2023 Middendorf Pillar of Freedom Award
Frank & Liz Mauran are living models of liberty. In donating their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the great American ideal, they also exemplify all three foundational principles that comprise the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s annual Middendorf Pillar of Freedom Award; personal philanthropy, civic engagement, and free-market or entrepreneurial achievement.
Indeed, perhaps no other husband and wife duo in the Ocean State can present more notable family and civic ties to the very founding of Rhode Island and of America, while their ongoing philanthropy and business ventures continue to benefit our state and the nation.
The Mauran family ancestry reads like a history book. Roger Williams, himself, was originally buried in the backyard of their historic home on Benefit Street. Frank’s lineage includes such prominent Rhode Island names as Thomas Wilson Dorr, William Ames, John and Lincoln Chafee, Governors Henry and Charles Lippitt, and US Senator Jesse Metcalf. Liz is great-granddaughter of a former New Hampshire Governor, Frank West Rollins, whose father was former U.S. Senator, Edward W. Rollins, founder of the Granite State’s Republican party.
Further, as a direct descendent of a Revolutionary War major, Frank is a state officer and member of the Society of the Cincinnati, America’s oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by the officers of General George Washington’s Continental Army. Meanwhile, Liz is Vice Regent to Rhode Island for the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, the oldest national preservation organization charged with preserving the estate owned by George Washington.
Beginning in the late 1700’s with Sullivan Dorr, Frank’s family prospered from trade with China, in textile manufacturing, as the original “tugboat” operator in Narragansett Bay (founding the Providence Steamboat Company), and in the newspaper business, where his grandfather served as former Chairman of The Providence Journal. Similarly, Liz’s father founded a timber company in Maine, for which she has served as long time President.
Frank has engaged in multiple entrepreneurial pursuits in recent decades, publishing the Rhode Island “Onion” magazine, co-founding a money-management firm and a commercial real-estate firm, and now owning and operating a popular UPS Store in Providence’s jewelry district.
When it comes to civic engagement, Frank, a US Navy veteran who was twice deployed during the Reagan build-up years, has also been a long-time supporter of the state and federal Republican party. Liz is the Vice President of MoHA (Mile of Historic Association) whose goal is to preserve the history and protect famed Benefit Street in Providence.
The couple’s philanthropic munificence is a central component of their contributions to society. Whether donating their time or treasure, the generosity of Frank and Liz Mauran has benefitted countless Ocean Staters and Americans.
They have also been major financial supporters of each of these organizations for which they have selflessly donated their time and expertise. Liz has also served for decades on the board of the Rhode Island Zoological Society and the family has contributed to multiple projects at the Roger Williams Park Zoo. Similarly, Frank serves as a board member and donor to The Rhode Island Nature Conservancy, which preserves lands vital to our environment. Among the many other organizations supported by the Maurans, are the RI Historical Society, Crossroads RI, the Perennial Planters Garden Club, and the Newport Historical Society.
With regard to our Center, without the generous support of Frank Mauran, The Ocean State Current and its In The Dugout podcast would not exist today.
Married in 1987 and with three children, the family enjoys spending time in Exeter.
At our 2023 Freedom Banquet, we honor the great contributions to Rhode Island and American society by Frank and Liz Mauran. With a storied thread of ancestral history, they are not only highly deserving recipients, but they exemplify and have dedicated their lives – by their many good deeds – to the principles and foundations of America and of our organization’s annual Pillar of Freedom award.
The J. William Middendorf Pillar of Freedom Award is named in honor of Ambassador J. William Middendorf, Little Compton resident, former Secretary of the Navy, and current Heritage Foundation board member. He is, perhaps, Rhode Island’s greatest living defender of freedom.