Last night, 130 public officials, community partners, incorporators and trustees gathered at One Hasbro Place for The Providence Foundation’s 39th annual meeting. Chairman Bill Hatfield (pictured left) highlighted a few major activities outlined in the organization’s action plan which was developed in conjunction with the Providence Downtown Improvement District (DID) and the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy (DPPC). He thanked all of the partners—including Grow Smart Rhode Island, the Providence Preservation Society, and the Providence Revolving Fund—that have helped to make great things happen in the city. He acknowledged that we still have a long way to go to be competitive, but we have made some headway by developing tools and partnerships.
Mayor Angel Taveras also welcomed the group, mentioning several accomplishments since releasing his 5-point economic development plan in March, such as the implementation of a new online permitting system and the partnership to improve Kennedy Plaza. According to the mayor, the city is committed to removing barriers to development, and many exciting projects are already underway. The transfer of the Arnold building from the Providence Redevelopment Authority to a private developer will help to complete the work on Washington Street; the reopening of the Arcade has boosted the city’s spirit; and the downtown circulator project will continue to accelerate growth. Watch his video about the meeting here.
Other speakers included Governor Lincoln Chafee, Frank LaTorre with an update about the DID, Cliff Wood with a report on the work of the DPPC, and Joelle Kanter with a presentation on completed and planned downtown developments.
Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s CEO, concluded with a keynote address, pointing out recent successes such as the redesign of major global brands and the steady increase in revenue over the past 10 years. He talked about Hasbro’s sense of corporate responsibility, with its employees contributing 20,000 hours of paid volunteer work each month. During the 90 year old company’s first Global Day of Joy on Friday, December 6th, its staff served 136,000 meals locally. Of Hasbro’s 5,000 employees in 53 offices around the world, 300 now work in downtown Providence.
The Providence Foundation is a not-for-profit, private sector organization supported by more than 130 leading corporations and institutions in Rhode Island. Its core purpose is to create an environment that is conducive to growth and sustained investment making Providence, particularly downtown, the premier mid-sized city in the country. Since its founding in 1974, the Foundation has supported major initiatives that have transformed the downtown area, including the river relocation project, the creation of the Capital Center Commission, and the formation of the Downtown Improvement District and Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy.