Newport County Chamber of Commerce

With Governor Gina M. Raimondo’s signature on Friday morning, the $8.94 billion 2017 state budget bill passed by the General Assembly is now law.

In the 2017 budget, legislators eliminated the Community Service Grant program in favor of two transparent methods of funding community organizations: itemized budget appropriations and competitive programs, both administered by state agencies. The total of the two programs is about $6 million, down from more than $11 million in the current year’s budget.

With the new way of funding grants, the $225,000 grant that has been awarded annually to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce since 2003 was not included in the 2017 budget.

Tom Walsh for Newport This Week published an informative story on the Chamber Grant Axed on June 9th.

With the lack of the grant in the upcoming year, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce was forced to lay off Sales Manager Ann Sweeny and Member Services Assistant Kathleen Papp last week.

The layoffs reduces the Chamber’s staff from eight to six.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.