PROVIDENCE, RI, (May 10, 2019) — Breakthrough Providence announces its  inaugural Community Leadership Honoree Courtney E. Hawkins, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Human Services. Ms. Hawkins career as a social worker, public servant, advocate for young people and her commitment to “moving kids and families out of poverty” makes her the ideal first recipient of the Community Leadership Honor which celebrates and highlights the work of our community partners.

After graduating from the University of Rhode Island and working in New York City, Ms. Hawkins  returned to RI to be the first Executive Director of Providence Talks, a program designed to reduce the language development gaps of some of the city’s youngest residents. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza later made her his Chief Policy Officer where she managed the city’s’s relationship with the School Department and oversaw other key departments including Sustainability, Healthy Communities, and the Office of Economic Opportunity.

At the organization’s annual spring party, Breakthrough Providence’s Advisory Board Chair Dacia Read commented, “We are motivated by the inspiration and example of Courtney’s leadership. Rhode Island is in a stronger place because of her drive and sacrifice.”  “Breakthrough Providence has worked to strengthen Rhode Island’s talent pipeline for generations by supporting middle schoolers on their pathway to college and inspiring young adults to pursue careers in education and social justice.” said Carlon Howard, BTP Co-Director. “Courtney serves as a partner and inspiration to us as we prepare to launch our 26th summer program this June.”

About Breakthrough Providence
Breakthrough Providence has a dual mission: to create a pathway to college for low-income, academically-motivated middle school students in Providence Public Schools, and to encourage talented high school and college students to pursue careers in education. Visit our website at for more information about Breakthrough Providence, how to get involved, or to donate.

Contact information:
Carlon Howard
(401) 528-2127