Rhode Island Foundation names Frederick K. Butler chairman, welcomes Hon. Ernest C. Torres as newest director

Retired Textron executive succeeds David m. Hirsch as head of state’s largest philanthropy

Providence, RI – The board of directors of The Rhode Island Foundation has elected Frederick K. Butler, retired vice president business ethics and corporate secretary of Textron, Inc, chairman effective January 1, 2013. The Foundation board also welcomed Hon. Ernest C. Torres, retired Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, as its newest director; Judge Torres was appointed to the board by Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell.

Outgoing chairman David M. Hirsch noted, “I pass the mantle to Fred with great confidence, having worked closely with him on the board for the past five years. In these challenging and exciting times I know he will be a thoughtful, strong and creative leader.”

Fred Butler brings substantial business and community leadership to the Foundation, where he has served on the board of directors since 2008, and as its secretary since 2009. Butler has also served as chairman of the Foundation’s development committee and has been a member of its nominating and corporate governance committee and its investment committee. A native of Erie, PA, Fred is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He worked at Textron in various legal and executive positions from 1980 until his retirement in 2009, and has held numerous leadership positions in Rhode Island, including chairing the Providence Foundation and the board of FirstWorks Providence. Butler is a commissioner of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission and a trustee of Salve Regina University.

Mr. Butler, who was elected to serve as president through 2015, stated, “It is an honor and privilege to follow David Hirsch, who has left an important legacy through many new initiatives that took hold during his tenure. I look forward to working with my fellow directors as we continue to fulfill the Foundation’s mission to meet the needs of the people of Rhode Island.”

Hon. Ernest C. Torres, appointed by Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell to a five-year term on the Foundation board of directors, served as Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island from 1999 – 2006. Judge Torres’ career spanned 21 years of experience as a federal trial judge; five years of experience as a state court trial judge; and 14 years of experience in the general practice of law counseling business clients and representing both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he was an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar, and has his J.D. from Duke University School of Law, where he is a lifetime member of its board of visitors. Judge Torres is a trustee of South County Hospital, and a former director of the Greater Providence YMCA and the Rhode Island Conservation Law Foundation, as well as a former trustee of the Rhode Island Free Public Library in East Greenwich.

“I have been a longtime admirer of the Foundation and I am delighted to be joining its board at a time when the organization has assumed leadership positions on several critical issues for our state,” said Judge Torres.

The 13-member board of directors is responsible for setting policy at the Foundation, which celebrated its 96th anniversary in 2012 and has raised nearly $120 million during the past three years for permanent endowments, while granting more than $87 million during that same time period. The Foundation is the state’s largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations. Per the Foundation’s by-laws, one member of the board is appointed by the governor and one is appointed by the Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

The Rhode Island Foundation is a philanthropic and community leader dedicated to meeting the needs of the people of Rhode Island. Founded in 1916, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the United States, and is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2011, the Foundation made grants of $28 million to more than one thousand organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. For more information, visit www.rifoundation.org

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