BankNewport has awarded its Financial Education Scholarship to four local high school graduates as part of its BNWise financial education program to help students refine their financial skills, and understand that managing personal finances can pave the way for a bright economic future.

Liza Nunes and Peyton Gardner of Rogers High School in Newport; Dylan Pires of Portsmouth High School; and Johnna Gallo of West Warwick High School each won the $1,000 scholarship for their integrity, aptitude, leadership, community outreach, volunteerism and involvement as outlined in their scholarship applications.

“We’ve learned many lessons during the pandemic, but realizing the significance of financial literacy and the impact that knowledge has on most facets of our lives is among the most important,” said Wendy Kagan, Executive Vice President, Director of Employee and Community Engagement at BankNewport in a statement. “At BankNewport, we believe it’s our responsibility to provide the guidance, support, education and tools that these young adults need to begin planning for the future and to make smart choices in the present. These four scholarship recipients have each proven to be responsible members of the community and have demonstrated their desire to reach their financial goals through hard work and determination.”

According to BankNewport, the BNWise Financial Education program made a significant impact on middle schools and high schools in Rhode Island during the school year.  As of June 3, 2021, more than 1,450 active students from 25 schools participated in bank-sponsored financial literacy courses. Of the 5,815 completed modules across the participating schools, students achieved a 56% knowledge gain of key financial education content.

As a community bank, sharing financial expertise is integral to BankNewport’s mission. Whether students choose to enter the workforce or pursue formal education after high school, BankNewport seeks to empower them to be confident in their financial choices and achieve success as future employees, parents, and members of the community.

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.