The Rhode Island Foundation is inviting local residents to share their thoughts about the issues that are important to them at a free community dinner on September 20. The get-together is a re-boot of its 2018 “Together RI” initiative.

“When we did this four years ago, there already was a troubling tendency toward divisiveness and polarization. Now more than ever Rhode Islanders need a place for listening, reconnecting, and inspiring constructive, civic and civil dialogue,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO in a statement.

The event will be held at the North Beach Club House, 79 Boston Neck Rd., Narragansett, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Check-in will begin at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Register at rifoundation.org/togetherri.

“We’ll offer people the chance to talk face-to-face with each other over family-style meals. Bring your ideas for improving your community and the local challenges you’d like to see addressed,” said Steinberg.

Six additional community get-togethers are scheduled through Nov. 15. The events will take place at restaurants and community gathering spaces that are well known locally. The public can attend any of the sessions regardless of where they live. The complete schedule is posted at rifoundation.org/togetherri.

“Every voice in Rhode Island deserves to be heard. Grab a friend and join other engaged folks in your area for a free meal and positive discussion to highlight opportunities in your community and our state,” said Steinberg.

The Foundation will provide moderators to help guide the conversations, but participants will drive the topics and discussions. The findings will be shared with participants and the public after the final session.

In 2018, more than 1,300 people attended at least one of the Together RI get-togethers. The Foundation released the results in a report posted at togetherri.org.

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 to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities 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.

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 - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

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 ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.