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.

Patrick T. LeBeau - Chair
Executive Director, Private Wealth Advisor - Morgan Stanley
Nancy J. Allen - Vice Chair
Community Representative
Sandy Coletta - Vice Chair
Community Representative
Margaret Ferguson - Secretary
Community Representative
Kristen Adamo - Treasurer
President of PWCVB
Martha Bower - 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
Sarah Denby - Board of Trustees
Community Representative
Dr. Marta Gómez-Chiarri - Board of Trustees
Chair Department of Fisheries, Animal & Veterinary Science, URI
Kimberley M. Little - Board of Trustees
Community Representative
Liz Rollins Mauran - Board of Trustees
Community Representative
Jeffrey Mello - Board of Trustees
Dean of the School of Business at Rhode Island College
Howard Merten - Board of Trustees
Managing Partner Partridge, Snow & Hahn
John J. Palumbo - Board of Trustees
Owner, President & Publisher, RI Monthly Communications, Inc.
Steven M. Parente - Board of Trustees
Senior V.P., Director of Retail Banking, Bank RI
Dr. Karen E. Silva - Board of Trustees
Department Chairperson of Graduate Business Programs, Johnson & Wales University
Maribeth Q. Williamson - Board of Trustees
Community Representative

Chairman Emeritus

Sophie F. Danforth*


Trustees Emeritus

Margaret E. Curran, Esq.
Thomas P. Dimeo
Jocelin Hamblett
James S. Harper III, VMD*
Bradford B. Kopp
Arthur D. Little
Nancy G.R. Moger
Richard Nadeau
Jane S. Nelson
Cate M. Roberts
Philip A. Segal, Jr.
Robert F. Stoico


Wendy Nilsson
Superintendent of Parks


Stacey Johnson
Executive Director, RI Zoological Society and Roger Williams Park Zoo
Ron Patalano
Deputy Director of Operations
Dave Pertuso
Chief Administrative Officer
Amy Roberts
Director of Animal Programs
Sheri Avery
Director of Human Resources
Shareen Knowlton
Director of Education
Vicki Scharfberg
Director of Marketing & PR
Lou Perrotti
Director of Conservation Programs
Cheryl Vieira
Director of Visitor Services