Meet the Board: Dave Raney, Board President

20th Anniversary, Camp Sparkle, Community, News, Newsroom, Spotlight

January 21, 2021
Fifteen years ago, Dave Raney learned about Gilda’s Club Seattle when he decided to help a dear friend who was starting a golf tournament to support the organization. Since then, he has been actively involved in our mission of facing cancer together.
Early on, Dave had the opportunity to meet several kids from Camp Sparkle. As a father, his favorite programs are those where we serve children, and he has a soft spot for Camp Sparkle. He speaks passionately about our programs for kids, revealing a big heart and caring nature:

“It never gets old, it never gets less powerful to me, than to see kids show up on the first day of camp who have had a very personal experience with cancer – very reserved, very shy, and I think they feel very alone – on Monday.
Fast forward to Friday, and these kids have truly built a little community for themselves. They’re laughing, and joking, and running around. They’re just being kids, and it’s ok to do that because everybody there understands.”

We’ve got kids who have attended Camp Sparkle who are now returning as counselors. Think about that – how powerful this week is. These kids are not only surrounded by those who understand at their level but these cool older kids who they look up to and have been in their shoes – that’s the magic to me.”

Dave brings this excitement and dedication to the board room. His leadership has a warmth and friendliness that board members, leadership, and staff all agree is truly special. Our founder and Executive Director Anna Gottlieb, shares:

“It has been a pleasure working with Dave Raney. He has made it a point to get to know our whole staff. He is always accessible, and his wise counsel and patient advice have helped elevate all that we do. 
Always willing to lend a hand, Dave has taken the time to understand our programs and their impact. He has participated in all our programs; he comes to our summer camp and spends the day with our campers and helps, he has visited our high school program to see what we teach, and he not only comes to every event but invites all his friends and colleagues to join him.”

Our organization, like others, has faced some huge challenges this year. Many nonprofits have not weathered the storm. With excellent leadership and some grit, Cancer Pathways is still here in support of those in need. Dave’s leadership has helped us continue our mission. Anna shares:

“His strategic thinking has helped us not only raise money but bring many people to the table. I have asked Dave to call people, to write letters on our behalf and to engage with our external partners.  He not only says yes to every request, but he does so with much grace and wisdom. 
With Dave at the helm, we feel like we have a true partner and friend. Dave is the true definition of what a Board President can be and do for an organization. He has led the Board and the staff in a manner that has ensured our success. And he has done it with respect and results.”

As the world changes around us, our facilitators are seeing a greater need for emotional support in our community. As the Board President, Dave recognizes the need for our services was great even before the pandemic, and even greater now:

“There are a lot of really smart people and really fine organizations to work on how to prevent, treat, and eradicate cancer; in the meantime, there’s a lot more that comes with a cancer diagnosis than just the immediate plan of action. 
It’s a family diagnosis, and it can be a community diagnosis. I think Cancer Pathways is really unique in that we tend to help support the areas of the diagnosis that, rightly so, might not take the front seat. 
I’ve got a better appreciation for how much demand there is out there for what we do. It’s a little bit overwhelming at times.”

When asked about his favorite Gilda’s Club or Cancer Pathways memory, David shared:

“I happened to overhear two men talking. It seemed like they didn’t really know each other, but they were comparing notes, and they had both recently lost their wives to cancer and were busy raising daughters. At that time, I had a very young daughter, and I just sat and listened to these two guys talk about things that they were kind of expecting or hoping their wives would deal with when it came to the young ladies. 
It’s hard to put in a mission statement, but that’s kind of when I started to get it. Cancer Pathways, then Gilda’s Club, was filling a really big emotional gap for a lot of people who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. 
I’ll always remember that conversation. They were in way over their head with day-to-day issues of pre-teen daughters, and they just hit it off and they were sharing secrets, and venting, and asking for advice. I would bet you they’re still probably pretty close to this day.”

After serving the community for 16 years as Gilda’s Club Seattle and for 4 years as Cancer Pathways, we are now entering our 20th Anniversary year. We will have the pleasure to interview our full board of directors and introduce each of them to you, highlighting the importance of a supportive community. In the coming months, we will honor our friends, our history, and our future, and we hope you will read along.

Thank you, Dave Raney, for your leadership and all for your hard work. You have made a big difference