Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education


Our History

RISE was founded by two Brown University-affiliated physicians, Dr. Timothy Flanigan and Dr. Kevin Vigilante, who worked with incarcerated and addicted women. Flanigan and Vigilante identified an intergenerational socio-medical syndrome in their patients that may include the following symptoms: poverty, under-education, joblessness, homelessness, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, depression, drug addiction, domestic or other violence, involvement with the criminal justice system, incarceration and premature death. The research and experience of the physicians led them to the conclusion that the best way to prevent this syndrome was through educational opportunities and mentoring. They founded RISE to provide scholarships to children of women who have a history of incarceration. RISE was officially launched in 1997 under the leadership of Founding Director, Kristen Haffenreffer. In 2004, RISE broadened the service population to include children with a father who has been incarcerated.



Our Staff

Kristen Haffenreffer

Executive Director

Kaitlin Della Grotta

Program Director



Our Board of Directors

Robin Boss, President

Edward J. Wing, MD, Vice President
Brown University
The Miriam Hospital

Tricia O’Neil, Treasurer
Family Wealth Director
Morgan Stanley

Debra Hagopian Vasques, Secretary
Vice President of Human Resources
Xerox Corporation

Johnnie Chace


Timothy Flanigan, MD, Founder
Infectious Disease Physician
University Medicine Foundation
Professor of Medicine
Brown University

Nicole Green
Director of Strategic Alliance, Minute Clinic
CVS Health

Eulanda LaFrance
RISE Parent
Law Clerk, Resmini & Resmini

Jennifer E. McGee
Public Affairs Executive
Margaret Paccione-Dyszlewski, Ph. D
Bradley Hospital

R. Jason Resmini, Esq.
Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini

Susan Symonds
Symonds Interior Design

Kevin Vigilante, MD, Founder & President
Senior Vice President
Booz Allen Hamilton

Jacob Weaver
Founder & CEO
Advertise for America