Betsey Purinton: Creating Positive Change

Empowering children and ourselves.

When I was invited by United Way to pen this blog entry for Women United, I thought a lot about how to capture the group’s passion for our work to improve childhood literacy. I kept coming back to something United Way president and CEO Anthony Maione once said about the most effective way to create lasting change in the lives of others:

“We can accomplish more together than any of us could do on our own.”

It’s a simple statement, but one that’s powerful and speaks to why more than 150 Women United members are committed to such an important cause.

I’ve been involved with Women United for several years and serve as Vice Chair of its Executive Committee. Throughout my involvement, I’ve been in awe of the amazing women who give so much of themselves for the betterment of others.

Lifelong learning.

For me, like my fellow members, education is very personal. I began my career as a teacher and a school administrator before staying home to raise my children and teaching them as mothers do. Once they were older, I began my second career at StrategicPoint Investment Advisors, working my way to becoming a managing partner. Yet through it all, I have always considered myself a teacher.

None of us ever stop learning during our lives, which is why United Way’s focus on lifelong learning is so critical. But to build your education, you need a strong foundation, and that begins with learning to read. In a state where less than 40 percent of third graders are reading proficient, each of us has something to offer and the capacity to make a difference.

When I consider the work of Women United, I think about empowerment. For the children we help, learning to read empowers them in and of itself. It allows them to open the pages of a book, understand the words in front of them, and get lost in a journey of the imagination. But the group also empowers each other.

Alongside my fellow members, I draw strength from their energy; confidence from their guidance. We have embraced a singular mission, making our whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Investing in our future.

I was recently asked about the best investment we can make for our future, and my answer was easy – education. When I look in our classrooms today, I see the leaders of tomorrow. And Women United is helping to give these kids, especially those from underserved communities, a chance to succeed.

We were all once kids who experienced the magic of learning to read and then reading to learn. Reading is a gift we carry throughout our lifetime, so if you’re blessed with this gift, why would you not want to pass it on to every child in our state?  And what better way to do it than by joining Women United, where I promise you will get back even more than you give.


By Betsey Purinton

Betsey Purinton is on United Way of Rhode Island’s Board of Directors, serves as Vice Chair of Women United’s Executive Committee, and is Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer at StrategicPoint Investment Advisors. She specializes in women’s planning issues, retirement decision making, and oversees the company’s Portfolio Management Committee, which directs the firm’s investment strategies.