McKEE, Ky. — When children visit Camp AJ this summer and take a break from roaming the beauty of the mountains where they find a week of respite and laughter of friends and counselors, they will visit the Ray Grace Craft Room. It was dedicated to honor a fundraising pioneer that contributed to Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) fundraising efforts that have helped make it possible for Camp AJ to operate each summer.
Christian Appalachian Project’s President and CEO Guy Adams (left) and Geoff Peters, CEO of Moore DM Group, dedicate the Ray Grace Craft Room at Camp AJ.
“Ray Grace was a not only an innovator when it came to fundraising,” said Guy Adams, president and CEO of CAP, “he was a friend of CAP’s and believed in our mission of transforming the lives of children in need in Appalachia.”
Grace, who passed away in 2009, was co-founder of CDR Fundraising Group. When Creative Direct Response was just a dream, Grace approached the founder of CAP, Reverend Ralph Beiting, and then Vice President of Development Bill Begley, to determine if they would entrust their fundraising efforts to his startup. They agreed and CAP became the first client of CDR. That partnership planted the seeds of a direct mail fundraising program that continues to provide for the needs of CAP participants 35 years later.
“CDR cherishes our relationship with CAP, now approaching our 40th year together. CAP does so much good for the people of Appalachia and we are honored to help CAP secure the resources for its efforts,” said Geoff Peters, CEO of Moore DM Group, the parent company of CDR. “Ray Grace would have been a little embarrassed about the nice things said about him but proud that the legacy he started was still going strong.”
Grace, who resided in Riva, MD, served his country by joining the United States Navy Construction Battalions during the Vietnam War. Grace worked for a vertically-integrated direct mail company that had a letter shop and data processing company. He had a vision to assist nonprofit organizations with their fundraising as well as all the other organizational functions that support fundraising. In addition, he was a founding member of the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel and received countless awards for his work, including the DMA Nonprofit Federation’s 2005 Max L. Hart Nonprofit Achievement Award.
“Ray started CDR because he was a mission-driven man and wanted to help his clients achieve their missions,” said Angela Struebing, president of CDR. “I’m honored to continue his legacy working with our partners like CAP who are impacting the lives of people every day.”
With CDR’s expertise, CAP continues to move mountains of despair, isolation, hunger, and hopelessness. Grace is still impacting children and families in Central Appalachia. The funding provided by CDR in the naming of the Ray Grace Craft Room contributes to moving mountains that continue to hinder and oppress so many in the region.
“My Dad truly loved and was passionate about helping people,” said Melissa Grace Patterson, CDR account executive. “This is a great tribute honoring his memory and we as a family are deeply touched. He may be gone but never forgotten.”
Phyllis Caudill, CAP’s assistant vice president of Philanthropy, found a memo from Ray Grace dated Aug. 11, 2008. He wrote, “CAP has long been near and dear to my heart and I am willing to do what I can.” His generosity of spirit reverberates through CDR’s mission and his vision realized is still building hope and transforming lives in Appalachia.