Founder of CDR Fundraising Group Passes Away, Leaves Legacy of Service to Nonprofits
BOWIE, MD, April 14, 2009 — Geoffrey W. Peters, president and CEO, is saddened to announce that Raymond Grace, founder of CDR Fundraising Group, passed away from complications related to cancer early this morning, April 14, 2009.
Ray Grace was a lifelong advocate and volunteer for religious and nonprofit organizations. After serving in the United States military, Ray began his extraordinary career as a leader in the nonprofit fundraising sector. After working in direct response fundraising and managing a data processing service center, letter shop, creative agency and list brokerage operation, in 1982, he founded Creative Direct Response, (which later became CDR Fundraising Group, www.cdrfg.com). Ray managed the agency’s growth from 1982 to 2004, when he went into partial retirement. Unable to completely abandon the work to which he had dedicated himself, Ray continued working part-time on behalf of charitable organizations until last year.
Few agencies have so successfully represented the range of clients Ray brought to CDR Fundraising Group–Catholic charities, health groups, animal welfare causes, and social change advocates. As a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, Ray had a special affinity for veterans’ charities such as Blinded Veterans Association, POW-MIA, Help Hospitalized Veterans, Wounded Warrior Project and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Ray also worked with MADD, Christian Appalachian Project, Special Olympics, the Winter Olympics/Lake Placid and the U.S. Olympic Committee, children’s charities like Toys for Tots, and many more.
CDR Fundraising Group’s President and CEO, Geoff Peters, commented on Ray’s legacy: “Ray was a unique individual - they truly did break the mold. He was generous to a fault with his time, his expertise and his money which he donated to charities. He lived his life as a model for other professionals, reminding us that service to charities as a career is an honor. He built a company based on that credo and he lived it every day he worked there.
“We will miss him very much, but we are heartened by the industry-wide reactions to his recent illness and the hundreds of cards, messages and telephone calls that his colleagues sent to help him and his family through his final months and days. While we, of course, are hearing a lot of condolences, we have been hearing from a lot of folks in the industry who just wanted to let us know how Ray had helped them out. That is a legacy to which we should all aspire.”
Ray was a founding member of the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel and the business advisory council of the National Federation of Nonprofits, which merged with the DMA Nonprofit Federation. He helped develop the fundraising industry’s first set of agency ethics to bring credibility to the entire industry.
In an article describing Ray’s quarter century of professional accomplishment, Margaret Battistelli, FundRaising Success magazine editor-in-chief, wrote: “We’re honoring Ray here for his enduring attitude that fundraisers need to live the art and act of fundraising – rather than just work it – and embrace a philanthropic lifestyle and charitable heart.”
Ray received countless awards during his career, including the 2008 FundRaising Success magazine Lifetime Achievement Award and the DMA Nonprofit Federation’s 2005 Max L. Hart Nonprofit Achievement Award.
Information relating to funeral arrangements will be forthcoming. Inquiries can be made to Geoff Peters at 301-858-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org