faded in a culture that has become more and more frantic, distracted and impatient. But as recently as about 20 years years ago, millions of people avidly listened to the likes of such public intellectuals as William F. Buckley Jr., the economist John Kenneth Galbraith and the writer Gore Vidal.


One of this tribe was the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger  Jr. (1917-2009), who used his writing and research talents and  academic and political connections to become a major figure of what Time Inc. co-founder Henry Luce called “The American Century.’’ Once a household name, he is now mostly forgotten. But maybe his career will win new interest with Richard Aldous’s new, gracefully written and rigorously researched biography, Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian (Norton, 486 pp. $29.95 hardcover).


It’s the best explanation I’ve read of a man who was both a powerfully effective political image-maker and a serious scholar who helped color how many citizens saw the cycles of American history. He had very broad interests, among which were movies; he wrote film reviews for years.


Mr. Schlesinger’s histories of the Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt administrations made him famous – which helped make him a speechwriter and adviser to Adlai Stevenson, and most famously John F. Kennedy, about whom the professor wrote a somewhat hagiographic personal history of the JFK White House called A Thousand Days after JFK’s assassination.


The bow-tied Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. represented a kind of confident Eastern Establishment political/academic/economic elite that now seems quaint.


Back when I was in high school, I received a history prize one of Mr. Schlesinger’s books. Although the school I attended had very Republican antecedents – it was founded in 1890 by the brother of William H. Taft, who would follow Theodore Roosevelt into the White House – Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. was considered so estimable (and famous) as a historian that despite his liberal Democratic affiliations, the prize givers didn’t fear that a student would be corrupted by reading him.




View Larger +

President Donald Trump

Finally, there’s Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, by Luke Harding, published by Penguin Random House. The book tells the tale of Donald Trump’s long infatuation with Russia and especially its dictator, Vladimir Putin, and the Russians’ brilliant use of Trump.


Amazon calls the book:


"An explosive exposé that lays out the Trump administration’s ties to Moscow, and Russia’s decades-in-the-making political game to upend American democracy.’’


Related Slideshow: 50 Ways to Give in RI This Holiday Season - 2018

View Larger +
Prev Next

Books are Wings


Kids from low-income families, ethnic minority groups, and English- language learners are at the highest risk for lacking the fundamental tools that provide the basic building blocks for reading.

Books are Wings is trying to change that by providing FREE books. Help them out by making donation HERE.

At Books Are Wings Book Parties, kids read stories, discuss literature, spell their names and get FREE books to help their reading skills at home. 

Books are Wings makes a difference by: 

  •  providing children with FREE books needed in their homes to continue ongoing literacy efforts
View Larger +
Prev Next

Children's Friend


You can never donate enough to benefit the well being of kids. 

Children's Friend is one of the leaders in attempting to improve the lives of children. Donate to them HERE. 

How important are they?  With centers in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, Children’s Friend serves over 30,000 of Rhode Island's most vulnerable children and their families each year. 

Children's Friend makes a difference by: 

  • providing flexible, effective, and culturally-relevant services
  • advocating for programs and policies that support and strengthen children and their families
View Larger +
Prev Next

United Way of RI


Through Live United 2020, we will strengthen our community. We’ll invest in partnerships that are tested to make sure that they work over the short-term, and are scalable over the long-term. We’ll try some new ideas, too. And, with your support, we’ll spread positive results to families across the state.

Learn more and donate here.

View Larger +
Prev Next

Norman Bird Sanctuary 


The mission of the Norman Bird Sanctuary is to maintain land for the protection, preservation and propagation of birds.

The sanctuary is also open for those who want to observe bird life.

Click here to donate.

The Norman Bird Sanctuary makes a difference by: 

  • Protecting and preserving birds
View Larger +
Prev Next

Capital Good Fund


The Capital Good Fund works to create pathways out of poverty for Rhode Islanders by providing affordable loans that take the place of payday loans, buy-here-pay-here car financing, and rent-to-own pricing. Donate HERE.

How important are they? To date, they have provided 3,254 loans totaling $6,291,496 have been disbursed to low-income Americans.

The Capital Good Fund makes a difference by: 

  • offering small loans and personalized Financial + Health Coaching to families in Rhode Island
View Larger +
Prev Next

Fierce for Shannon Foundation

SHARE FOR SHANNON >> PAY IT FORWARD campaign was created to honor Shannon Heil in a way she would naturally do herself. By being creative. By doing something random and by giving back to others.

On June 26th the Pay It Forward Facebook page was launched and as by Monday July 7th there were just 200 or so "likes" of the page. Now, there are thousands on social media and participating in the effort to Pay It Forward.

The effort is a movement and provides scholarships to other. Learn more and donate here.

View Larger +
Prev Next

Rare Disease United Foundation


Rare diseases are just that -- rare, meaning if a person has one, it is easy for them to feel alone with no support. Who wants to be alone? Help support those with rare diseases -- and their families -- by donating HERE.

According to the foundation, more than 7,000 rare diseases exist and over 30 million Americans have them.

The Rare Disease United Foundation makes a difference by: 

  • providing support to those in need 
  • raising awareness for specific diseases
View Larger +
Prev Next

The Confetti Foundation


For kids, being in hospitals for any length of time is difficult -- and being there for an extended period of time and missing birthday parties is one of toughest parts. 

The Confetti Foundation brings the birthday parties to kids in the hospital. Make a donation HERE.

How important is it? As of November 2018, 5,452 parties have been thrown at over 215 hospitals. 

The Confetti Foundation makes a difference by: 

  • donating party supplies to hospitalized kids
  • throwing birthday parties for hospitalized kids
View Larger +
Prev Next

The Matty Fund


Living with Epilepsy can be hard on kids and families. 

The Matty Fund helps those who are living with the disease have a better life. Donate HERE.

The Matty Fund makes a difference by: 

  • providing resources and raising awareness
  • promoting patient safety
  • working to improve the quality of life for children and families
View Larger +
Prev Next

Gaits of Harmony Therapeutic Riding


There a number of great organizations using horses to help people overcome their lives challenges, and Gaits of Harmony is one of those. 

Gaits of Harmony provides people of all ages with chances to educate, enrich and empower themselves in order to overcome challenges of their daily lives through interaction with horses.

Make a donation HERE.

It serves thirty clients and involves members of the community all helping clients overcome their own individual challenges. 

Gaits of Harmony was named one of the top nonprofits of 2016 by greatnonprofits.org. 

Gaits of Harmony Therapeutic Riding makes a difference by: 

  • therapeutic riding - riding lessons adapted to the ability of the rider in individual or group lessons
  • Hippotherapy - a form of physical, occupational or speech therapy in which a therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded motor and sensory input. Offered as private lessons
  • interactive vaulting - fosters teamwork, teaches respect for the horse, fosters independence, builds confidence and encourages social interaction. Lesson is both mounted and un-mounted. Offered only as group lessons
View Larger +
Prev Next

Plan International USA, Inc.


If you're concerned about children beyond this country's borders, improving the lives of kids and families all around the world is something you can do this holiday season. 

Plan International has been working to break the cycle of child poverty for more than 75 years and in over 50 countries. The programs help millions of kids and their families escape poverty over the world. 

Make a donation HERE.

Plan International was named one of the top nonprofits of 2016 by greatnonprofits.org.

Plan International makes a difference by: 

  • strengthening health care systems
  • advocating for better protection 
  • working to break the cycle of child poverty
View Larger +
Prev Next

Ronald McDonald House of Providence 


There is nothing more important to parents and families than being as close to their kids as possible while they are in the hospital. Help more families be close to their kids, donate HERE.

Every year, over 300 families stay at the House while an additional 5,000 enjoy the Family Room. Both rooms are designed to keep families close during hospitalizations.

The Ronald McDonald House makes a difference by: 

  • providing a safe and caring environment to families with children at hospitals
View Larger +
Prev Next

New Urban Arts


What could be better than supporting an organization that helps inner-city kids develop their creativity?  New Urban Arts does just that.

How important is this program? According to New Urban Arts, 500 high school students, 25 emerging artists and over 3,000 visitors benefit through youth programs, professional development workshops, artist residencies, public performances, and exhibitions. 

Make a donation HERE.

New Urban Arts make a difference by helping youth:

  • develop positive relationships with non-parental adult mentors and peers
  • acquire standards-based skills & knowledge in the arts 
  • begin to develop their unique artistic voice
  • graduate high school on a path towards post-secondary success
View Larger +
Prev Next

Sweet Binks Rescue


Sweet Binks Rescue was formally Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue, they have since expanded to focus on wildlife rehabilitation. 

Sweet Binks has rescued and placed about 3500 domesticated rabbits from local shelters, cruelty cases, and strays. Make a donation HERE.

The facility has a 1800 sq. ft. shelter to provide sanctuary to the animals until they are placed. 

Sweet Binks Rescue makes a difference by: 

  • rehabilitating wild animals 
  • Raising and Releasing animals 
View Larger +
Prev Next

Be The Change Sunday Meal

West Warwick

Helping the homeless is always a priority, but they come more into focus with the arrival of the winter season. Help out the homeless this holiday season by making a donation HERE.

Be the Change Sunday Meal was named one of the great nonprofits of 2016 by greatnonprofits.org.

Be The Change Sunday Meal makes a difference by: 

  • serving Sunday meals
  • collecting and distributing items of need (coats, socks, food) to the homeless
View Larger +
Prev Next

RI Dream Center 


Sometimes all it takes to turn someone's day or life around is giving them a little bit of hope. And a Rhode Island nonprofit is working to do just that. Make a donation HERE.

The RI Dream Center provides thousands of meals and thousands of punds of clothing to the homeless on the streets on a yearly basis. 

The RI Dream Center makes a difference by: 

  • providing food, clothing and living supplies
  • holding addiction meetings and giving referrals 
View Larger +
Prev Next

Project Goal Inc.


Soccer is one of the few sports that are truly global. No matter where you are, nearly everyone knows how to play it. 

Project Goal teams with the New England Revolution to help Rhode Island's disadvantaged youth by using the game of soccer. Make a donation HERE.

Project Goal currently operates after-school programs for sixth, seventh and eighth grade children from Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls every Monday and Friday. 

Project Goal Inc. makes a difference by:

  • combining the benefits of academic achievement with the motivation and self-discipline of sports
  • promoting educational opportunity
  • combating growing problems of illiteracy, school delinquency, adolescent crime and obesity
View Larger +
Prev Next

Newport Public Education Foundation


School is supposed to be fun, at least a little bit, and the Newport Public Education Foundation works to take care of that. Help make school fun by donating HERE.

How important are they? The Foundation provides funds and support for music programs, field trips and more by annually awarding $20,000 in grants. 

Newport Public Education Foundation makes a difference by: 

  • supporting programs and services that address district-wide educational needs and enhance student learning 
  • fostering community volunteerism in the schools 
  • encouraging a community dialogue addressing school district-wide educational issues 
  • raising funds to support our current programs and to establish a strong financial foundation that will permit future expansion 
  • ensuring broad community participation in the organization and to create an organizational structure optimizing execution of all goals.
View Larger +
Prev Next

Children’s Wishes of RI


Everyone has a wish and for kids who are battling their own personal life challenges, those wishes can seem very distant at times. Help make kids wishes come true this holiday season by donating HERE. 

Here is one of their granted wishes:

"Johnnel is a 4-year-old boy who is legally blind and wished for a bedroom/therapeutic room makeover. He lives in Central Falls with his mom, dad, and siblings. His bedroom was re-done so that exercise mats were installed on the floors and walls. A handrail was also installed on the wall to help Johnnel learn to walk, as well as a double “Dutch” door. All construction costs were donated by LOPCO Contracting of Providence."

Children's Wishes of RI makes a difference by: 

  • granting wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses between the ages of 2 1/2-18 years old

PHOTO: Children's Wishes of RI

View Larger +
Prev Next

The Wolf School

East Providence 

Everyone has different ways of learning and some have their struggles for any number of reasons. Supporting the education of children in need is a great way to give. Make donation HERE.

The Wolf School enrolls up to 60 children in six classrooms with 6-8 students per class in Lower School and up to 10 students per class in Middle School.

The Wolf School makes a difference by: 

  • utilizing an intensive and integrated model which allows children to discover their strengths and talents by meeting their academic, social and emotional needs
  • having an individualized academic programming following grade level expectations
  • having language based learning environment with sensory processing supports and social thinking skills immersed into the academic curriculum
View Larger +
Prev Next

Hope Funds for Cancer Research


The more researchers, the better chance of finding a cure for all types of cancer. Who doesn't want that? Make a donation HERE. 

To date, Hope Funds for Cancer Research has completed funding of 14 fellowships, resulting in ten of these programs being published in top-tier journals and eight of these Fellows having already received faculty appointments.

In addition to these 14 completed fellowships, Hope Funds is currently funding 15 fellowships, with four of these having already been published.

The Hope Funds for Cancer Research makes a difference by: 

  • holding special events to help raise money for young researchers looking for fellowship opportunities
  • honoring Hope Funds honors with an annual medal -- individuals or organizations who have made a significant impact to patient care
View Larger +
Prev Next

Crossroads RI


If you are concerned about the state's homeless during the holiday season, Crossroads RI is the largest homeless service organization in Rhode Island. Make a donation HERE.

Most recently, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie donated $5 million to Crossroads Rhode Island to help fight homelessness.

Donate goods like baby diapers, non-perishable food items, and toiletries to the organization this year to help those who are homeless or at risk during these winter months. 

Crossroads RI makes a difference by: 

  • providing housing, basic needs, and shelter
  • assisting with case management, referrals, education and employment services
View Larger +
Prev Next

Rock Paper Scissors


Living in the United States, students and families often have access to music and art programs at schools and in the community. Those in other countries, like Vietnam, might not be as fortunate -- and there are organizations working to help them. Make a donation HERE. 

Rock Paper Scissors Children's Fund supports music and art programs for children in Vietnam. 

Or you can even donate a bike to children who often have to walk long distances to get to school. 

Rock Paper Scissors makes a difference by: 

  • providing learning opportunities for young students through art and music programs
View Larger +
Prev Next

Johnnycake Center


A lot of people need help making ends meet, but not everyone qualifies for established agencies. That is where the Johnnycake Center comes in. 

Help them end hunger by donating HERE.

The Johnnycake Center makes a difference by providing: 

  • emergency food pantry and emergency household items
  • SNAP application assistance
  • client service referrals
  • school vacation breakfast and lunch programs, back to school supplies
  • holiday meal programs
  • senior food basket delivery
  • pet food pantry
View Larger +
Prev Next



Sometimes it takes time to discover a passion, sometimes you just have to play around a bit, try different things. That is what FabNewport is all about. Help kids find their passions by donating HERE.

How important are they? FabNewport currently works with the East Bay Met School, the Newport Public Library, the Jamestown Arts Center, All Saints Academy, the Newport County Boys and Girls Clubs, the Jamestown Schools and area Home Schoolers.

FabNewport makes a difference by: 

  • encouraging students to discover their passions through play. Play means having time to fiddle, tinker and experiment with materials in encouraging environment supported by a coach
View Larger +
Prev Next

Best Buddies Rhode Island


Best Buddies is dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Make a donation HERE.

How important are they? Best Buddies has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States, and in 50 countries around the world.

Best Buddies makes a difference by: 

  • establishing a volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
View Larger +
Prev Next

Sojourner House


Domestic violence is an issue around the country and often times it takes time for victims to feel safe again. 

Sojourner House, Inc. is a domestic violence agency that assists victims of relationship violence by providing shelter, advocacy, and violence prevention education. Make a donation HERE.

Donate to their safe house wish list with items like toaster ovens, small tables, pillows, fitted sheets, and pots and pans for their residents.

Sojourner House makes a difference by: 

  • operating a 24-hour Help Line
  • safe house shelter and transitional housing program
  • free rapid HIV testing
  • support and empowerment group and advocacy services
View Larger +
Prev Next

RI Blood Center


Let's face it, everyone needs blood to live. Make a donation HERE.

The Blood Center is the only source of blood and blood products for the hospitals of Rhode Island while also serving Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Rhode Island Blood Center was established in 1979 as a non-profit community blood center.

The RI Blood Center makes a difference by: 

  • providing safe, plentiful & cost-effective blood supply
View Larger +
Prev Next

MAE Organization for the Homeless

West Warwick

MAE Organization is one of a number of groups working to alleviate homelessness in Rhode Island. Donate to MAE by clicking HERE.

How important are they? MAE currently provides hot meals, toiletries, shoes, bikes, tents to over 300 homeless and at risk individuals on the streets of Providence.

MAE makes a difference by providing: 

  • wellness programs, case management, job skills training 
  • counseling, treatment groups, and cognitive therapy
  • facilitating drug and alcohol treatment
  • mentoring programs and street outreach

Photo: MAE Organization for the Homeless

View Larger +
Prev Next

Operation Stand Down RI


Those who served and are serving our country more than deserve to live good lives when they return to the states. Help Operation Stand Down provide that by donating HERE.

You can also help by organizing food drives for their other locations. 

Operation Stand Down supports veteran soldiers who have experienced hardship and homelessness in Rhode Island. 

Operation Stand Down RI makes a difference by: 

  • helping struggling and homeless veterans by offering services and housing necessary to their well being
View Larger +
Prev Next

Rhode Island Food Bank


Give the gift of food during the holiday season by donating to the Rhode Island food bank. Click HERE to donate. 

How important are they? Millions of pounds of donated food and nonfood household products are distributed into the community through their network of 250 member agency food programs in the state. 

The RI Food Bank makes a difference by: 

  • providing multiple programs to ensure that Rhode Islanders have access to the nutritious food they need
  • utilizing Pantry Express and Direct Delivery programs to efficiently distribute healthy foods to high-need communities


SEE the Food Bank's Andrew Schiff on LIVE below: 

View Larger +
Prev Next

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center


From three-year-olds to adults, the MLK Community Center provides their clients with the tools and the knowledge that they need in order to reach their dreams. Help dreams come true by donating HERE.

The MLK Community Center is as impactful and meaningful to the 3-year -old toddler entering his first day of preschool as it is to breakfast program clients who come daily for a nutritious meal shared with friends. 

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center makes a difference by: 

  • providing clients with the tools and the knowledge to reach their dreams
View Larger +
Prev Next

West Place Animal Sanctuary 


Seeing hurt or sick animals doesn't have to leave you feeling helpless -- assisting with their care and recovery is one of the many ways you can give this holiday season. 

You can do just that by donating to the West Place Animal Sanctuary HERE.

In 2017, West Place Animal Sanctuary was named a top-rated 5-star Nonprofit. 

The West Place Animal Sanctuary makes a difference by: 

  • providing housing, food, and medical care for injured and orphaned wild birds, waterfowl and wild turkeys as well as unwanted farm animals 
  • overseeing rehabilitation services leading to the release of the aforementioned types of injured or orphaned wildlife, and providing placement services for farm animals whenever possible
View Larger +
Prev Next

Newport Festivals Foundation


The Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals draw thousands of fans to Newport every summer to enjoy great music by some of the best musicians who have ever lived. Donate HERE to help continue this great tradition. 

The Newport Festivals Foundation is in charge of festivals such as the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival. 

The Newport Festivals Foundation makes a difference by: 

  • preserving the legacy of the Newport Folk & Jazz Festivals
  • nurturing the creation and education of folk & jazz music in Rhode Island, as well as internationally
View Larger +
Prev Next

St. Mary's Home for Children

North Providence

Children who experience violence in their homes can often be affected for the rest of their lives, and may never truly get over it. 

The St. Mary's Home for Children provides services to help kids who are traumatized by violence in their homes. Click HERE to donate. 

St. Mary's Home for Children makes a difference by providing: 

  • residential and outpatient services
  • in-home services and educational services
View Larger +
Prev Next

Community MusicWorks


Music can serve as an important role in communities across the state and Rhode Island. 

Community MusicWorks looks to create an urban community through music education and performance that can transform the lives of children, families, and musicians. Click HERE to donate. 

Community MusicWorks makes a difference by: 

  • teaching, mentoring, program design, and performance activities of the Providence String Quartet
  • creating an opportunity for a professional string quartet to build and transform its own urban community
View Larger +
Prev Next

WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Care

North Kingstown, Pascoag, Foster

You can never have a shortage of community health care facilities and organizations. 

WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Care has been around for 108 years. Click HERE to donate. 

WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Care makes a difference by: 

  • Provides high quality health Care to individuals and families.
  • Promoting the highest quality of health for the individual and family as well as for the community. 
View Larger +
Prev Next

Youth Pride Inc.


Building a community where lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer youth can develop and be themselves is a vital part of the world today. Donate HERE to help Youth Pride continue to provide that. 

Youth Pride Inc. makes a difference by: 

  • providing free programs including individual counseling, weekly discussion groups, leadership trainings, social events and wellness activities.
  • being an affirming space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning young people to build community, develop connections and be themselves
View Larger +
Prev Next

Day One


Day One works to reduce sexual abuse and violence in Rhode Island, not only for survivors, but addressing the issue as a community concern 

Click HERE to donate. 

Day One makes a difference in the community by providing: 

  • 24-hour Helpline and legal advocacy
  • law enforcement advocacy programs
  • individual and group counseling
  • professional training session and prevention education workshops
View Larger +
Prev Next

Amos House


Amos House provides direct support for people in need by offering meals, shelter, and other resources that help them achieve stability and services they need.

Donate to the Amos House HERE.

The Amos House started as a small soup kitchen, and today consists of a campus of 14 buildings including a restaurant, permanent supportive housing and a mother-child reunification center.

Amos House makes a difference in the community by providing: 

  • 90-Day recovery-based programs
  • ten buildings dedicated to supportive housing as well as a mother-child reunification program
  • culinary and carpentry training programs, and a literacy center and social enterprise businesses that employ men and women and generate income
View Larger +
Prev Next

Looking Upwards


Founded in 1978, Looking Upwards is a private, nonprofit agency offering a wide array of services to adults with developmental disabilities and children with special healthcare needs.

Donate to them HERE.

How important are they? Looking Upwards serves more than 900 kids and adults across the state. 

Looking Upwards makes a difference by providing: 

services for adults with developmental disabilities
services for families of children with special healthcare needs

View Larger +
Prev Next

Little Flower Home


Providing a safe place for pregnant women and or young kids can be a monumental task. However, that is just what he people at the Little Flower Home are working to do, for Rhode Islanders in need. 

Help them continue to make a difference by donating HERE. 

The Little Flower Home makes a difference by: 

  • providing comfortable private room(s) in shared apartments or shared homes for pregnant women and their children at no cost for women dealing with domestic violence, or under undue pressure
  • providing clean clothing for both mom and children as well as guidance with respect to the wide array of Social Services that are available
  • assisting with food stamps and medical insurance for families and children
View Larger +
Prev Next

Lucy's Hearth


Lucy's Hearth is a 24-hour emergency and transitional shelter for mothers and their children who are homeless due to economic hardship, family crisis, divorce or any number of reasons. 

Donate HERE. 

In one year, Lucy's Hearth sheltered 52 families  –  45 mothers and 80 children through their emergency shelter, transitional apartment, and permanent apartment programs, for a total of nearly 14,000 shelter and transitional bed nights, with more than 28,000 meals served.

Lucy's Hearth makes a difference by providing: 

  • an emergency shelter program as well as transitional and permanent apartment programs
  • outreach and aftercare programs
View Larger +
Prev Next

Providence Animal Rescue


Homeless or lost animals often rely on the kindness of volunteers, and in this case a dedicated staff working to help them. Donate to Providence Animal Rescue HERE to help save these animals. 

Providence Animal Rescue makes a difference by:

  • providing appropriate shelter and humane care for homeless animals and seeking permanent responsible homes for adoptable animals
  • reducing pet overpopulation through strict spay/neuter measures and providing a diversity of humane education programs to meet community needs.
View Larger +
Prev Next

Mentor Rhode Island 


An hour a week is all it takes for a mentor to make a difference in the life of a child. 

Mentor Rhode Island works with 50+ programs statewide with over 5,000 children with mentors.

Donate HERE

Mentor Rhode Island makes a difference because kids with mentors are…

  • 46% less likely to begin using drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 53% less likely to skip school
  • 33% less likely to engage in violence
View Larger +
Prev Next

Rhode Island Interscholastic League


Sports can helps kids get through their day, week, month and maybe longer. The Interscholastic League helps make that possible -- donate HERE

How important are they?  There are 60 public, private, and parochial high schools who make up the league. These schools sponsor athletic activities in 28 sports. More than 20,000 young men and women compete 

The Rhode Island Interscholastic League makes a difference by: 

  • supervising and administering the athletic programs contests
  • scheduling and overseeing matters related to the participating schools throughout the state
View Larger +
Prev Next

Dorcas International Institute of RI


Anyone who is trying to overcome cultural, educational, economic or language barriers in Rhode Island can go to Dorcas for help.

And you can help Dorcas by donating HERE.

Dorcas International Institute makes a difference by providing: 

  • education & workforce training
  • a Center for Citizenship & Immigration Services
  • full service community school, refugee resettlement, interpreting & translating
  • a clothing collaborative and welcome center
View Larger +
Prev Next

The Burke Fund


The Burke Fund provides financial aid to students involved in the game of golf to help them get a college education. It is one of the oldest golf scholarship programs in the country. 

Since its inception, the Burke Fund has awarded over $3 million in college financial aid. 

Click HERE to donate.

The Burke Fundmakes a difference by: 

  • providing financial aid to students involved in the game of golf to help them get a college education. 
View Larger +
Prev Next

Stages of Freedom 


There is no better time to support the work of Stages of Freedom in enriching and empowering Rhode Island children of color.

Click HERE to donate. 

Stages of Freedom makes a difference by offering programs such as: 

  • Bow Ties for Boys, which teaches grooming and social skills to Black boys
  • Girls Tea Party, which teaches social graces and table manners to young girls of color at an elegant tea party
  • Swim Empowerment, which teaches children of color how to swim to drive down the high rate of drownings in our community. Last year we taught 311 children to swim at area YMCAs by paying for their lessons through private donations. We also provide opportunities for them to engage with their culture and history through lectures, performances, exhibits and walking tours. 
View Larger +
Prev Next

National Federation of the Blind of RI

East Providence

The membership-based consumer advocacy organization works to change what it means to be blind.

Help the blind -- and their families --  by donating HERE.

National Federation of the Blind makes a difference by: 

  • providing 2 chapters, with the Greater Providence Chapter meeting the third Saturday of the month in East Providence and the Mount Hope Chapter meeting the third Thursday of the month in Bristol
  • working to improve the quality of education for blind children
  • retaining the earning levels for blind people so that it is equal to people of age sixty-five
View Larger +
Prev Next

Operation Support Our Troops

N. Kingstown

Imagine being thousands and thousands of miles away from friends and family, and on top of that needing to be ready to go to war at any moment. Support the troops by donating HERE.

Operation Support Our Troops gives those fighting for our freedom a sense of home.

You can even make a donation in honor of a soldier in your life.

Operation Support Our Troops makes a difference by: 

  • sending care packages to troops
  • providing personal messages of support, as well as other home items that are not readily available. 
View Larger +
Prev Next

Providence Revolving Fund


Preserving the beauty of Providence's architectural heritage is important to the community and the entire state. You can donate to the Providence Revolving Fund HERE.

The Revolving Fund manages two capital funds, the Neighborhood Fund with over $1.9 million in assets and the Downcity Fund with $7.2 million. 

The Providence Revolving Fund makes a difference in the community by: 

  • partnering with neighborhoods and community-based organizations
  • retaining and developing affordable housing
  • collaborating with others to preserve and develop real estate
  • serving as a catalyst for public and private investment

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.


Sign Up for the Daily Eblast

I want to follow on Twitter

I want to Like on Facebook


Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email