Philanthropist, Leader, Financial Advisor, Mentor . . .
Raymond "Ray" Welsh was a civic minded, generous, affable leader who led by example and who generously gave not only his time and money to charitable causes, but he also willingly shared his knowledge and wisdom with others, serving as a mentor and advisor to organizations and those who had the opportunity to have worked with him. The news of his passing on February 14, 2016 came as a shock to many who knew and loved Ray, for even though he was 84 years old at the time of his death, Ray never ceased to be active and dedicated to his work as a philanthropist and financial advisor.
Ray served as the Advisory Board Chair of The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia from Fall of 2009 to Fall of 2015. He has left a lasting legacy as a result of the significant role he had played in planning and leading the development and funding of The Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center (Kroc Center). He was Chair of the Campaign from 2007 to 2012.
Located at 4200 Wissahickon Avenue in Philadelphia, the Kroc Center has grown since its opening in 2010, and it has become an integral part of Philadelphia; offering a wonderful resource for healthy, fitness activities, as well as, education, music, art and spiritual growth for all ages. And moreover, it has had a positive economic impact upon the community, as depicted in the Halo Effect research study that shows how this facility has improved the poor socio-economic conditions in the surrounding neighborhoods (to learn more about the Kroc Center's Halo Effect, CLICK HERE). An anniversary celebration was held on November 6, 2015 marking five years since the Kroc Center had opened, and the Joanne and Raymond Welsh Scholarship Fund was unveiled that evening. The fund will provide scholarships to children that will give them and their families access to memberships at the center.
Many in the community mourn the loss of Ray, and remember him fondly, including Aaron Cohen, current Advisory Board Chair for The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia:
"The Salvation Army and the entire region lost a great leader who never stopped giving. Ray was a civic leader in his philanthropic activities, he was a mentor to the generation of leaders and he was a business leader who provided his clients with great counsel and consistency. His quiet, humble and steady leadership serves as a powerful example of what service means. In my time with him on the Salvation Army Board he provided so much and helped guide me as only he could. When he was recently honored for his work at the Kroc Center he put a fine point on his service, 'We don't give back we give.' He was an amazing spirit who will be with us forever."
Rev. Bonnie Camarda, Director of Partnerships, The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware shared these reflections: "Ray was an inspiration to all of us. His contagious laugh. His smile. He was passionate about "helping the least" (which refers to scripture, Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'").
Chaz Watson, who served as the Director of Development for The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware during the Kroc Center fund raising campaign had this to say about Ray and his wife Joanne several months prior to Ray's passing:
"Working closely with Ray and Joanne to advance The Salvation Army's Kroc Center campaign, advisory board leadership, and the Army's mission to help those most in need has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Words would never be sufficient to express my deep gratitude and admiration for Ray and his wife Joanne, and the impact they've had through their philanthropy and leadership is too vast to measure...really. The Salvation Army would only be half as strong in Philadelphia as it is today were it not for their remarkable volunteer leadership. Ray and Joanne will always have my highest regard and a special place in my heart, and I hope they truly realize what a transformational impact they've effected in people's lives."
Ray was deeply committed to the mission of The Salvation Army, and he will be sadly missed, but his legacy lives on through his philanthropic accomplishments and the contribution he made to improving and transforming lives of thousands of underprivileged families throughout Greater Philadelphia.
What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we loved deeply becomes a part of us.
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