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.
My greatest strength is connecting the dots: among people with complementary spirits and aspirations, between complex ecosystems and individual programs, from big-picture planning to on-the-ground implementation, between institutions and community members, and from strategy to implementation to evaluation.
Here are some of my recent efforts:
- I launched The Local Return in 2021 to build community wealth, particularly in neighborhoods that have experienced historical disinvestment. We strengthen the local community investment ecosystem, advocate for local policies and practices that support a vibrant and just local economy, and increase community awareness and capacity.
- 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.
- In August 2019, I started a personal 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!).
- With the brilliant team at the What Cheer Writers Club, I co-founded Dear Rhode Island, a community-led project to build connection across Rhode Island using the power of letters.
- 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, and follow me @JDinRI on Twitter.