Philanthropic Efforts to Live on in Perpetuity

As Ned McCrory explains, when it all started 20 years ago with a golf tournament there was always higher aspirations than a simple golf tournament.

“We never saw our annual summer outing as a golf tournament,” said McCrory, Managing Partner and Head of the Private Club Practice Group at Batchelor, Frechette, McCrory, Michael & Company, and a long-time chairman of the RISCPA’s Social Committee. “We always saw it as a networking event where you happened to play golf. And we always knew that for it to be a success, it needed to have a charity connected to it.”

And so every July for the past two decades RISCPA has held its annual golf tournament, and in doing so, attached a local charity to benefit from the proceeds. Typically, the Society adopts a particular charity and contributes to it for three consecutive years. Among the local organizations that have been beneficiaries of the tournament are: Providence Journal Summertime Fund; Gateway Health; Sojourner House; Save The Bay; Hope Alzheimer’s House; Caritas House; and Special Olympics of Rhode Island.  

The idea is to make a real difference, and by all accounts, that approach has worked quite well.

“It has always been a local charity we went with, and we have really been able to make an impact,” said McCrory.

In recent years, said McCrory, Stephen C. Spirito, of Clubhouse Capital in Cranston and a long-time member of the Society’s Social Committee, suggested that they take half of the money from the annual tournament and start an endowment. The idea was to establish a core that would ensure charitable contributions for years to come. The Society began pursuing ways to more formally memorialize the long-standing efforts of the Social Committee, while reaching out to a broader range of beneficiaries. And what made the most sense, it was decided, was to establish a Philanthropy Fund.

“We were looking to enhance growth opportunities for our giving, and open up more contributing opportunities for our membership,” said Robert A. Mancini, executive director of the RISCPA.

And so the golf tournament that was never intended to simply be a golf tournament has succeeded in its mission – that is, serving as the impetus for even greater opportunities for giving. Once it was decided that a formal Philanthropy Fund would be established, it was time for the Society to find an appropriate partner to make it happen. It did not have to look far.

The Rhode Island Foundation was established in 1916 with a $10,000 gift from founder and philanthropist Jesse H. Metcalf. Almost one hundred years later, it is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country and the only community foundation serving Rhode Island.

By enlisting the Rhode Island Foundation, the Society found a partner that not only enjoys a rich history, but one that has its finger firmly on the pulse of the local community. In short, the Rhode Island Foundation prides itself on going beyond making grants that advance charitable activities. The Foundation works to identify current and emerging issues and channel resources to address their communities’ needs. Its stated mission is to be a catalyst for positive change in Rhode Island by “actively inspiring philanthropy and working with individual, business, government, and community partners to develop solutions to longstanding challenges.”

Gail Ginnetty, a senior development officer at the Rhode Island Foundation, said that there are a number of reasons that people want to give back. “What the Foundation offers its partners,” she said, “is an unprecedented knowledge of the community at large and the experiences that comes with managing a $600 million portfolio.”

“We have the infrastructure in place,” said Ginnetty. “And we are all about philanthropy. We have a $600 million portfolio that is diversified and professionally managed. We have a fiduciary responsibility to the community. “

McCrory sees the establishment of the Society’s Philanthropy Fund as a natural and fitting extension of that annual golf tournament. He remembers the first tournament, all those years ago.

“We had torrential rains,” he recalls with a laugh. “But ever since then, it’s been wonderful weather every year.”

Plans are already in place for the 2013 tournament, and now thanks to the Philanthropy Fund, the Society’s ability to make meaningful charitable contributions will live on in perpetuity.

“This gives us a tremendous sense of satisfaction,” said McCrory. As it should.