Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Brighter Futures Luncheon Honors Farmer and Holland McDuff

Brighter Futures Award recipient Malcolm Farmer, III 
surprised Family Service of RI CEO Margaret Holland 
McDuff with her own Brighter Futures Award for her 
25 years of exemplary service.

Family Service of RI Honors Malcolm Farmer III

Advocate for Children, Civil Rights

Fought Discrimination Due to Sexual Orientation

 Praised by Legendary Civil Rights Leader John Lewis

 Malcolm Farmer, III has received Family Service of Rhode Island’s Brighter Futures Award, given annually to a person or organization making an outstanding contribution to the well-being of children. 

He received the award at the non-profit’s annual Brighter Futures luncheon, held Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, at the Rhode Island Convention Center, which has raised nearly $230,000, breaking a record in the eleven year history of the event.

Mr. Farmer is an attorney and a partner at law firm Hinckley Allen. As a young lawyer in 1965 he left Hinckley Allen and went to Mississippi where he represented civil rights workers and organizations as well as local African-American citizens in efforts to obtain and protect their constitutional rights against state and local governments which endorsed and enforced racial segregation and discrimination.

A feature of the event was a video tribute to Mr. Farmer from Georgia Congressman John Lewisone of the most important leaders of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  Congressman Lewis’s activities included speaking at the legendary March on Washington in August of 1963, and involvement in the historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama in March of 1965—which resulted in a violent confrontation with police known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Returning to Rhode Island in 1967, Mr. Farmer continued to work for fairness as the executive director of the Governor’s Commission on Crime Delinquency and Criminal Administration. Later, as a member of the Providence City Council he was a strong and early advocate for racial equality and to end discrimination due to sexual orientation. 

He and his late wife Susan created the “Malcolm Farmer III and Susan L. Farmer Fund” at the Rhode Island Foundation promoting equality in issues involving race, sexual preference, gender, education, immigration—any area where discrimination takes place.

Mr. Farmer joined the Family Service of Rhode Island board of directors in 2001, becoming its president in 2002.  “He has had a steadfast vision and commitment to what is right for children and families,” said Family Service of Rhode Island CEO Margaret Holland McDuff. “He does not mince words either when leading in reform and advocacy even when these are not popular with the powerful.”

Mr. Farmer surprised Ms. Holland McDuff at the event by presenting her a Brighter Futures Award for her 25 years of exemplary service at Family Service of Rhode Island.

Featured at the event was Mount Pleasant Academy (MPA), a school run in Providence by Family Service of Rhode Island.  MPA is a year-round psychiatric day treatment program for children pre-K through 8th grade. It was created in 2001 and over the past 14 years has served hundreds of children and their families facing significant psychiatric and behavioral challenges and special education needs.  A video was shown about MPA, and a special fundraising appeal took place to raise funds for “The Discovery Room,” which will utilize multi-sensory technology to augment and reinforce learning activities at MPA.

The Brighter Futures Award Luncheon has become over the past eleven years a signature fall event for the state’s business community. IGT was the Diamond Sponsor of the event this year; other major sponsors included: Malcolm G. Chace, Jr.; the de Ramel Foundation; Hasbro, Inc.; Hinckley Allen; Citizens Bank; Amica Insurance; Capitol Securities; Cooley Group; Corvais Foundation; Deepwater Wind; and NBC 10.

Also, Bank of America; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island; Elizabeth Z. Chace; Thomas and Debra Chase; Cornerstone Group; Christopher and Heather Crosby; Customers Bank; CVS Health; Delta Dental of Rhode Island; Dimeo Construction Company; Malcolm Farmer, III; Foundry Associates; Fuller Box Company; H. Carr & Sons; William F. Hatfield; KLR; Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island; Joseph R. Paolino, Jr.; Residential Properties.

Family Service of Rhode Island is a non-profit social service and educational organization. More information about the organization is available at www.familyserviceri.org. For information about donating in honor of Mr. Farmer or Margaret Holland McDuff, please click here.

The event's Diamond Sponsor: