Inductees in Philanthropists

  1. Warren Alpert (1920-2007)

    Inducted in 2014

    Warren Alpert, 1920-2007, founder and late chairman of Warren Equities, Inc., and the founder of the Providence-based Warren Alpert Foundation, was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts on December 2, 1920. The son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania, he was the youngest of the five children of Goodman and Tena (Horowitz) Alpert. 

    Mr. Read more >

  2. Joseph Banigan (1839-1898)

    Inducted in 2005

    Joseph Banigan (1839-1898) and his parents were part of a wave of Irish Catholic refugees who fled the Potato Famine in Ireland.  Arriving in Rhode Island in 1847, he attended school for one year before becoming a full-time worker at age nine. Over the next fifty years he employed the "pluck and luck" characteristics of Yankee entrepreneurs to build a local footwear empire before assuming the presidency of the United States Rubber Company in 1893.  

    Banigan was a youthful apprentice in the jewelry industry before tinkering with rubber products. Read more >

  3. Fred Benson (1895-1996)

    Inducted in 1982

    Fred Benson, 1895-1996, was a popular teacher, baseball coach and successful Block Island business leader.  His devotion and philanthropies to Block Island inspired the "Fred Benson Scholarship Fund", designed to give financial aide to college-bound youth. Read more >

  4. William Binney (1825-1909)

    Inducted in 2006



    Binney, William, 1825-1909

    William Binney (1825-1909), was the son of Horace Binney, a trial lawyer of national acclaim who twice declined a seat on the United States Supreme Court.  His grandfather, Barnabas Binney, was a renowned surgeon, who served with distinction in the American Revolution.  William Binney was born in Philadelphia and obtained bachelors and masters degrees from Yale University.  He also earned a masters degree from Brown University in 1856, launching his storied connection with Rhode Island. Read more >

  5. Chief Justice Charles Smith Bradley

    Chief Justice Charles Smith Bradley (1819-1888)

    Inducted in 2006


    Bradley, C. S. (Charles Smith), 1819-1888

    Charles Smith Bradley (1819-1888), was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  He graduated first in his class at Brown University in 1838, then obtained a master’s degree from Brown and, eventually, a law degree from Harvard. Read more >

  6. Nicholas Brown, II (1769-1841)

    Inducted in 2000

    Nicholas Brown, one of the five famous Brown brothers of late eighteenth-century Providence, died in 1791, leaving his financial empire to his son and namesake, Nicholas II.  The younger Nicholas married Ann Carter, daughter of the prominent Providence publisher John Carter, and formed the highly successful mercantile industrial partnership called Brown and Ives in 1796.

    When the name of Rhode Island College was changed to Brown University in 1804, the change was made in recognition of the gifts and services rendered to the school by the Brown brothers and by the younger Nicholas, who took his father’s seat on the corporation and served as a member for fifty years, twenty-nine of them as treasurer.  In 1823 Nicholas presented to Brown the dormitory known as Hope College, and in 1834 he donated Manning Hall as a chapel and library in honor of the university’s first president. Read more >

  7. George Bucklin

    George Bucklin (1843-1918)

    Inducted in 1981

    George N. Bucklin, 1843-1918, was a great benefactor to the Boy Scouts of RI, enabling the development of Camp Yawgoog and the famed Bucklin Memorials, one of the great camping showplaces of the country. Read more >

  8. Alfred A. "Smokey" Cerrone

    Inducted in 1991

    Mr. Cerrone was a highly successful businessman, athlete, musician, innovator, and public-minded citizen who developed one of the world's largest automobile agencies.  He was instrumental in numerous charitable fund-raising ventures including with the Lincoln-Cimberland Boys Club and St. Joseph's Pine Harbor School for Retarded Children. Read more >

  9. George Byron Champlin (1851-1946)

    Inducted in 2008

    George Byron Champlin (1851-1946) was born in Providence on September 11, 1851, just after his old-line family had left their farm in southern Rhode Island to pursue new opportunities in the state’s expanding capital city.  George’s father, Stanton B. Champlin, opened a produce business on Pine Street in the Downtown, but soon his interest turned to the jewelry industry.  In 1872, twenty-one year old George joined his father to establish Stanton B. Read more >

  10. Martin Chase (1906-1971)

    Inducted in 1977

    Martin Chase organized the first discount merchandise store in the United States (Ann & Hope), which revolutionized American retail. The Mass Merchandising Foundation honored him for setting in motion the tide of low-margin retailing, which greatly extended the purchasing power of the American consumer. Mr. Chase was also active in community and philanthropic affairs. Read more >

  11. Arthur A. Coia, Esq. (1943-)

    Inducted in 2009

    Arthur A. Coia was born on March 21,1943 in the Italian section of Charles Street, Providence, Rhode Island graduating from LaSalle Academy, Providence College, and Boston University Law School. He is a founding partner with over 40 years of experience in the New England-based law firm of Coia and Lepore, LTD. specializing in labor law, labor management cooperation, health care reform, finance, business analysis, and human resource management. Read more >
  12. Kevin Coleman

    Kevin Coleman (1921-2011)

    Inducted in 2004

    Kevin K. Coleman was born in Woonsocket to Louis and Mary (McDonnell) Coleman. Mr. Coleman devoted his career to serving the needs of Rhode Islanders. Read more >

  13. Robert L. Crandall

    Inducted in 2001


    ROBERT L. CRANDALL, of Dallas, Texas and formerly of Westerly, retired President Emeritus of American Airlines where he worked for eighteen years holding positions as president, chairman and CEO. During his tenure with American, he spearheaded many innovative changes in the airline business prompting experts to describe him as “the man who changed the way the world flies.”   Bob has been a major donor and fund-raiser for his alma mater, the University of Rhode Island. Read more >
  14. John J. Cummings,, Jr.

    Inducted in 1987

    Mr. Cummings was one of the financial geniuses of his time.  During a career spanning thity-five years with the Fleet Financial Group, until his untimely death in 1982, he served as Fleet's Cheif-Executive for fourteen years.  He was responsible for guiding its growth into an internationally recognized financial services company. Read more >

  15. Congressman Thomas Davis (1806-1895)

    Inducted in 2003


    Davis, Thomas, 1806-1895

    Thomas Davis was born in Dublin, Ireland on December 18, 1806, attended private schools in Ireland, and migrated to America in 1817, settling in Providence. Davis became a pioneer in Rhode Island's jewelry industry and amassed sufficient wealth to enable him to finance a variety of political, civic, and reform endeavors.

    Davis became a state senator from Providence serving from 1845 to 1853 when he was elected to Congress as a Democrat. Locally he was associated with the reform wing of the Democratic party led by Thomas Wilson Dorr. Read more >

  16. Ebenezer Knight Dexter

    Ebenezer Knight Dexter (1773-1824)

    Inducted in 2000

    Ebenezer Knight Dexter was a wealthy Providence merchant and a United States marshal who became Providence’s leading benefactor of the poor.  In 1824, by the terms of his will, he bequeathed more than 2,275,000 square feet, or over 52 acres, of land to the town.  The largest tract, located off Hope Street, was given for use as a poor farm.  An almshouse for paupers, called Dexter Asylum, was built there in 1830 from the designs of architect John Holden Greene. Read more >

  17. Doris Duke (1912-1993)

    Inducted in 2001


    Duke, Doris, 1912-1993

    The late Doris Duke formerly of Newport, famed tobacco heiress who is one of Rhode Island’s greatest philanthropists. In 1968, she helped to launch the Newport Restoration Foundation to preserve that historic city’s 18th and early 19th century domestic architecture. Later, Ms. Duke made a major gift to the nature Conservancy to preserve land in several communities and directed that her Newport mansion, “Rough Point,” become a public museum. Read more >

  18. Irving J. Fain (1906-1970)

    Inducted in 1985

    Irving J. Fain, 1906-1970, was a philanthropist, successful businessman, and community leader whose perseverance and ideals almost single-handedly led to the establishment of a fair housing law in Rhode Island. He was raised in Lippitt Hill, now University Heights, an American landmark mixture of races and economic backgrounds he helped to create. He was a backer of humane causes, an extremely active leader in the community, and one of Rhode Island's most prominent citizens until his untimely death in 1970. Read more >

  19. William F. F. Farley (1942-)

    Inducted in 1998

    William F. Farley, a businessman was chairman and CEO of Fruit of the Loom.

    Farley was born to a working-class Irish Catholic family in Pawtucket on October 10, 1942. He is the eldest child of John Farley, a postal worker and part-time musician and Barbara Farley, a receptionist. Read more >

  20. Alan Shawn Feinstein

    Inducted in 1995

    Mr. Feinstein, of Cranston, was a noted philanthropist who has given generously of his time, vision, energy, and financial resources to hundreds of causes in Rhode Island. One of the State’s most innovative residents and benefactors, he was founder of the World Hunger Center at Brown University, the Institute of Public Service at Rhode Island College, and established the first high school in the United States dedicated to teaching the value of community service through education, which is named in his honor. He helped to create the first Doctoral Degree program for Education in R. Read more >

  21. Thomas Gilbane (1911-1981)

    Inducted in 1977

    Thomas Gilbane, 1911-1981, was a third generation Gilbane of Gilbane construction and President of Gilbane Construction Company. Thomas and his brother Bill built the company from a local firm to one of the top ten in the nation.

    Thomas Gilbane was also a former star athlete at Brown University, prominent in Boy Scouts circles and active in United Fund drives, Heart Fund and other community projects. Read more >

  22. Darius L. and Lyman B. Goff

    Darius L. and Lyman B. Goff (1840-1927)

    Inducted in 1997


    Goff, Darius L. (Darius Lee) and Goff, Lyman Bullock

    The Goff Brothers, formerly of Pawtucket, were the sons of the Honorable Darius Goff, and members of one of the most prominent industrialist families in New England. They were partners in D. Goff & Sons, which occupied a foremost position among regional industrial concerns. Read more >

  23. Manuel Gorriaran (1938-2012)

    Inducted in 1975

    Manuel Gorriaran, 1938-2012, was a sportsman, philanthropist, industrialist, and a Pan-American-World Olympic Wrestling Team manager. He was a member of the Helms Hall of Fame, won the International Amateur Wrestling Federation's highest award and was Chairman of People to People Rhode Island.

    ce President, President and then Chairman of Hook-Fast Specialties, Inc., a family-owned jewelry manufacturing company based in Providence. Read more >
  24. Carl W. Haffenreffer (1906-1999)

    Inducted in 2007


    Haffenreffer, Carl W.

    Carl W. Haffenreffer, son of Rudolph Haffenreffer, Jr., continued his father’s tradition of business and philanthropic activity. Read more >

  25. Rudolph Frederick Haffenreffer, Jr. (1874-1954)

    Inducted in 2007

     Haffenreffer, Rudolph Frederick, 1874-1954

    Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, Jr. (1874-1954), a native of Boston and a first generation German-American, became a successful Fall River brewer and purchased several hundred acres in Bristol from 1903 to 1912 for use as a summer retreat. His acquisitions included Mount Hope and the Bradford House. 

    After completing his basic education in the Boston school system, young Rudolph was sent to Stuttguart, Germany to study chemistry. Read more >

  26. Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, III (1902-1991)

    Inducted in 2007

     Haffenreffer, R.F.

    Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, III (1902-1991), the eldest son of Rudolph Haffenreffer, Jr., succeeded to his father’s positions in several family ventures. Read more >
  27. James Hanley

    James Hanley (1841-1912)

    Inducted in 2007


    Hanley, James, 1841-1912

    James Hanley was born in Roscommon, Ireland and came to America with his parents as a child in 1846 during the Great Famine migration.  He rose from poverty to prominence as Rhode Island’s leading brewer.

    Hanley’s first important step into the world of business came in January 1862, at the age of twenty, when he opened an inn and liquor store in downtown Providence. In 1876 he began his career as a brewer in partnership with fellow-Irishman John P. Read more >

  28. Edward Harris

    Edward Harris (1801-1872)

    Inducted in 1986

    Mr. Harris was considered the City of Woonsocket's most prominant citizen inthe 19th century. His contributions are found in the economic, political, and social fiber of his native city.

    A pioneer in the woolen goods business, Edward Harris bucked family tradition. Read more >

  29. Sylvia K. Hassenfeld

    Sylvia K. Hassenfeld (1920-2014)

    Inducted in 1997

    Mrs. Hassenfeld, formerly of Providence, lived in both New York City and Palm Beach, FL.  She was been widely recognized as an outstanding civic, cultural, and philanthropic leader of international communal services for more than 40 years. 

  30. Alan G. Hassenfeld (1948-)

    Inducted in 2009

     Alan Hassenfeld is the former chairman of the board and present chairman of the executive committee of Hasbro, Inc., a multi-billion dollar international toy company. Under his leadership, Hasbro has become a worldwide leader in children's and family entertainment. Its brands and products are some of the most recognizable and respected throughout the world. Read more >

  31. Rowland Gibson Hazard (1801-1888)

    Inducted in 2003


    Hazard, Rowland Gibson, 1801-1888

    Rowland Gibson Hazard was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island on October 9, 1801, the fourth of nine children of Rowland Hazard and Mary Peace of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1819, with his brother Isaac, he assumed control of his father's small woolen mill in the village of Peace Dale, which had been named for his mother's family. He had primary responsibility for marketing products to Southern plantation owners in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Hazard wintered in New Orleans from about 1833 to 1842. Read more >

  32. Angus Hebb

    Inducted in 1982

    The late Angus Hebb was the President of American Steele and Aluminum Corp. who achieved an international reputation for his efforts to preserve and propagate rare and endangered waterfowl. He created a 40-acre sanctuary for the R.I. Read more >

  33. Benjamin B. and Robert L. Knight

    Benjamin B. and Robert L. Knight

    Inducted in 2006


    Knight, Benjamin B., 1813-1898 and Knight, Robert, 1825-1912

    The Knight brothers were textile manufacturers and philanthropists, owning twenty-one manufacturing villages under the logo “Fruit of the Loom,” and employing nearly 7000 operatives.

    Benjamin was born in Cranston, R.I. Read more >

  34. Sol Koffler

    Inducted in 1981

    The late Sol Koffler, was the inventor and manufacturer of the internationally famous Tourister Luggage. Although active in Jewish affairs, his philanthropy transcended all race, religion, or color. Read more >

  35. Mr. & Mrs. Austin T. Levy (1880-1971)

    Inducted in 1969

    Austin Levywas a successful textile manufacturer, and his gracious wife, June (Rockwell) Levy, was known as the "First Lady of Burrillville." Their philanthropic interest played a major role in the development of their town. Through their gifts the town gained its' Town Hall, the Harrisville Assembly Theater Building, a library, a post office, the Harrisville Courthouse, two school buildings, and an indoor hockey rink. Read more >

  36. Frederick Lippitt (1917-2005)

    Inducted in 2006

    Born to a life of privilege, Fred Lippitt (1917-2005) decided it was a privilege to serve others. The Lippitt family was among the first settlers of Rhode Island. In 1638, John Lippitt arrived in Providence. An ancestor, Christopher Lippitt, commanded Rhode Island troops in the Revolution. Read more >

  37. Margaret A. McKenna

    Margaret A. McKenna (1945-)

    Inducted in 2015

    Margaret McKenna was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1945 to parents who were lifelong teachers and administrators in the Central Falls public school system. Her father was in the first graduating class at Providence College, and her mother was a graduate of Rhode Island College. Margaret attended Holy Trinity Elementary School in Central Falls and Sacred Heart High School in Pawtucket.  She then received degrees from Emmanuel College and Southern Methodist University School of Law. Read more >

  38. John McLaughlin

    Inducted in 1984

    John McLaughlin has been widely recognized for his civic service and contributions to many causes, including disadvantaged youth, and assisting underprivileged children. He was named R.I. "Big Brother of the Year" in 1982 and a recipient of the R. Read more >

  39. Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf (1830-1895)

    Inducted in 1996

    Metcalf, Helen Adelia Rowe, -- -1895.

    Ms. Rowe Metcalf, formerly of Providence, was leader in the drive to establish the Rhode Island School of Design and devoted most of her time from 1878 to her death in 1895 to directing the School. Her influence and administrative skills enabled RISD to be founded with the goals of training artisans, teaching students the principles of art, and promoting appreciation of art, allowing it to become recognized as one of the most prestigious fine arts schools in the country. Read more >

  40. Felix Mirando

    Inducted in 1973

    Felix Mirando is a Povidence business and civic leader who co-founded the Imperial Knife Co., one of the largest cutlery firms in the United States. He was many times for his work in civic, charitable and religious enterprises. Read more >

  41. Bernard Mondor (1925-2010)

    Inducted in 1984

    Bernard Mondor, 1925-2010, was a Canadian-born business man who became one of R.I.'s most outstanding sports promoters as owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox Baseball Team, which was recognized as the strongest franchise in the International League. He entered the business world after service in the Navy, acquiring seven corporations with sales over $13 million. Read more >

  42. Dr. Blas Moreno (1928-2011)

    Inducted in 1983

    Dr. Blas Moreno, 1928-2011, became a resident of Rhode Island after emigrating from Cuba in 1954. He fashioned a distinguished career as a leading physician, community leader, and philanthropist, and has been at the forefront of developing medical care programs for the National Guard of the United States, serving as the State Air Surgeon for Rhode Island beginning in 1977. Read more >

  43. Jeffery Osborne

    Jeffery Osborne

    Inducted in 2004

    Jeffrey Osborne is a well-known funk R&B musician, singer-songwriter, lyricist and lead singer of the band, L.T.D. Born in Providence to a musical family, (father Clarence "Legs" Osborne, was a popular trumpeter who played with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington), he began his professional career in 1970 with a band called Love Men Ltd. Read more >

  44. Joseph R. Paolino, Sr.

    Joseph R. Paolino, Sr. (1929-2012)

    Inducted in 2013

    A lifelong resident of Rhode Island, Joseph R. Paolino’s entire career revolved around real estate, and in this important area of Rhode Island’s economy he had no peer.

    Entrepreneurial, tough-minded, persistent, and unafraid of challenge, Paolino literally changed the face of Downtown Providence real estate. Joe’s father, Anthony, helped spark young Paolino’s early interest in real estate, and at the age of seventeen Joe sold his first piece of property. Read more >

  45. George R. Ramsbottom (1888-1979)

    Inducted in 1976

    George Ramsbottom, 1888-1979, was a Pawtucket industrialist who was President-Treasurer of the Seekonk Lace Company. An angel to the Pawtucket Boys Club, he gave them Camp Ramsbottom for summer recreation. He was also active in Red Cross and Community Chest drives. Ramsbottom is also credited with helping to write the Pawtucket City Charter. Read more >

  46. Abigail Aldrich Rockefeller

    Abigail Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948)

    Inducted in 2014

    Abigail Aldrich Rockefeller, 1874-1948, was the daughter of U.S. Sen. Nelson Aldrich, patron of the arts, and advocate for women's rights. Read more >

  47. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

    John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1878-1960)

    Inducted in 2014

    John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1878-1960, son and heir of the oil magnate, philanthropist, provided land on which the United Nations building is located, donated $6 million to Brown University, his alma mater, for the school's library. He was married to Abby Aldrich, daughter of U. Read more >

  48. George M. Sage (1931-2006)

    Inducted in 2009

    George M. Sage, 1931-2006, was one of the most beloved Rhode Islanders of his generation. A gifted businessman, Mr. Sage had an even more substantial impact for his philanthropic endeavors, planning and executing a legacy of giving that will benefit Rhode Islanders for years to come. Read more >

  49. Joseph Samuels (1868-1939)

    Inducted in 1968

    Joseph Samuels, 1868-1939, was founder and president of the Outlet Company and one of the state's leading philanthropists. He developed a small shop into one of New England's leading retail establishments. Samuels was known for making generous gifts to hospitals and clinics for dental care. Read more >

  50. Lila M. Sapinsley

    Lila M. Sapinsley (1922-2014)

    Inducted in 2004

    Lila Sapinsley, a trailblazer for women in Rhode Island politics and beloved wife of John Sapinsley. She was a state Senator for Rhode Island and rose to Senate minority leader. In 1972, Lila Sapinsley was elected to the state Senate and became Senate Majority Leader, the first woman to hold a leadership post in the Rhode Island General Assembly.

    A native of Chicago, Sapinsley moved to Rhode Island in the 1950s. Read more >

  51. John M. Sapinsley (1922-2012)

    Inducted in 2013

    John M. Sapinsley's personal traits such as curiosity, courage, critical thinking, and kindness led him on an extraordinary life journey as a successful U.S. Navy veteran, businessman, professor, mentor, philanthropist, champion gofer, and most importantly, a loving husband to Senator Lila Sapinsely (a 2004 RI Heritage Hall of Fame Inductee), a father of four accomplished daughters and a proud grandfather of nine. Read more >

  52. Mary Elizabeth Sharpe (1885-1985)

    Inducted in 2001

    The late Mary Elizabeth Sharpe formerly of Providence, was an entrepreneur, author, environmentalist, philanthropist, and self-taught landscape architect, whose achievements in the field of landscape design were legendary. She was instrumental in the beautification of Brown University, assisted in the creation of the Japanese Gardens at Roger Williams Park, and spearheaded the renovation of India Point Park.

    A native of Syracuse, New York, she helped support family by making and selling candy. She parlayed that into a career, staring her own business, "Mary Elizabeth Ltd of New York. Read more >

  53. James J. Taracanti

    Inducted in 1995

    Mr. Taricani of North Kingstown, was the WJAR-TV (Channel 10), WPRI-TV (Channel 12), and local radio multi-award winning investigative reporter who became Director of Communications for RI Governor Lincoln Almond. He earned four coveted, regional Emmy Awards, television’s highest honor, and ten Emmy nominations, in addition to several other prestigious journalism awards for outstanding reporting. He became one of RI’s most celebrated and honored investigative journalists, concentrating mostly on organized crime, and corruption in government. Read more >

  54. Judah Touro

    Judah Touro (1775-1854)

    Inducted in 1970

    Judah Touro, 1775-1854, was a Newport philanthropist who made many contributions to his native city, many of them after he became a citizen of New Orleans. He played a major role in the erection of Bunker Hill Monument with considerable financial aide. Mr. Touro gifted Touro Park to the city of Newport and died in 1854. Read more >

  55. Harold Stirling Vanderbilt (1884-1970)

    Inducted in 2014

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