Newport Historical Society and Emmanuel Church have announced that they will host Grappling with Legacy: A Lecture with Sylvia Brown on Rhode Island’s Brown Family and the American Philanthropic Impulse at Emmanuel Church on April 5th. Below is the press release issued on behalf of the organizations;

When Sylvia Brown’s father handed much of his inheritance to Brown University in 1995, the gesture maintained a 300-year family philanthropic tradition.  Less than a decade later, at the inaugural symposium of the University’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, one speaker declared “there were no good Browns.” “Grappling with Legacy” was born of the juxtaposition between these starkly opposed perspectives.

On Thursday, April 5, 2018, 5:30 pm the Newport Historical Society and Emmanuel Church will co-host author Sylvia Brown for a discussion on how she has delved into one of the country’s largest family archives to understand what fuels a multi-generational compulsion to giving: self-interest? A feeling of guilt? A sense of genuine altruism? The Brown family mirrors America’s evolving urge to do good — from colonial era charity, to reformist initiatives in the Early Republic, to the philanthropy of the Gilded Age, to social impact investing today.  Sylvia will focus especially on the Brown family’s 20th-century contributions to Newport.

Eldest of the 11th generation of Browns in Rhode Island, Sylvia Brown was attracted to development economics from an early age. Following her BS and MA degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, she pursued a professional career in various aspects of international development, from Wall Street to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Ten years ago, a course in strategic philanthropy redirected her focus to the non-profit sector and eventually prompted a return to her Rhode Island roots. Sylvia is passionate about donor education and giving with impact. She recently launched Uplifting Journeys, boot camps for smarter donors, that take place in locations around the world.

“Grappling with Legacy” takes place at Emmanuel Church, 42 Dearborn Street, Newport, RI. Admission is free; donations are welcome. Book signing to follow. Please RSVP online at or call 401-841-8770.

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.