PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Foundation President and CEO Neil Steinberg announced Monday he will retire in 2023, opening up one of the state’s most influential leadership positions outside of government.
Steinberg, 68, said he will step down effective May 1 of next year, and he informed the board of his decision now in order to leave plenty of time to find a successor. He has led the foundation since 2008.
“I have been fortunate to have worked for three iconic Rhode Island institutions – Fleet Bank, Brown University and the Rhode Island Foundation,” Steinberg said in a statement. But leading the foundation, he said, “has undoubtedly been the best job I have ever had, and has allowed me the opportunity to work – as hard as I ever have – in service to the community.”
Founded in 1916, the Rhode Island Foundation is a community foundation funded by donors that provides grants to nonprofit groups. Under Steinberg’s leadership, the foundation has expanded both its philanthropy and its activities helping to shape public policy, particularly in health care, education and economic development.
Those efforts have included commissioning influential reports such as recent studies on the Lifespan-CNE merger and the state’s $1.1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding, as well as a series of “Make It Happen” initiatives about the future of the economy. More recently, the foundation agreed to provide a bridge loan as part of the $220 million deal to redevelop the so-called “Superman” building downtown.
The foundation said it has raised over $600 million in contributions and overseen over $700 million in grant awards during Steinberg’s 14-year tenure. Its endowment totaled $1.4 billion as of last year, which the organization said was more than triple its assets when he arrived.
“Neil has been a transformative leader for the Rhode Island Foundation and for the entire state,” Dr. G. Alan Kurose, who chairs the foundation’s board, said in a statement. “He has assembled a management team at the foundation that has consistently performed at a very high level, particularly during the pandemic.”
Steinberg “has also established civic leadership as an enduring priority of the Rhode Island Foundation,” Kurose added, alluding to the Civic Leadership Fund that he created over a decade ago.
The board — which currently has 14 members — plans to hire an executive search firm that will assist a search committee in finding Steinberg’s successor.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Threads, Twitter and Facebook.