KINGSTON, R.I. – Feb. 11, 2020 – The University of Rhode Island Foundation & Alumni Engagement today announced a $50,000 gift from the HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island to promote the work of URI’s Talent Development program in providing educational opportunities to students from underrepresented and educationally disadvantaged communities in Rhode Island.
Talent Development, which marked its 50th anniversary in 2018, makes college possible for about 1,200 students annually. HarborOne Foundation’s financial commitment will allow more Talent Development scholars to enroll in summer and winter intersession courses and will support technology expenses for students. It will be augmented with a series of financial literacy classes for scholars through the bank’s educational services division, HarborOne U.
“The HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island is honored to partner with University of Rhode Island’s Talent Development program, a nationally recognized model of serving a diverse, aspiring and talented group of young people. Investing in programs that provide access and opportunity to high quality education is a core tenet of HarborOne,” said Joseph Casey, president and chief operations officer of HarborOne Bank. “We believe that education has the power to fuel future success and is critical to advancing economic mobility and creating thriving communities.”
“This gift from HarborOne is a transformative gift for our scholars in the Talent Development program,” said Kathy Collins, URI’s vice president for Student Affairs. “At URI, we are focused on student success, which to us means timely graduation. This gift will assist us in helping students graduate on time while also providing them with skills such as financial literacy. We are excited for the future of our program and in seeing what our graduates will do in Rhode Island and around the world.”
Established in 1968 in the aftermath of the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Talent Development was created as a special admissions program for Rhode Island students of color and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Talent Development provides a framework to help students succeed. First-year students are introduced to college life before their first semester through an intense summer program and are provided advisers and mentors throughout their college career. From a first class of 13 students in 1968, the program has grown to boast more than 3,700 graduates.
“Talent Development alumni work throughout society and throughout the world, all the way to people working in local communities, social service agencies and high schools. We’re not only in all parts of the world, we are from all parts of the world,” said Gerald Williams, director of Talent Development. “As a graduate of TD, I couldn’t have done it without the program. TD always was a home away from home for me. If I had issues or concerns on campus or at home, I could literally come here and talk to my adviser. We built a relationship over four years. That’s why TD works.”
Phillip Kydd ’81, vice president of the HarborOne Foundation and deputy director of the R.I. Department of Transportation, said he hopes the $50,000 HarborOne Foundation investment will serve “as a catalyst that encourages others to embrace the important mission of the Talent Development program and to help sustain this important work.”
“As a board member of the HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island and proud alumnus of URI, we are excited to celebrate 50 years of investing in futures,” Kydd said. “The Talent Development program is a unique and extraordinarily important approach towards advancing the educational experience at the state’s flagship university. The program has influenced many non-traditional and first-generation college students in incredibly positive ways. I have witnessed firsthand the lasting impact this program can have on a student’s capacity to learn, lead, persist and succeed.”
About 80% of Talent Development scholars receive some level of need-based financial aid. For many, that assistance covers tuition for fall and spring semesters for up to five years. HarborOne’s gift will help cover the financial aid gaps that challenge scholars who would like to take summer and winter classes.
“Winter and summer classes help students catch up on credits and finish their degree a little bit faster, or those interested in studying abroad and really having a global experience, meeting some of the goals of the university,” said Kristina Moyet, associate director of Talent Development. “This gift will definitely help provide those important experiences to more students.”
Leo A. DiMaio, grandson of Leo F. DiMaio Jr., co-founder of URI’s program, is a current Talent Development scholar. DiMaio ’21, a film studies major, struggled with school and transferred to URI from a community college. He credits Talent Development’s summer program with preparing him to succeed.
“The gift from HarborOne will help TD progress into the future,” DiMaio said. “My grandfather would be so happy because he always wanted the program to reach its fullest potential. This will help achieve that.”
The financial education courses offered through HarborOne U will assist TD students with managing money and navigating credit, and will be delivered on URI’s Kingston Campus by a seasoned staff of multilingual HarborOne employees. Since its inception in 2007, HarborOne U has assisted more than 16,000 individuals and small business owners with financial education classes.
About the HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island:
The Foundation’s mission is to strengthen and empower individuals and families by investing in non-profit organizations that create positive and lasting change across Rhode Island. The Foundation focuses its support on organizations that provide educational opportunities, create access to safe and affordable housing and deliver basic human services to our most vulnerable citizens. In 2019, the HarborOne Foundation provided $200,000 in grants to more than 40 Rhode Island based nonprofit organizations.
About HarborOne Bank:
HarborOne Bank is the largest state chartered co-operative bank in New England with $4.06 billion in assets. HarborOne Bank serves the financial needs of consumers, businesses, and municipalities throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island through a network of 25 full-service branches, one limited service branch, and commercial loan offices in Providence and Boston. The Bank also provides a range of educational services through HarborOne U, with classes on small business, financial literacy and personal enrichment throughout its communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. HarborOne Mortgage, LLC, a subsidiary of HarborOne Bank, is a full-service mortgage lender with more than 35 offices throughout New England, with its newest office in New Jersey.