The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center announced today that four generous Aquidneck Islanders have issued a special matching challenge to friends of the MLK Community Center. Gail Jacobs and Roy Williams of Middletown and Sue and George Petrovas of Newport have united to put $20,000 on the line to inspire the community to ensure the Center’s pantry is stocked with the most requested personal care and household products.

For a brief two-week period, cash donations will be matched at 4 times the amount. $25 becomes $100; $100 becomes $400; $250 becomes $1,000 and so on. All donated funds will be used to purchase some of the most requested items that clients need for their families and their homes: Bath soap, toothbrushes/toothpaste, shampoo, menstrual products, incontinence garments, dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, and cleaning products.

“We’ve supported the MLK for years. We’re impressed the Center offers items that mean dignity for so many in our community. We’re thrilled George and Sue have joined Roy and me in issuing this challenge match. We’ll match all donations up to $20,000,” said Gail Jacobs of Middletown in a press release.

“Items like toilet paper and soap aren’t luxuries: they’re necessities, part of being human. We’ve been buying them when we can as they’re rarely donated. This challenge will help ensure we can provide the products for clients across the community,” said Heather Hole Strout, the Center’s Executive Director in a release. “We’re so grateful to Gail and Roy and Sue and George for giving us this incredible opportunity — but time is short. We need to wrap up this campaign quickly, in just two weeks.” 

To donate: click the PayPal Donate button anywhere on their website between October 21st, 2019 – November 4th, 2019. Be sure to select the 4x4x14 Matching Fund where it says “Use my gift for…”

The MLK Center is also happy to accept gifts of cash and checks; they can be delivered to the Center anytime during normal business hours (M-F, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) or mailed to 20 Dr. Marcus Wheatland Blvd.

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.