In a year unlike any other, community generosity helped Bank Rhode Island’s (BankRI) 23rd Annual Holiday Giving Tree program provide more than 2,659 gifts to children throughout the state. 

Each of the Bank’s 20 branches displayed a giving tree decorated with ornaments representing a child in need and their gift wish. While people had the option to visit a branch to select an ornament and provide that child a gift, BankRI encouraged participants to request ornaments by phone. Once gifts were ready to be donated, the Bank offered curbside drop-off appointments.  All gifts have been given to BankRI’s nonprofit partners for distribution to children, ensuring they’d reach their new homes in time for the holiday.

“This year has presented so many challenges, particularly for families with children that were working hard simply to get by before COVID-19 turned our world upside down,” said Mark J. Meiklejohn, President and CEO of BankRI in a statement. “While our Giving Tree may have looked different, nothing dampened people’s desire to make a difference. I’m grateful to everyone who helped make this year a success.”

Nonprofit partners of this year’s BankRI Holiday Giving Tree are: Adoption Rhode Island, Aids Care Ocean State, Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick, Christmas Is, Comprehensive Community Action Program, Community Care Alliance, Connecting for Children & Families, CrossroadsRI: Domestic Violence Program, East Bay Community Action Program, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, Kingstown Crossings, Lucy’s Hearth, Providence Housing Authority, SSTARbirth, Town of Lincoln Holiday Basket Program, Tri-County Community Action Agency, and Welcome House of South County.

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.