Ava Reise, Carter Roger Williams Scholarship 2022, Emmanuel College

NEWPORT, RI — The Rhode Island Foundation is sending a Newport teen off to college with a scholarship honoring Roger Williams, the state’s founding father. Ava Reise won the four-year, renewable scholarship through the Foundation’s Carter Roger Williams Initiative, which was launched by philanthropists Letitia and the late John Carter.

“All of these students discovered inspiration in Roger Williams and in turn has an inspiring story of their own to share. It is only due to the commitment of the Carter family that we can offer students and their parents this opportunity to think big about their future,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.

Reise was one of five students selected statewide based on their academic achievement, financial need, appreciation for Roger Williams’ values and record of community service. They are eligible to receive up to $320,000 over four years. Nearly 80 students across Rhode Island competed for the scholarship assistance.

Reise attends Rogers High School. She plans to attend Emmanuel College in Boston and pursue international studies.

Her activities include indoor and outdoor track and field, cross country, gymnastics, yearbook, theater and the National Honor Society. In addition, she works at Belle’s Café and The Reef in Newport.

In her application, Reise shared how she relates to Roger Williams’ values.

“Everyone has the ability to voice their opinion, but he took it to the next step by taking action. Williams voiced his reasons for separation of church and state, something that contradicted the beliefs of many during his era,” Reise wrote. “I not only aspire to Williams’ confidence, but as well to his resilience. I see myself as a strong individual, however I am still learning how to stand up after I get knocked down the way Williams did.”

In addition to Reise, this year’s recipients are Haneen Alsuwaidani and Ousainou Bah of Providence, Tania Guerrero of Central Falls and Lucas Matthews of Barrington.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $98 million and awarded $76 million in grants in 2021. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.