2023 Common Good Awards
Our sixth annual Common Good Awards recognize six Rhode Island businesses of all sizes that inspire philanthropy in their employees around the state.
We’re excited to partner with the Rhode Island Foundation to present the sixth annual Common Good Awards. This program recognizes Rhode Island businesses of all sizes that inspire philanthropy in their employees around the state, not by just writing a check to a worthy cause, but by encouraging staff to go into the community and help. These companies also take it a step further, offering employees incentives like paid time off for volunteerism and donation-matching programs.
THE JUDGES: Ting Barnard, owner of Ting Barnard’s Studio and advisory board member for the Papitto Opportunity Connection; Lauren Paola, outreach and events manager, Rhode Island Foundation; Night Jean Muhingabo, a Young Champion for the United Nations Refugee Agency and board member of the Refugee Dream Center and Providence Public Schools; Liz Catucci, president and CEO, Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce.
Congratulations to this year’s winners!
University Orthopedics • Delta Dental • Giusto • Edge and End
TW Financial Group • Bentley Builders
EDGE AND END
Winner, micro category: 9 employees or fewer
Location: Providence, edgeandend.com
Edge and End creates high-quality wood furniture while employing and training disabled adults to learn valuable trade skills.
Edge and End combines craftsmanship with philanthropy. The woodworking studio creates functional, beautiful furniture using only high-quality, locally sourced and repurposed hardwoods while working with local nonprofits to create training opportunities and employment options for adults with disabilities. The studio’s mission is to teach trade skills to underserved people in our community.
Edge and End has a partnership program with the Groden Network, Rhode Island’s premier organization for people with autism and other developmental disabilities, and also works with the Corliss Institute and Met School students in Providence to help inspire young minds to follow a new career path and learn about the woodworking trade. The judges were impressed by Edge and End’s mission. “It’s unique and different. By working on workforce development, they are fostering talent within the state,” says Liz Catucci, president and CEO of the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. Adds Ting Barnard, owner of Ting Barnard’s Studio and advisory board member for the Papitto Opportunity Connection: “They are teaching people a craft and empowering people; not just giving them funding, but giving them skills they can use.”
“Whether it be their time or their talent, these companies have gone above and beyond to give back. I hope by acknowledging their efforts, it will encourage others to get engaged with our community.” —Liz Catucci
Winner, small category: 10–49 employees
Location: Newport, giustonewport.com
Giusto offers a freestyle Italian dining experience built on a commitment to hospitality and thoughtful cuisine.
Giusto invests in the community where its team lives and works. Since opening in September 2020, Giusto has cultivated multiple partnerships with Newport nonprofits. In May 2021, the restaurant donated a portion of sales from its Mother’s Day brunch to the Women’s Resource Center. Employees also worked closely with NewportOut and Newport Pride, donating $1 from each sale of a specialty Pride cocktail created for the month of June and hosting a drag brunch to benefit NewportOut. During Newport Restaurant Week, a portion of sales was donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Newport. During last year’s “Buy One, Give One” event, for every lasagna purchased by a customer, the kitchen team supplied one to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, donating fifty lasagnas in all. Giusto also co-hosted a relief fundraiser for World Central Kitchen in Ukraine in May, raising more than $8,000. The team and other local cooks and bartenders donated their time to work the event.
Giusto has only been open for two years, but continues to build partnerships and create new ones to benefit the local community. The judges believed Giusto’s community outreach deserved an award. “Here is this fine dining restaurant, and the Newport population seems like it’s wealthy, but yet Newport also has one of the most underserved communities,” Barnard says. Chef and owner Kevin O’Donnell says giving back is an everyday part of what they do at Giusto. “It feels natural to give back to the community, especially after the past two years,” he says. “We wouldn’t be here without the continued support, so we don’t have to think twice about trying to make a difference in people’s lives.”
“The camaraderie and generous spirit cultivated in the culture of many local businesses to support individuals and communities during a difficult time is commendable. This is something to celebrate in our state and beyond.” —Ting Barnard
TW FINANCIAL GROUP
Honorable mention, small category: 10–49 employees
Location: Cranston, ameripriseadvisors.com/team/tw-financial-group
TW employees have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House by assisting in various maintenance projects. Every year, the team partners with the Boys and Girls Club of Rhode Island to assemble Thanksgiving baskets for local families, and this past summer, TW donated 200 water bottles to the Boys and Girls Club of Pawtucket’s summer camp.
Winner, medium category: 50–249 employees
Location: Providence, deltadentalri.com
Experts in accessible, affordable oral health care.
Philanthropy has always been an important part of life for Delta Dental CEO Joe Perroni and his wife, Julie. They continue their commitment to philanthropy with their family by giving to the Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island chapter and encouraging others to do the same. Delta Dental employees are also inspired to give back by participating in various programs. They have supported and funded dental clinics at community health centers in Rhode Island, including Lifespan’s Samuels Sinclair Dental Center, the Providence Community Health Center, Blackstone Valley Neighborhood Health Station, Thundermist Health Centers, the Rhode Island Free Clinic and Wood River Health Center. In addition, they help Rhode Island’s vulnerable citizens at places like PACE-RI and Crossroads and continue to sponsor free dental clinics through RI Mission of Mercy, Dental Lifeline Network and Operation Stand Down Rhode Island. At RI Mission of Mercy, more than twenty-five employees volunteered 125 hours to deliver more than $270,000 of dental services to 455 people over two days. Delta Dental also matches 100 percent of an employee’s charitable donations, distributing $125,000 last year in matching gifts, and provides employees with up to sixteen hours of paid time off for volunteer activities at local nonprofit organizations. Last year, employees walked to fight heart disease and stroke at the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, raising nearly $4,000 to support the cause, and donated $5,200 to Children’s Friend to purchase clothing (over 170 coats!) to keep families in need safe and warm during the cold winter months.
“I was very impressed by the level of commitment and involvement I saw within these companies. They take their time to get to know the community by being active, creating events and giving donations.” —Night Jean Muhingabo
Honorable mention, medium category: 50–249 employees
LOCATION: Warwick, bentleycompanies.com
Bentley Builders has consistently supported the Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island chapter by sponsoring an Evening of Wishes and the Make-A-Wish golf outing. This year, however, employees took it one step further by helping to grant eight-year-old Gracie’s wish for a treehouse. The crew left fun notes to Gracie throughout the construction project. “We all know how far one act of kindness can go,” says Liz Catucci, president and CEO of the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce.