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Grant will bring historical markers and events to Smithfield

SMITHFIELD, RI — The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC) has won a $10,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to install historical markers and stage events that commemorate the history of the reservoir system along the Woonasquatucket River in Smithfield.

“We are excited to collaborate with the town to share the rich history surrounding the Woonasquatucket River with the community and reinforce the connectivity of the watershed in hope of building the next generation of environmental stewards of the watershed,” said Lisa Aurecchia, WRWC’s director of projects.

The project is designed to attract people to the reservoirs and to explain their place in history. The WRWC will work with Smithfield’s city council, planning department, historic district commission and conservation commission.

“We will cover both Native American use of the river and the industrial history of the reservoir system. Our hope is that it will build community pride and stewardship of these great state water resources,” said Aurecchia.

WRWC competed with more than 100 organizations for the funding from the Foundation’s competitive Community Foundation program. The maximum grant was $10,000. Most of the work is expected to be underway before the end of the year.

“Our grants will create places to gather, make friendships and launch new collaborations that will build community connections everywhere,” said Jessica David, the Foundation’s executive vice president of strategy and community investments.

“We’re excited about these ideas for making community happen in more and better ways at the local level. Supporting community-building will improve shared places and quality of life, promote collaboration and increase community engagement,” she said.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $114 million and awarded $52 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2018. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.