Rhode Island Zoological Association

Rhode Island Zoological Society (RIZS) is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports and maintains Roger Williams Park Zoo.  RIZS works to secure the public and private sector support needed by the Zoo to continue to develop new world-class exhibits, make significant contributions to conservation, and serve the community as a valuable source of environmental education, recreation, and economic development.

By the mid 1960's, like so many zoos across the country, Roger Williams Park Zoo was showing visible signs of neglect. One determined individual, Sophie Danforth, recognized that the Zoo was an extremely valuable institution in need of organized assistance. She founded The Society in 1962 to increase public awareness and support for the Zoo, and to raise funds from the private sector. All trustees are fully independent, voting members of the Board. They serve the Society’s mission with no remuneration.

Maribeth Q. Williamson - Chair
Community Representative
Howard Merten - Vice Chair
Managing Partner Partridge, Snow & Hahn
Sandy Coletta - Treasurer
Community Representative
Margaret Ferguson - Secretary
Community Representative
Kristen Adamo - Board of Trustees
VP Marketing & Communications PWCVB
Nancy J. Allen - Board of Trustees
Community Representative
Douglas Caniglia - Board of Trustees
CSI DCI Construction, Inc.
Barbara S. Cottam - Board of Trustees
Rhode Island Market Executive, Citizens Bank
Patrick LeBeau - Board of Trustees
Managing Director U.S. Trust
Kimberley M. Little - Board of Trustees
Community Representative
Liz Rollins Mauran - Board of Trustees
Community Representative
John J. Palumbo - Board of Trustees
Owner, President & Publisher, RI Monthly Communications, Inc.
Jeffrey Mello - Board of Trustees
Dean of the School of Business at Rhode Island College
Dana Goldberg - Board of Trustees
Vice President, Tax, Textron Inc.
Steven M. Parente - Board of Trustees
Senior V.P., Director of Retail Banking, Bank RI
Teresa A, Crean, AICP - Board of Trustees
Coastal Community Planner, URI Coastal Resources Center & RI Sea Grant
Sarah Denby - Board of Trustees
Community Representative
Dr. Marta Gómez-Chiarri - Board of Trustees
Chair Department of Fisheries, Animal & Veterinary Science, URI
Dr. Karen E. Silva - Board of Trustees
Department Chairperson of Graduate Business Programs, Johnson & Wales University


Dr. Jeremy Goodman, DVM
President, RI Zoological Society
Executive Director, Roger Williams Park Zoo
Wendy Nilsson
Superintendent of Parks


Dr. Jeremy Goodman, DVM
Executive Director, RI Zoological Society and Roger Williams Park Zoo
Tim French
Deputy Director of Animal Programs
Ron Patalano
Deputy Director of Operations
Sheri Avery
Director of Human Resources
Shareen Knowlton
Director of Education
Lou Perrotti
Director of Conservation Programs
Diane S. Nahabedian
Director of Marketing & Public Relations
Dave Pertuso
Chief Administrative Officer
Cheryl Vieira
Director of Visitor Services