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HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island awards University of Rhode Island’s Talent Development Program $50,000

The HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island announced today a $50,000 donation to the University of Rhode Island Foundation 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 for more than 50 years. URI is one of the 14 area organizations to receive a total of $92,500 in grants from the HarborOne Foundation 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 education 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 Harbor One 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 assists us in helping students graduate on time while also providing them with skills such as financial education. 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 admission 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 through an intense summer program before their first semester 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, throughout the world, all the way to people serving 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 over 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 percent 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 donation will help cover the financial aid gaps that challenge scholars who would like take summer and winter classes.

“Winter and summer classes help students finish their degree a little bit faster, catch up on credits, 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. “But it can certainly be a barrier for our scholars who are not able to afford the credits. This donation will definitely help provide those important experiences to more students.”

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.

The HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island’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.

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