The Rhode Island Foundation is accepting applications for the 2022 class of its Equity Leadership Initiative (ELI). The deadline to apply is Friday, April 15. The goal is to build a pipeline of leaders of color for positions of influence across the state.

“ELI seeks to advance people of color in greater leadership and decision-making positions within our state by identifying, mentoring and supporting a pipeline of accomplished leaders. Organizations and teams thrive when they’re led by diverse leaders to meet diverse needs,” said Angie Ankoma, vice president and executive director in a statement.

According to The Rhode Island Foundation, applicants must be residents of Rhode Island who identify as Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous or multiracial. The year-long program supports existing leaders of color who are working in the public, private or nonprofit sectors. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to racial equity and social justice.

The leadership development initiative is scheduled to begin in September, those interested in applying must be able to participate in monthly leadership and program activities. Up to 30 applicants will be invited to participate. There is no cost to apply or participate.

In addition to monthly half-day group meetings, the Rhode Island Foundation says that participants will receive regular one-to-one coaching sessions; will develop a personal leadership vision and goals; will be matched with a mentor; and will make high-level connections across industries. 

An informational session will be held via Zoom for interested individuals Friday, April 1, from noon to 1 p.m. and Monday, April 11, from noon to 1 p.m.  For more information, visit

This will be ELI’s second class. For information on the members of the initiative’s inaugural group, visit

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He 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 and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.