The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island has opened the application period for its 2019-2020 Women’s Policy Institute (WPI). The Institute was started in 2011 with the goal of increasing the number of women leaders in the state who are actively involved in influencing and applying policies for an equitable Rhode Island. The two-part program first trains its members, then concentrates on a pressing women’s issues, drafting and promoting legislation to support it. 

“Graduates from our WPI have been responsible for some groundbreaking policy changes in Rhode Island,” said Women’s Fund of Rhode Island Executive Director, Kelly Nevins, “including paid family leave, pregnancy accommodations in the workplace and the removal of the gender based Tampon Tax.” The organization has trained over 50 women across the state to draft legislation and advocate for policies that level the playing field for women and their families. Several participants have gone on to successfully run for political office; others have stayed involved in advocating for community change through a variety of organizations and coalitions. 

Women’s Policy Institute is open to adult women in all sectors and of all backgrounds, races, and interests. Alumnae include retired professionals, graduate students, urban planners, small business owners, nonprofit leaders, and even a talk show host. Ideal candidates are passionate individuals looking to gain new skills and make a difference in the lives of women and girls. Some policy experience is preferable but not required. WPI is meant to be non-partisan and inclusive.

Applications are available on the Women’s Fund website, To be considered, a completed application must be submitted by August 15, 2019. Applications can be mailed to Women’s Fund of Rhode Island at 245 Waterman Street #503, Providence, RI 02906 or emailed to To learn more about the Women’s Policy Institute before applying, an informal informational session will be held on August 1 at 8:30am at the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island and accessible by conference call. 

Members will be selected through a competitive application process. The selection committee will review all applications and invite applicants for in-person interviews. Up to 15 finalists will be invited to join the 2019/2020 Women’s Policy Institute. Applicants selected for interviews will be notified by August 26, 2019, with interviews being held the soon after. 

The Institute will begin mid-September, with a full day retreat on one Friday each month; the full schedule can be found on the application. 

This program is free of charge, made possible by grants from the Rhode Island Foundation, the Otto York Foundation and donations, including a challenge match honored by The Prospect Hill Foundation. 

Application and Information: To learn more and obtain an application for the program, visit Phone calls are welcome at 401-262-5657; ask for Executive Director, Kelly Nevins.

To register for the information session to be held on August 1 at 8:30am at WFRI in Providence, visit

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and 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.