Ginger Gray, with her husband Cory Gray, is gifting $250,000 to Indiana University East.
The Ginger Gray Spirit of Philanthropy Fund will provide opportunities for students and student clubs to apply for funding that supports philanthropic efforts on and off campus.
The gift was announced by IU Board of Trustee member Donna Spears during the Chancellor’s Medallion Dinner, and the campus’ official Indiana University Bicentennial event, held Friday night in the Whitewater Hall Lobby. For more on the Chancellor’s Medallion, read the news release.
Gray received a Chancellor’s Medallion during the dinner along with Richard (Rick) E. Boston and Marvin (Tom) Thomas Williams. Each also received an IU Bicentennial Medal.
IU East Chancellor Kathy Cruz-Uribe said Gray is an inspiration.
“I was so delighted to present Ginger with a Chancellor’s Medallion award,” Cruz-Uribe said. “Ginger is a philanthropist in the truest sense of the word. She gives of her time, talent and treasure to support IU East and our students. Ginger is one of those rare individuals who inspires others by example through her hard work, enthusiasm, leadership and dedication to our community.”
For Gray, being involved with local non-profit organizations is about helping others do their best and contribute to the community.
“Philanthropy means the love of humanity and for the public good,” Gray said. “We just want the best for our community.”
Gray is the owner of Ginger Gray Productions, and a philanthropist, planner and historic preservationist. Her husband is a radiologist at Reid Health.
The purpose of the gift is to provide students and student organizations with funding that will be used to create philanthropic efforts that will enhance the IU East campus or the Richmond community. Students or student organizations will apply for the funds – much like a grant process – to receive money that will fund their philanthropic ideas.
“I have witnessed first-hand the IU East commitment to our community and how the campus focuses on the quality of life within Richmond, Indiana. That is very important to me,” Gray said. “IU East is not just focused on the campus, they want to impact the community around them. Whatever makes the community stronger, makes IU East stronger. I really admire that IU East wants to do the best for the community, as opposed to just what is good for the campus.”
Gray said she hopes the gift will encourage students to think about their responsibilities to invest in the communities in which they live. The gift, she hopes, will help students be more involved in the community, learn about their own abilities, and find ways to support the organizations or interests that matter most to them.
“I hope this gift helps students to try and think outside of themselves, and that it helps them to see the power they have to make a difference,” she said.
Gray said the philanthropic community has helped her grow into the person she is today.
Since the Grays first moved to Richmond in 1987 she has been involved with local philanthropy. As a new resident in the community Gray was recruited by Sandy Burner, Carol McKey and Jeanne Rush to be a part of the Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra (RSO).
“They got me involved and from there I saw first-hand the level of commitment that these women had for our community,” Gray said.
She observed others and she learned how to best serve the community through philanthropy.
In 1992, Gray was asked by Burner to chair the dedication celebration for Hayes Hall. Burner was the vice chancellor for External Relations and Development at IU East, a position she had taken on a few years earlier in 1989. At the time, IU East was a much different campus, she said. Hayes Hall was the second building built on the 225-acre property.
Planning the Hayes Hall dedication was Gray’s introduction to the campus.
“I had never done anything on that scale. We got it done, and it was amazing,” Gray said. “That event gave me confidence. I’ve always been supported by a wonderful, strong group of successful women who have encouraged me. That’s what I try to do for other women and for youth in our community.”
The involvement led Gray to commit herself to improving the community, an effort that has had a vast impact. She has served on boards and in advisory capacities, donated professional services, set the standard for event-based fundraising, and mentored the next generation of event planners and leaders.
Since her first fundraising experience with RSO, Gray continues to work closely with IU East including Friday night’s event, which was her 10th Chancellor’s Medallion Dinner. She assisted with Chancellor Cruz-Uribe’s Installation Ceremony in 2013, which saw the revitalization of the Historic Pennsylvania Railroad Depot.
Before her involvement with philanthropy and assisting non-profit organizations, Gray said she did not know of her creativity, a trait she is known for now.
“I never knew I could do anything before non-profits,” Gray said. “Non-profits were my education, my training ground. I learned everything by just watching and observing, and trying to be the best person that I could be. I tried to be the first person there, and the last to leave, and to do whatever I could to improve, modify, or absorb. I was like an intern for Richmond, Indiana, for 30 years. Now I would like to give back.”
Each year, Gray works with 10-14 non-profit organizations throughout Wayne County including the RSO, the Richmond Art Museum (RAM), Cope Environmental Center, Amigos and Girls Inc. She continues to work with IU East for events such as the Chancellor’s Medallion, chancellor installations and fundraising events.
“Ginger’s work in the community has had a tremendous ripple effect on so many people. This extends to non-profit leaders and the thousands of people who are served by those organizations,” said Jason Troutwine, vice chancellor for External Affairs. “IU East is lucky to have been a beneficiary of her volunteerism and philanthropy. And on a personal level, Ginger has taught me a great deal and I appreciate her mentorship.”
For her volunteer leadership, Gray received the RSO President’s Award in 2016 and the Wayne County Foundation’s Rodefeld Award in 2017.
Gray is a lifetime board member of the RSO and she has served on the board for the RAM and the Richmond Neighborhood Restoration. Gray is a founding member of Palette to Palate, a collaborative fundraising event between the RAM and IU East. She is also a founding member of the Women’s Giving Circle of the Wayne County Foundation.
Her longstanding philanthropic and community service has helped secure nearly $4 million for the local non-profit community.
The journey from being welcomed by a group of women to participate in philanthropy to establishing her own business and giving legacy is not what Gray would have expected to happen when she first moved to Richmond. She is thankful that she has been involved.
“It’s been a ride,” Gray said. “I feel blessed to have these organizations around me. They fill me with joy and pride to be part of the community. It’s a two-way street. I feel they give more to me than I do to them.”
This gift will count toward the $3 billion, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign. IU East’s campaign goal is $7 million, which will help fund a variety of campus initiatives, student scholarships and strategic projects. Find out more about IU East and ways to assist the campus at iue.edu/development.
For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses including IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in June 2020 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration in 2020. To learn more about the campaign, its impact and how to participate, please visit forall.iu.edu.
Founded in 1936, the Indiana University Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value in excess of $2.3 billion.