Dexter Donation Proposals — Apply Now

The Dexter Donation is accepting proposals now through April 17th.

The Dexter Donation is a trust established in 1824 under the will of Ebenezer Knight Dexter “to ameliorate the condition of the poor, and to contribute to their comfort and relief.” The income from the trust is distributed to eligible non-profit organizations by a Board of Commissioners elected by residents of the City of Providence in accordance with the will of Ebenezer Knight Dexter.

Dexter, who died without children, left his Neck Farm to the city in order to establish a poorhouse/work farm.

The Neck Farm, on Providence’s east side, consisted of thirty-nine acres with some farm buildings. Ebenezer’s will stipulated that “Said town shall, within 20 years after my decease, erect all around upon the exterior lines of said farm, leaving, however [,] suitable passageways into the same [,] a good permanent stone wall of at least three feet thick at the bottom and at least eight feet high, and to be placed upon a foundation made of small stones, and as thick as the bottom wall and sunk two feet into the ground. . . .” The rationale for this colossal wall wasn’t provided. Was it to protect the people outside from those within, or the reverse?

However, as Providence’s fashionable East Side developed around the asylum, many new neighbors were not favorably inclined toward the institution. Brown University was the high bidder in a court-ordered auction in 1957. The proceeds funded The Dexter Donation. Most of the wall remains in place.

Applications may be submitted via paper application or online and must be in by 4pm, April 17, 2020.

Thank you Mr. Dexter.


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