Ken Panciera met Peter Mello when he began volunteering for WaterFire in 2015. Mello is the managing director and WaterFire’s “Money Man,” creating sponsorship opportunities with some of the largest companies in the state including Amica, Cox Communication and National Grid. We asked him to tell us about Mello’s contributions to WaterFire and the community.
“Peter will be the first one to tell you, and be very proud of this, that each year WaterFire creates $113 million in economic impact for the community, generates $9.3 million of direct tax revenue for RI and Providence, and supports 1,294 jobs for local residents,” explains Panciera. “WaterFire is art that builds community.
“Peter’s experience in the business sector, working in San Francisco, New York and London, tremendously helped in the creation of the idea of the WaterFire Art Center, now a thriving space that has hosted the Southern New England Heart Association Heart Ball, the Cox Communications Get Started Rhode Island networking event for small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs, and the Rosa Parks House.
“Peter asked me to join WaterFire’s FireBall Committee in 2016, where I have helped (in a very small part) to generate funds to keep WaterFire going for the next 25 years. Since 2015, FireBall has been WaterFire’s main fundraising event, and has generated close to $100,000 each year.
“On a personal level, I’ve never seen a man more passionate about an non-profit volunteer organization like WaterFire. While WaterFire’s staff is only 25 or so, it’s the 300 volunteers who drive any given event. Peter has inspired me to keep coming back to volunteer year after year. He’s unassumingly quiet, yet always thinking about ways to take this great art installation that Barnaby Evans created to the next level. Without Peter Mello captaining the WaterFire boat (pun intended), and leading the way to engrave this unique art installation in the hearts and minds of Providence, WaterFire would not be the same.”