District Governor 2016-2017
Rotary Club of Irvine
Ray Sanford joined the Rotary Club of Irvine in 2003, immediately focusing his efforts on International Service projects. He created a joint project with the Rotary Club of Ensenada Calafia, BC, Mexico, to provide free dental care for children in Ensenada elementary schools. The clinics are held twice each year year with a different school selected for each clinic and continue to this day.
As International Service chair, he authored five International Matching Grants from The Rotary Foundation for a variety of projects; dental equipment for Mexico, cataract surgeries in India, StoveTeam fuel-efficient stoves for Guatemala and prosthetic limbs in Bolivia. During his tenure as International Service Chair, Irvine Rotary participated in 12 other international grants started by other Rotary clubs.
While President of Irvine Rotary in 2006-2007, Ray was instrumental in the creation of “Snowball Express” (sponsored by the Costa Mesa, Newport-Irvine and Irvine Rotary clubs), a district-wide project to provide travel, hotel accommodations and entertainment for 900+ family members of servicemen and women killed in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ray has been a member of the Paul Harris Society each year since joining Rotary and is now a Major Donor to The Rotary Foundation. He was twice awarded Irvine Rotary’s “Rotarian of the Year” award and was his club’s 2009 “Rotarian Business Person of the Year” awardee. He was honored in 2013 with the “Dr. Michael Abdalla Humanitarian Leadership Award” for his contributions to International Service.
He has held a variety of positions within his club: International Service chair multiple times, Secretary, Foundation and President. In District 5320 he has served as Assistant Governor, and as a member of the District Advisory Committee, Council on Legislation Committee, and Governor Nominating Committee. He is now serving as District Public Image Director and on the District Conference Committee.
Ray is the founder of a graphic production and website service company that specializes in creating online businesses for small and medium-sized companies.
His management background is varied. He’s a former Marine officer and Vietnam veteran. He spent more than 20 years in the hospitality business, rising from entry-level jobs to become President/CEO of a regional hospitality business managing and developing hotels and restaurants. He left the hospitality field to pursue real estate development and sales, eventually becoming Sr. V.P. of Merrill Lynch Realty’s auction division. He helped put together a team that marketed non-performing residential projects for lenders and developers during the S&L financial crisis.
He has been on the Board of Directors of the Irvine Sister Cities Foundation and the California Restaurant Association and currently serves as a Trustee of the November 10th Association and the Sanford Foundation.
Personal interests are flying, sailing and photography. His passion lies in developing new and unique ways to bring the concept of service to others into the world of business.
Ray makes his home in Irvine.