Member of the Community Council and former member of the Wayfinder Board of Directors
Fifteen years ago, friends asked Dave and Grace Wraa if they knew about the foster-to-adopt program to find permanent homes for children in the child welfare system. Admittedly, Dave and Grace didn’t know much about the program, but that would change soon, since they recognized “a huge need to help these kids find permanent families,” Dave says.
The day Dave and Grace were certified as foster parents, a social worker told them, “We want you to meet someone.” That someone was 7-year-old Matthew. The boy became a part of the family, joining older sisters Ashley and Courtney.
“Matthew brought music to our family,” says Dave. Matthew first picked up the keyboard in the group home where he lived for a month before joining the Wraa family. Dave and Grace took notice and decided to enroll him in piano lessons. “He’s a very gifted piano player and musician,” Dave says. “Then the other kids took up music, and so did I. He changed our family and contributed far more to us than we did to him. It’s been an amazing journey.”
In 2017, while helping a nonprofit secure bicycles and gear for children in foster care, Dave learned about Wayfinder and met a senior staff member. She asked if he wanted to join the board and, given his passion to help foster children, it did not take Dave long to make up his mind. “I called her the next day to join,” he says.
Former Wayfinder board member Dave is one of the two senior partners at Bender Rosenthal Inc. (BRI) , a full-service firm providing real estate services for both public and private projects throughout California. He stepped down from the Wayfinder board due to both personal and company demands but maintained his involvement by joining the Wayfinder Community Council, responsible for donor outreach and fundraising efforts.
“The council members reach out to donors,” Dave explains. “We email and call donors to thank them and make sure they understand their impact on the organization, community, and the kids and families we serve.” Dave and Grace are also very involved in the annual Derby Day fundraising event each year.
Today, the kids are all chasing their dreams. Matthew, a drone pilot and photographer, is planning to start his own business as a real estate photographer. Ashley is a preschool director in Northern California, and Courtney works for a large environmental company in Nevada.
Dave, Grace, and BRI share Wayfinder’s passion and have supported the organization over the last several years.
April 28, 2023