Sally Ray brings more than 29 years of experience working in the nonprofit world and a passion for community and social service to her current role as the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s director of domestic funds, and previously as director of strategic initiatives and the director of the Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund.
In her current role with CDP, Sally oversees grantmaking for several domestic disaster funds, including the CDP Atlantic Hurricane Season Fund, the CDP California Wildfires Recovery Fund, the CDP Colorado Wildfires Recovery Fund, the CDP Disaster Recovery Fund and the U.S. grantmaking for the CDP COVID-19 Response Fund.
Sally is a sought-after speaker on strategic topics of long-term recovery funding, support for trauma-informed care after a disaster, funding grassroots organizations to build community resilience and supporting organizational and community capacity for recovery after a disaster. She has been a speaker for National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), the Federal Emergency Management Association and local, state and regional disaster-related conferences and training.
It seems almost fated that Sally had moved back to Houston just as Harvey formed. Though her home and family survived, she witnessed firsthand the devastation Harvey brought to many communities up and down the Texas Gulf Coast.
Sally is also familiar with the long-term effects of a disaster on a community after working with disaster response and recovery organizations throughout Oklahoma. While with the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Sally helped organizations address children and families’ significant mental health needs following the Moore tornado and other devastating storms. Her efforts on behalf of survivors made her keenly aware of how long it often takes communities to recover from disasters. Through her prior work as the regional chief development officer for the American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma, she developed a deep awareness of those who struggle to return to “normal” or a “new normal” after a disaster.
Sally’s nonprofit career began in Houston in the early nineties when she worked in communications and alumni services at South Texas College of Law. Moving to Oklahoma in 1999, Sally continued her career in higher education at Oklahoma City University but soon found her true calling in social services as the vice president of financial development at the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City. She moved to the Y in Arlington, Texas, in 2008, then moved back to Oklahoma to work with the Red Cross in 2011, before joining the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in 2014.
Sally lives and works remotely in Cypress, Texas, with her husband, Bill, and her 10-year-old Weimaraner, Boone, who frequently appears to say hello on Zoom meetings. She and Bill have two adult sons, Michael and Steven. She is an avid sports fan and has a particular passion for the Houston Astros, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and all the athletic teams of Oklahoma State University, her alma mater.