By Linda LaChapelle
Economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility.
Those are the three key pillars Cooley Group President and CEO Dan Dwight is committed to as a board member of Family Service of Rhode Island, an award-winning strategic leader, and a businessman. That’s why he and the Cooley Group decided to become the presenting sponsor for the Brighter Futures Event in 2022, going above and beyond to support FSRI’s mission to create equity in early intervention services for children and families in Rhode Island.
“There is a solid return on investment in early intervention, the earlier you can get to the family, the earlier you can get to the kids, you’re going to get a return,” he said. “And the return is you’re going to move all of those kids out of the system.”
Dan has served as a board member with FSRI for the past 10 years, where he provides strategic guidance and advice to CEO Margaret Holland McDuff and her team of community caregivers. He helps support fundraising efforts, serves as a spokesperson, and spreads the word about the organization’s important community work.
“Supporting FSRI financially, and as a Board member matters to me,” he said. “And to the 39 Rhode Island communities Margaret and her team serve.”
Dan was born and raised in Boston MA, where he still lives today. He grew up in a middle-class neighborhood and came from a large tight-knit family. Dan was close to everyone in his family, but he especially remembers looking up to his grandfather, who loved to build and fix things. He had a huge workshop at his house, where Dan loved to spend time with him learning the craft. His grandfather spent his career at GE aircraft where Dan would later go on to work himself for 17 years before moving on to the Cooley Group.
When Dan was recruited by the Cooley Group it was a family-owned business, and not being from Rhode Island he expressed his interest in wanting to get involved in the Rhode Island community.
That’s when Dan was introduced to FSRI by Mac Farmer, who was the legal counsel to the family who previously owned the Cooley Group and also served as Board Director at FSRI. Dan was immediately drawn to FSRI as an organization because it is the oldest serving family and community-based socially responsible organization in RI. He says was also impressed with the quality of the staff and their world-class dedication to the cause as well as Margaret’s rock-solid leadership.
Once he became involved with FSRI he was surprised to see how much need and demand there actually was in the community. He did not realize how much need there is for families behind closed doors that you don’t see out in the open. He was impressed with how Margaret and FSRI served as a bridge between the State’s resources and the need of the community. He realized the challenges that non-profit organizations, like FSRI, face. By having to constantly be fundraising to support their own programs that lift the community, Dan decided it was important to be involved in any way that he could.
Dan views helping the community and providing the necessary resources as an investment in people. He believes that if you invest in the right people and programs, you can reduce the amount of overall need in a community. Dan feels about investing in people and supports time off for his employees to follow suit in their own philanthropy.
“Community matters,” Dan said. “As a Strategic Leader it is on me and my peers – all of you- to stand up and lead to create better, safer, healthier, and more robust communities for our families.”