Education Commissioner Gist to receive Brighter Futures Award


Family Service of Rhode Island has announced the recipient of its 8th annual Brighter Futures Award: Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist.

She joins the ranks of the Boston and Pawtucket Red Sox, U.S. Senator Jack Reed and others. Last year’s recipient was Geoffrey Canada, who heads New York’s “Harlem Children’s Zone,” which is the inspiration for Family Service of Rhode Island’s school-based work in South Providence. Mr. Canada was one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

“We are honoring another education visionary this year, Commissioner Gist,” said Family Service of Rhode Island CEO Margaret Holland McDuff. “Her vision, her leadership, her energy have been an inspiration. Most importantly, she shares a key attribute of all our recipients: a deep unwavering commitment to brighter futures for children.”

“I am deeply honored that Family Service of Rhode Island will present me with the Brighter Futures Award, which I will be proud to accept on behalf of the school leaders, teachers, students and families in our state who work hard every day to transform our schools and to prepare for success,” said Commissioner Gist. “I share with the folks at Family Service a commitment to and a faith in a brighter future for the children of Rhode Island, and I will continue to work tirelessly with Family Service and other nonprofit agencies to lead our schools toward greatness.”

Commissioner Gist will receive the award at an Oct. 2 luncheon at the Rhode Island Convention Center, beginning at noon. The luncheon is a major fundraiser for Family Service of Rhode Island; a non-profit serving traumatized and abused children, families in poverty, and others in need across the state. The luncheon, since it was established in 2005, has become a paramount event, regularly drawing about 500 attendees from the business community, government and other sectors.

Seats are available through, by calling 519-2274, or emailing

Major sponsors include: Hasbro, Inc.; GTECH; Hinckley Allen & Snyder; National Grid; Bank of America; Chris and Heather Crosby; Delta Dental of Rhode Island; Dimeo Construction; Flagstar Bank; Gilbane Building Company; H. Carr & Sons; Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co.; and William Vareika Fine Arts.


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