COLORADO NWIAA CHAIRPERSON and NATIONAL MARKETING DIRECTOR
Jean Flynn Ray’s mother was both the daughter of a farmer and a Colorado State Legislator. Ray’s own educational background is in education. So, her affinity for the mission of NWiAA is apparent. Because Ray grew up in a household where service to others was a mainstay, she has spent most of her adult life serving those who are underprivileged through her employment and volunteerism on various boards and commissions. While working at a food bank in south metro Denver, Ray gained a deeper understanding of the plight of the unemployed and underemployed to provide appropriate, essential nutrition to ensure that their families thrive. This guides her continued public service involvement. Ray is currently the chair of the Pueblo Human Relations Commission, a position appointed by both the City and County of Pueblo, Colorado. This Commission seeks to deepen the understanding of Pueblo’s marginalized groups and lift them up to live safer and healthier lives. Over 40% of Pueblo County’s population is Latinx. Pueblo also has a dramatically higher than average percentage of residents below the poverty line when compared to the rest of Colorado. One in 4 Puebloans live in poverty. Pueblo, Colorado has a longstanding history as an agricultural community.
Ray’s current employment is with the City of Sheridan, Colorado, a small, deprived, Denver metro suburb. Sheridan has a slightly higher poverty rate than Pueblo and somewhat lower number of Latinx residents. Over the last two years, Ray has worked with individuals and neighborhood groups to raise money for two separate food distribution centers in Sheridan. Ray’s vantage of having connections with, and a comprehension of, two needy Colorado communities offers her a unique opportunity to expand the NWIAA mission.