About this Initiative

Rhode Island founder Roger Williams was a remarkable man. He set the standard for separation of church and state that the nation adopted, and his vision and determination built the “lively experiment” that was and is Rhode Island. Many of his values are more relevant than ever.

Roger Williams’s family was of modest means, and access to education was key in shaping his character, beliefs, and actions throughout his life. The Roger Williams Initiative provides annual scholarships to help Rhode Island students who appreciate and embody his values attain a college education. The Roger Williams Scholarship is intended to inspire students and their parents to think big about what’s possible for their future and to value the role of education.

We encourage you to view Roger as the complex man he was. He was both incredibly forward-thinking and very much a man of his time. We are committed to presenting a complete and accurate portrayal, which means we have stayed as true as possible to verifiable information while recognizing that many details are lost to history and some are still emerging. While he is not perfect and there is much we do not know, we believe that Roger’s character and legacy are worthy of reflection and admiration.

The Roger Williams Initiative was conceived of and funded by philanthropists Letitia and John Carter. By providing resources about Roger Williams and his teachings, this site is intended to establish a sense of place, awareness, and pride for all Rhode Islanders. These materials have been created and curated by the project team of Ted Widmer, Theresa Moore, and Nami Studios, with the contributions and support of many partners. The Initiative is managed by the Rhode Island Foundation.