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Connecting for Children and Families' 25th Anniversary Celebration, featuring the Vision of Hope Awards.



Hope is the driving force behind Connecting for Children and Families’ (CCF) work in the community, and has been for the last 25 years.

On October 21st, CCF hosted its 25th Anniversary Celebration featuring the Vision of Hope Awards. This virtual, live-stream event welcomed the entire community to engage in an evening of inspiration and hope. Rocco Baldelli, originally from Woonsocket, and now the Manager of the Minnesota Twins, is the Honorary Chair of our special event.

The awards ceremony honored the following award recipients:

  • Governor Gina Raimondo and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott – Beacon of Hope Award
  • Rhode Island Foundation – Visionary Award (accepted by Neil Steinberg)
  • Cox Communications – Outstanding Corporate Partner Award (accepted by Jay Allbaugh)
  • George Briggs – Inspiring Hero Award
  • Janice Porteous (aka “Grandma Jan”) – Devoted Volunteer Award
  • Daishanay Francis, Jaliyah Joseph, Johandalys Montas, and Zainabou Thiam – Youth Activism Award 

Connecting for Children and Families has a vision of hope in which every Woonsocket child gets the best start in life and grows into his or her full potential. Achieving this dream would not be possible without the dedication and generosity of our donors, funders, community partners, staff, and volunteers.


Watch the event recording:

Watch the event

In an unprecedented time of need, CCF’s 25th Anniversary Fundraising Campaign had an ambitious goal of $25,000 to meet the needs of the community. 

The Vision of Hope Awards event marked the kick off of CCF’s Anniversary Fundraising Campaign and raised over $13,000, more than half of the $25,000 goal during the live event.

Gifts to this campaign support CCF’s efforts to ensure:

  • Children get a solid start in life with high quality early learning programs
  • Students participate in cutting edge afterschool and summer learning opportunities to enhance school success
  • Adults and families engage in job training and financial literacy initiatives that promote economic stability


Thanks to your caring support, CCF met the $25,000 goal! This makes it possible for CCF to continue provide high quality programs and critical services that allow our community to thrive.


Event Honorees

Beacon of Hope Award

Governor Gina Raimondo

Rhode Island’s 75th governor, Gina M. Raimondo is the state’s first female governor. During her time in office, Governor Raimondo has created thousands of jobs, and made record investments in infrastructure, education and job training. Under her leadership, Rhode Island became the fourth state in the country to offer tuition-free community college to every high school graduate. Her leadership during the COVID-19 crisis has been inspirational to many, and she continues to unite Rhode Islanders around the cause of protecting each other and working together for the good of us all. Before becoming Governor, she served as Rhode Island’s General Treasurer. Governor Raimondo also has a background in venture capital and holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Yale. Gina and her husband Andy live in Providence with their two kids, Ceci and Tommy, and their rescue dog, Sparky.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott

Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) since April 2015, Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH has been a guiding force for positive change in Rhode Island. Her work with Health Equity Zones that ensure zip code does not dictate health, as well as her dedication and steadfast guidance during the COVID-19 crisis has made Dr. Alexander-Scott a source of hope for many Rhode Islanders. Dr. Alexander-Scott is board certified in Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and Adult Infectious Diseases. From 2018-2019, Dr. Alexander-Scott was President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the national organization for state health directors, after being elected by her peers. Dr. Alexander-Scott attended Cornell University, graduated from medical school in 2001 from SUNY Upstate Medical University at Syracuse, and holds a Master's Degree in Public Health from Brown University.

Visionary Award

Rhode Island Foundation

Accepted by Neil D. Steinberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Foundation.

The Rhode Island Foundation works to address the needs of Rhode Island’s diverse communities through philanthropy, grantmaking, and community leadership. With assets now exceeding $1.1 billion, the Foundation raised $47.3 million and distributed $56.1 million in grants in 2019. In 1995, as part of the Rhode Island Foundation’s Children’s Initiative, CCF was established to provide high quality, accessible services to Woonsocket children and families in need. As a result of the Foundation’s vision and ongoing support, CCF has become, over the past 25 years, one of the premier family support organizations in Northern Rhode Island.

Neil D. Steinberg

Steinberg came to the Rhode Island Foundation in 2008 from Brown University, his alma mater, after serving as vice president of development. For the three decades prior to that, he worked in the banking sector, both for FleetBoston Financial, where he rose to the position of chairman and chief executive officer of Fleet Bank Rhode Island, as well as at investment banking firm DWQ Associates. Steinberg holds an A.B. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University, and was inducted into the Brown Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2019, Steinberg was inducted into both the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame and the Pawtucket Hall of Fame. He holds numerous titles, honors, honorary degrees, and distinguished awards. He lives in Pawtucket, RI with his wife Genie, and has two adult sons, Jason and Eric.

Outstanding Corporate Partner Award

Cox Communications

Accepted by Jay Allbaugh, Senior Vice President and Region Manager for Cox Communications’ Northeast Region.

Because of Cox Communications’ investment in CCF’s Beacon of Hope Capital Campaign, CCF reached its goal to purchase the historic Hope Street School—the place we now call home. Additionally, Cox has been a longtime supporter of CCF’s cutting edge after school enrichment programs for Woonsocket Middle School students. Thanks to the ongoing support of Cox Communications, CCF is able to continue reaching out to our community to provide much needed programs and services. We would not be where we are today without the leadership and assistance of Cox Communications. Together we have gathered a tremendous amount of hope, hard work, and dedication so Woonsocket children can realize their dreams for a brighter future.

Jay Allbaugh

Jay Allbaugh is Senior Vice President and Region Manager for Cox Communications’ Northeast region. Active in the community and the industry, Allbaugh sits on the Board of Directors for the Greater Providence Chamber and the Big Brothers & Big Sisters of the Ocean State. In his former role he also sat on the boards of Arkansas Cable Association, the Kansas Cable Association and the Nebraska Cable Association. He also serves as Champion for Cox’s local Diversity Council. Allbaugh has a bachelor’s degree in communications from East Central Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in communications from Southern Illinois University. His career achievements include being a gubernatorial appointee to the Kansas State Broadband Task Force, chair of the Kansas State Chamber, and elected Director Emeritus to the KS State Chamber. Over the past 20 years, Cox Communications has been an outstanding, abiding partner to CCF, providing support to us through grants, sponsorships, and board participation. They have gone above and beyond, helping us to beat the odds for disadvantaged kid and families in our community.

Inspiring Hero Award

George Briggs

George Briggs has been an inspiration to countless students during his many years of involvement in education and athletics. He taught Social Studies and English at Woonsocket High School for 35 years, and coached Cross-Country and Track & Field for 46 years at WHS. He is now working with young people in Smithfield at Gallagher Middle School. Known as “Mr. Briggs” even to adult former students, George has worked tirelessly to instill a strong sense of respect for others and self-respect in his pupils. He is a member of the WHS Athletic Hall of Fame, the Rhode Island Cross-Country Hall of Fame, and the Rhode Island Track & Field Coaches Hall of Fame.

Devoted Volunteer Award

Janice Porteous aka “Grandma Jan”

Grandma Jan has been an integral part of CCF’s toddler classrooms as a volunteer for the last ten years. Beloved by both our youngest students and early learning center staff, Grandma Jan’s commitment, care, and tremendous devotion are well known in the CCF community. Grandma Jan adds something special to CCF as a volunteer “foster grandparent” in our toddler rooms. Her smile is infectious, and her commitment to early childhood education is impressive.


Youth Activism Award

Daishanay Francis, Jaliyah Joseph, Johandalys Montas & Nabou Thiam

Deeply upset by the many racially charged violence brought to light in early 2020, Daishanay, Jaliyah, Johandalys, and Zainabou decided to take action. Inspired to use activism to create the changes they felt needed to happen in their community, they began organizing events to spread their message that silence is violence, and everyone must work together to make lasting change. From this thought, their group, Silence Is Violence, was born. They have held many events promoting racial equity, and also to educate others on a variety of topics including African American culture, politics, election trends and youth-driven voting, mental health, and current events.



Honorary Chair

Rocco Baldelli

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the US, Rocco chose to support CCF to help those in need in Woonsocket and Northern RI. 
Rocco was named manager of the Minnesota Twins after the 2018 season. He has led them to 101 wins and an American League Central Division title.
Rocco is a winner of the BBWAA Tony Conigliaro Award, given to the player who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage.
He was named the 2019 American League Manager of the Year. At 38 years old, he was the youngest manager to win the award.


Alana Cerrone, Anchor, ABC6

Alana was born and raised in Cumberland and is a graduate of Mount Saint Charles Academy and Villanova University.

 Alana has covered a wide array of stories – from uncovering a loophole in Rhode Island child neglect law, to live updates from the Republican headquarters during Rhode Island’s 2018 gubernatorial election, to live coverage from Atlanta, GA, for the Patriots’ appearance in Super Bowl 53.

When she’s not bringing you the latest in local news, Alana likes to explore local food destinations, take her two dogs for walks, and listen to country music. She loves all things about New England and would love to discover more!