About Me

I delight in human connections, local places, problem-solving, and Bruce Springsteen. Drawing upon nearly 20 years working at the intersection of people, place, and money, my mission is to build community wealth and resilience in Rhode Island.

I am a full-time Master of Divinity student at Harvard Divinity School. I co-founded Local Return in 2021 to build community wealth in neighborhoods that have experienced historical disinvestment through community ownership and investment. We are in the process of establishing Rhode Island’s first-ever community investment fund. At Good Worth Working For LLC, I support community organizations and leaders on strategy and change processes, program design, large and small convenings, and culture-building.

Previously, I served as Executive Vice President of Strategy & Community Investments at the Rhode Island Foundation, where I led strategic initiatives, grant programs, evaluation, capacity-building, and impact investing at the state’s largest philanthropic institution. I spent several years early in my career working on homelessness, affordable housing, and community development. (View my LinkedIn profile.)

Here are some of my past personal projects:

  • In August 2019, I started a year-long project to tweet a daily message of encouragement. “Chin up” is the thing I tell myself when I need a moment of courage, when I am feeling uncertain or embarrassed, when I need to get to work. These tiny offerings are collected here (and even available in book form!).
  • Between March and July 2020, I held 26 Coronacast conversations with friends and colleagues. This series was an attempt to connect with thoughtful, courageous people who were finding their own paths through an unprecedented time. 

Contact me at JD at JDinRI dot com.