About the Hayden Foundation

Our Mission

The Donald P. and Elaine M. Hayden Foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to providing financial assistance via scholarships and grants to educational and animal welfare organizations.

the Haydens photo montage

About the Haydens

Don P. and Elaine M. Hayden were true believers that steady work, ethics, service, and education were the keys to life’s success. Don grew up in Brooklyn, NY under very poor conditions and Elaine was also raised under modest conditions in Hempstead, NY. After high school, both enlisted in military service during WW II. Don served as an Army Medic on LST Landing Crafts while Elaine worked for the Navy at the Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C., monitoring the number of ships and personnel lost.

The Hayden’s life experiences contributed to their appreciation for hard work and frugal living. They believed in making the best of every opportunity to improve their lives and those of others.

Don attended college in Chicago under the GI Bill, for which he was forever thankful. He served as HR Manager for North American Phillips, Amperex Division in NY, and he later transferred to Rhode Island to establish labor relations for the relocation of the Phillips Components Division. Those activities led to Don and Elaine’s meeting at the Employers Association, an employer labor relations advisory group where Don later served as president. Don and Elaine married in August 1977. Don retired in 1993 but continued to work independently as a labor relations advisor, and to focus on emerging technologies and wise investments, while Elaine pursued her interests in the arts and animal welfare. 

The Hayden’s commitment to service and philanthropy extended to Don’s committing to annual health clinic missions in the Philippines with Project Hope well into his nineties. These mission trips required traveling to remote mountainous areas. When completed, Don would then continue to travel to other parts of the world, including the Mideast and Southeast Asian countries (all of which were reported in a very detailed and educational Annual Year End letter to his friends and associates). 

Locally, Don and Elaine were very involved in several organizations and were especially focused on animal welfare and community organizations that provide educational and health improvement opportunities through scholarships and matching grants. In addition to being supporters of the North Smithfield and Scituate Animal Shelters, Don became a very active member of the Scituate Lions in 1997, where he initiated several new scholarships for students in STEAM programs and the Trades.  He also became especially fond of a Lions Fishing Tournament for the Visually Impaired, making several trips with the Rhode Island team to the national tournament in North Carolina. 

The culmination of the Hayden’s experience, intellect and investing wisdom has resulted in the great opportunity to form the Donald and Elaine Hayden Foundation, which is committed to supporting student endeavors in STEAM and the Trades, in addition to promoting and supporting Animal Welfare programs. 

George Panichas

Message from the Executive Director

On behalf of the Hayden Foundation and its Board of Directors, it is my privilege to welcome you to our website.

Here, you can explore our organization, its inspiring work and the meaningful impact the Hayden Foundation continues to make in the areas of Education and Animal Welfare in Rhode Island.

Browse our site and be energized by the work of our Grantees as they make exciting and enduring contributions to our Rhode Island community.

Our goal is to provide the necessary information and guidance to prospective grantees that encourages appropriate inquiries, with an application process that is intuitive and efficient.

We look forward to hearing from you!

– George Panichas

Board of Directors

Kenneth Barthelemy


Nick Gorham

Michael Hill


John Reis

Cynthia Rondeau