Local humanitarian gives back to former high school

John Carnevale

John Carnevale is a 2000 graduate of East Providence High School.

But it's what he's doing now that is making a difference in his hometown.

"I've seen a city on the verge of bankruptcy and was thinking about different ways to get the community excited and involved in what's going on and start to make a difference, and I walked into the East Providence High School gym and figured this was the place to start," said Carnevale, who currently lives in San Diego.

The former three-sport athlete started work on a four-step process of redoing the hardwood floors, painting the ceiling and walls, as well as new, powered bleachers that were donated from Providence College.

The total bill is about $100,000, and Carnevale and his team are well on their way with a grassroots effort.

"We raised $75,000 pretty quickly in a little under a month, so that's because of the community's response of a big project like this, but even more so to the belief they have of this city coming back around," Carnevale said.

However, this isn't Carnevale's first philanthropic effort.

After doing some work in Uganda for his company, Carnevale, a mechanical engineer, came down with malaria and almost died due to the lack of medical facilities in the area. So, he decided to build a hospital.

"So I started saving all my money as an engineer, sleeping in the car in San Diego and then went back to Uganda to start building this hospital. As the community grabbed on to the Uganda project, I starting thinking about how we could do something amazing as well back home. So I think from the Ugandan project this all kind of came about," he said.

Carnevale said being a humanitarian is extra special to him, and especially to do it in his hometown.

"My family stepped up when I was young, really engrained in us to give back to other people. I'm just a regular guy, a townie, East Providence, born and bred, who wants to get some stuff done here," he said.

Carnevale said he plans on refurbishing some labs at the science wing of the high school.