For twenty years, the Community Foundation of Middlesex County has been defined by its grassroots approach to philanthropy, leadership, and legacy. We help connect valued donors with local nonprofits to address community needs and improve the quality of life for all. We do this by funding nonprofit programs and services, and by going “beyond the grant” by offering workshops, seminars, webinars and one-on-one consulting to help our nonprofit partners flourish. This past year we had the pleasure of connecting with Deep River resident Ray Hayes, and Pay4Ward, his newly established charitable organization that helps an often underserved population, our country’s veterans. Ray’s story exemplifies the power of partnership and how great things happen when we all work together.
After serving in Vietnam and receiving an Army commendation, Ray returned home. Forty years later while working with Veterans Affairs, he discovered he had been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.). A colleague who knew Ray had a passion for sailing suggested he try an Outward Bound open-water trip with other veterans, and he’s never looked back. Ray explained “You must work as a team in the Army. You must work as a team sailing.” Ray realized the tremendous therapeutic qualities sailing could have on others suffering from P.T.S.D. and felt it was his mission to help returning veterans through a sailing program.
Ray used his own sailboat and sails to get Pay4ward up and running. Thanks to his determination, twenty-five (25) veterans were able to enjoy a cooperative sailing experience during Pay4Ward’s inaugural season in 2016. Ray realized that forty year old sails with significant wear and tear might hinder his goal of having an even more successful second season. Ray approached the Community Foundation of Middlesex County to learn about CFMC’s competitive grant process. He went on to attend a series of CFMC workshops which helped him network and make lasting connections with other nonprofits in our region. Ray was focused on learning as much as he could about securing financial assistance and operational support to continue building his program. Through his hard work, a grant was awarded and Ray will be able to purchase new sails, thus reducing downtime spent repairing the old ones. Just imagine how many more veterans will be served.
At the Community Foundation, it’s all about connecting the dots. We are inspired by people like Ray Hayes who are determined to share their passion and to truly make a difference in the lives of others. We are grateful for our generous donors who allow us to provide support to organizations such as Pay4Ward. Their ongoing compassion and their commitment to the needs of Middlesex County are reasons we all celebrate good people doing great things. Help us make great things happen in your community. Give us a call at (860) 347-0025, drop us an email at info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org, or leave us a comment on our Facebook page.
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