PROVIDENCE – Toby Shepherd will join the Rhode Island Foundation as a grant programs officer effective May 5.
Sheperd replaces Denise Jenkins, who is now managing director at United Providence.
Shepherd will lead the foundation’s grant-making in the education sector, serving as the lead on educational issues, working with stakeholders and evaluating funding proposals.
Last year, the foundation awarded more than $7.8 million in grants for education, supporting initiatives like the Highlander Institute’s Center for Blended Learning, the Learning Community Charter School’s district-level partnerships and the Northern Rhode Island Collaborative’s Pathways to Graduation Summer Program.
“Providing a high quality public education for every student is one of our priorities,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the foundation’s president and CEO. “Toby’s experience as a classroom teacher and his experience developing innovative educational programs make him a great resource for us and a great adviser for our donors.”
As director of policy for the city of Providence, Shepherd has played a lead role in developing the kindergarten readiness program “Providence Talks,” a grant-funded program that aims to support parents and caretakers in developing the vocabularies of young children.
Previously, he was associate director of portfolio planning for the New York City Department of Education and a second-grade teacher. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and earned a master’s degree in teaching at Pace University and a master’s degree in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He lives in Providence with his wife and two sons.