Empowering students to succeed.

Inspiring Minds is a non-profit education agency founded in 1963 to provide academic support for the children in two segregated elementary schools. Originally named Lippitt Hill Tutorial, the organization grew into a citywide service and, in 1988, became Volunteers in Providence Schools. The more elegant name of Inspiring Minds was adopted in 2008.


Inspiring Minds empowers students for success in school and life by supporting them with trusted relationships, tutoring and mentoring from inspired community members.  


Inspiring Minds imagines a time when all Providence public school students have an equal chance at academic success. Education is truly a path to a brighter future for every one of our children, a path made
possible when the entire community accepts responsibility for ensuring that all public school students have genuine opportunities to reach their full potential. We envision an urban public school system that is justly funded, academically challenging, and offers an enriching and nurturing environment.


Students first. Students are always the primary beneficiary and central focus of our work.Closing educational achievement gaps is central to improving social mobility and increasing opportunity.

Achievement driven. We hold ourselves and our students to high standards and expectations. Everyone can succeed with the right supports and resources.

Culturally competent. Our students bring their own socio-cultural experience to school. Understanding and responding to the knowledge and experiences of each individual learner is important to personalizing their learning experience and encouraging the belief they can grow and learn.

Community connectors. The entire community has a responsibility to support student success and to close the achievement gap. Inspiring Minds connects caring and committed adults to

Relationships matter. Students feel supported and important when they experience strong relationships with adults. Such relationships improve attitudes, behaviors and mindsets that are integral to student success.

Evidence-based. We use qualitative and quantitative data and research to inform our organizational decisions and spark dynamic and innovative responses.

What We Do

Inspiring Minds partners with schools to deliver fully-integrated student support systems that provide focused, individual academic support to accelerate skill acquisition. Services are available to students from PreK-Grade 5 in math and literacy. Inspiring Minds efficiently manages these initiatives by using recruited, screened, trained and managed community volunteers and leveraging collaborations with other nonprofits, businesses and universities to make a difference in our students’ lives.

Our History

In 1963, a small group of determined East Side mothers offered to work with struggling students at two segregated elementary schools. Only one administrator, Thomas McDonald, the new coordinating principal of Doyle and Jenkins, welcomed them. He needed “all the help I could get” to raise the students’ academic performance. A handful of volunteers began working with students. Four years later, he attributed a significant improvement in reading and arithmetic scores to the Lippitt Hill Tutorial.
Fast forward, the organization, now Inspiring Minds, still gives students the academic support they need to succeed. Names, faces, ethnicities, languages have changed; the disadvantages of poverty have not. There are always thousands of children waiting to benefit from the individual attention of trained tutors. The sustained support from a caring community makes it possible.