The 2020 Common Good Awards

These four local businesses inspire philanthropy in their employees around the state.

Congratulations to the winners: BankNewport; blumshapiro; DIStefano Brothers Construction; Prisere

We’re excited to once again partner with the Rhode Island Foundation in presenting the third annual Common Good Awards. This program recognizes Rhode Island businesses of all sizes that inspire philanthropy in their employees around the state, not by 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 including paid time off and donations to charity. The judges were impressed by the many different projects that were submitted for consideration: “They tailored their strengths to help others,” said one. “I was impressed with companies’ creativity in executing help in the community,” said another. So, congratulations to the companies recognized here, and a major vote of thanks to everyone who participated. Rhode Island is a better place because of your involvement.

The judges: Sharon Collier, vice president of human resources, Rhode Island Foundation. Emmanuel Echevarria, chief innovation and performance officer, city of Providence. Sarah Francis, editor, Rhode Island Monthly. Janet Raymond, senior vice president, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. Katie Soares, vice president, senior public affairs manager, Rhode Island and Connecticut, corporate affairs, Citizens Bank.


Winner, large category: 250+ employees
Location: Newport,
Founded in 1819, BankNewport has seventeen branches and is one of the oldest community banks in the country.

BankNewport marked its 200th anniversary in 2019 and celebrated this milestone with community events, programming, random acts of kindness and pay-it-forward gestures by employees.
Through the bank’s financial education program, employees took their expertise to classrooms and communities to help young people and families strengthen their skills in managing money and planning for the future. Through the Kind Hearts, Warm Soles sock drive, bank staff collected adults’ and kids’ socks and delivered them to homeless shelters around the state.

And as a special mark of the bank’s two-century anniversary, employees participated in a special “Pay It Forward” opportunity. Each person received $200, half to keep and half to use in their own random acts of kindness. Some employees helped strangers in the grocery store, some aided those experiencing illness, and others partnered with fellow employees to give larger monetary gifts to local nonprofits. This type of creative philanthropy that allows employees to choose their own charitable giving attracted kudos from the panel. As one judge noted, “I was impressed and enjoyed the diverse organizations that BankNewport supports. I like when I see companies doing capacity-building work. They encourage employees’ latitude.”

Did you know: Employees from BankNewport and OceanPoint Insurance bowled for a cause, raising $5,600 for the Edgewood Pawtuxet Ecumenical Food Closet in a “Bowl-a-Thon.” The bank holds $1.6 billion in assets.