Five Questions With: Philip Tedesco

Philip Tedesco, CEO of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors and State-Wide MLS, is also executive director of the nonprofit Realtor Foundation: Rhode Island.

He previously was the CEO for the Tucson Association of Realtors and TAR Multiple Listing Service in Arizona, and the CEO for the San Mateo County Association of Realtors and the Santa Cruz Association of Realtors in California.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Colorado State University in marketing and communications and completed the Duke University certificate in nonprofit management.

In a recent interview, Tedesco discussed the history and activities of the nonprofit Realtor Foundation: Rhode Island. It has a deadline in November for new grant applications. Visit the website at

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PBN: What is the Realtor Foundation: Rhode Island?

TEDESCO: The foundation is a 501(c)(3) arm [of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors]. The foundation … provides resources to help enrich communities by offering financial and other forms of assistance. What happened was … they originally set it up … to [help those affected by] flooding in [2010]. … Its original purpose didn’t have the ‘enriching communities’ piece. It was just for those affected by personal or natural disaster. We were finding it was hard to proactively go out to the community with just that mission, because it was more reactive when it was created. We adapted and revised the statement of purpose to include ‘enriching communities.’ ”

PBN: Did that happen soon after the flooding incident?

TEDESCO: We just did this recently, in 2017. [The expanded statement of purpose is] anything that is community enrichment. We have $20,000 available annually, and $5,000 available per quarter. To be eligible, you have to be a 5019(c)(3) within the state of Rhode Island … a social welfare organization. Last quarter we had $24,000 in requests come in.

PBN: What kinds of organizations have you helped?

TEDESCO: Rebuilding Together Greater Newport, Neighbors Helping Neighbors RI, Boys and Girls Club of Warwick, the Rhode Island Center, Special Olympics Rhode Island, among others. We look for the community need for the grant, as well as the number of people it serves.

PBN: How are the funds generated? Do you have an annual fundraiser?

TEDESCO: We just convinced the board of the [Rhode Island Association of Realtors] to contribute another $20,000 to keep us going through 2019. We have a fundraising and events committee. We’re trying to figure out what our signature fundraising event will be.

PBN: Nov. 15 is the deadline for applications?

TEDESCO: We had eight organizations come through the last time.  Most recently we supported South Kingstown Elks Lodge, Project Sweet Peas and Sojourner House. The South Kingstown Elks Lodge was using the funds to provide help to families and individuals throughout southern Rhode Island whose homes were in disrepair, and who don’t have the physical ability or resources to repair them. Project Sweet Peas is using the funds to provide care packages and other assistance to families who have infant and neonatal care needs. We look at the combination of the impact and the need. We didn’t want the mission of the foundation to preclude the types of things we could support. We’re leaving it up to the grant evaluation committee and the board of trustees. We are trying to make a point of spreading it out.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at