Updated March 30 at 4:30pm
economic development

R.I. Foundation holding ‘Make It Happen RI’


(Updated, 4:30 p.m.)

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Foundation will host “Make It Happen RI” on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7 and 8. The event is designed to identify specific plans, along with the path to implement them, that in the end will help to create economic activity in the state that supplements what the private sector is doing currently.

The event will take place at the foundation’s offices in Providence, and while participants will be invited to come to take part in the two-day event, the public is being solicited for their ideas as well by emailing ideas to MakeItHappenRI@rifoundation.org. Submissions will be considered only if accompanied by a name and contact information. Ideas must be submitted by Monday, Aug. 27.

“We regularly convene different groups on things like education, health care or the arts,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of The Rhode Island Foundation, to Providence Business News. “One of the functions we are able to do is to convene disparate groups to have dialogue,” he said. “It’s consistent with our mission, to be a philanthropic and community leader to meet the needs of Rhode Island.

“We see this urgency to get to action. Over the years there have been many discussions on things to do; we really need to spur, push and inspire action. We need to push the economy and attack the unemployment that we’ve had. We are challenging the private sector to step up,” he said.

The event will feature nine working sessions that will focus on what to do and how to realistically resolve a variety of problems, such as: Attacking Unemployment; Marketing Rhode Island; Support + Growth for Existing Businesses; Business Environment; Closing Skills Gaps; Startups: Helping Entrepreneurs Thrive; Quality of Place; Leveraging/Maximizing Sites; and High Potential/High Impact Sectors

“Our goal is for Make It Happen RI to be different from anything else that’s been tried so far,” said Steinberg in a prepared statement. “We will be focused on generating ideas, taking action, and delivering results to revive Rhode Island. Our plan is to be realistic, positive and forward-thinking and strive to have the broadest cross section of input and participation in this effort.” Steinberg urges all Rhode Islanders to offer ideas.

“This is not about developing a perfect plan or reaching 100 percent consensus – it is about bringing action to new and old ideas and to make something happen for the people of Rhode Island.”


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