- This spring, the Rhode Island Foundation’s “Together RI” initiative sponsored 20 community meals across the state, to encourage residents to gather with their neighbors and talk about issues of importance to them.
- From March 22 to May 5, nearly 1,300 people came together at the meals and “shared ideas about Rhode Island’s biggest strengths, the state’s biggest opportunities, and the challenges they and their communities are facing.”
- Rhode Island Foundation President and CEO Neil Steinberg shared highlights from the Together RI initiative at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting in June. A few of the noteworthy results:
The youngest Together RI participant was three and a half months old, the eldest was a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor.
1,721 pounds of baked ziti, 1,800 pieces of chicken, 2,304 meatballs, 426 pounds of salad, and 47 gallons of marinara sauce were consumed.
More than 73% said that after these conversations, they better understood issues facing their communities.
75% said that as a result of the conversation, they would be more likely to get involved in conversations and/or activities related to community issues.
Among the most consistent strengths cited in the conversations were the state’s compact size, its natural resources and recreational spaces, its colleges and universities, and its diversity. Challenges cited included the need for educational improvement, limited funding, and the need for affordable housing and accessible public transportation.