Rhode Island Foundation to offer scholarships to honor Roger Williams

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The Rhode Island Foundation is offering high school seniors college scholarships of up to $20,000 a year through its Carter Roger Williams Initiative. Members of the Class of 2019 have until Feb. 12 to apply.

“Roger Williams personified principles that are as current today as they were in the earliest days of our state. Thanks to the vision of the Carter family, a new generation of Rhode Islanders will be exposed to his timeless legacy,” said Jessica David, executive vice president of strategy and community investments.

Conceived of and funded by philanthropists Letitia and the late John Carter, the program honors the principles of the state’s founding father. Rhode Island high school seniors are eligible for up to $80,000 over four years based on financial need and continued academic good standing.

Applicants must be residents of Rhode Island, high school seniors and attend a public, parochial or independent high school in Rhode Island. Candidates will be evaluated based on financial need, comprehension and application of Roger Williams’ principles and record of academic achievement. More details about the scholarships are posted on

This is the third round of scholarships awarded through the Carter Roger Williams Initiative. Seven students were selected last year, including Coura Fall, now a first-year student at American University in Washington, D.C.

“This scholarship is the sole reason for my ability to attend American. Being a first-generation college student from a low-income family made the thought of paying for college tuition incredibly daunting,” she said.

“However, due the generosity of the Carter family, I didn’t have to settle for what was affordable. Instead, I could pursue my academic goals at the institution that I felt was right for me. I am extremely grateful for this scholarship as it opened up doors for me that I otherwise would not have access to,” said Fall.

The Carter Roger Williams Initiative also includes a free online education hub at that offers activities and discussion starters on Roger Williams and his teachings for elementary, middle and high school educators to use in their classrooms.

“Our goal is to create a sense of place and awareness by giving all Rhode Islanders access to resources that bring to life our state’s founder and his teachings,” said David.

Also available online is a comprehensive collection of verifiable information about Roger Williams and his life, legacy and character.

“This initiative is intended to encourage study and examination. Roger Williams was a complex man, he was forward-thinking and yet very much a man of his time. We are committed to presenting a complete, verifiable and accurate representation of who he was and what he achieved – without bias,” she said.

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 $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit

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