The Rhode Island Foundation is offering East Greenwich residents a place to have a neighborly talk face to face over a meal May 1.

East Greenwich, R.I. – The Rhode Island Foundation is inviting East Greenwich residents to share their thoughts about the issues that are important to them at a community dinner May 1. The event is at the heart “TogetherRI,” a new initiative from the Foundation designed to get people talking face-to-face again in a time when social media is becoming increasingly coarse and divisive.

“We’re giving you the opportunity to listen, reconnect and inspire civil dialogue at a time when people are more ‘connected’ via social media, yet more disconnected from each other personally than ever,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Our hope is that participants will meet someone new and will leave knowing that their voice was heard.”

The East Greenwich community dinner is scheduled for Tues., May 1, at the Varnum Memorial Armory, 6 Main St., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and the doors will open at 5:45 p.m. People can register to attend at togetherri.org, but RSVPs are not required.

“This is a place for everyone – no matter where they live or what they care about – to come together to strengthen social connections, to be heard, to discuss opportunities and challenges and to strengthen the foundation of our community,” said Steinberg.

For people who cannot attend the get-together in East Greenwich, an event is also scheduled in North Providence Thurs., May 3, at the Meehan Overlook, Governor Notte Park, 1801 Douglas Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The events are among the 20 get-togethers scheduled across the state through May 5. The full schedule of events is posted at togetherri.org.

“Each and every Rhode Islander has a role to play in ensuring our collective success. These conversations will be a neutral place for dialogue on topics that are critical to our common future, and a place where we hope the recent tendency toward divisiveness and polarization will be left at the door,” said Steinberg.

Independent, professional facilitators will guide the sessions. The University of Rhode Island’s Social Science Institute for Research, Education, and Policy will review the information shared at TogetherRI conversations and from brief, anonymous, participant surveys. The Foundation expects to announce the topline results at its annual meeting May 24 and to release a complete report this summer.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.