John Ray III

Board Chairman
Junior Achievement of South Florida

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You had a networking event at Prime Cigar & Wine Bar in Boca as part of Boca Chamber Festival Days. You’re doing bowl-a-thons at Strikes @ Boca among other locales. Does this mean Junior Achievement is trying to raise its profile in Palm Beach County?

Ryan Leeds [managing partner of Prime] was key to helping us attract new people to JA and bring in donors. We want to spread the message in a positive way. Last year, JA served 48,000 students in Broward and south Palm Beach County public and private schools.

What are your other Boca Raton connections?

We were very excited to have the Saint Andrew’s School involved in our JA Fellows program for ninth- to 12th-graders. We also reached out to the Boca Chamber of Commerce.

Melissa Aiello, JA president/ CEO: Fellows can qualify to go to local and national competitions and the program runs through March. There’s a JA World Huizenga Center at Broward College. We’re doing a ‘Shark Tank’- type program there in December. We have a $4.3 million budget.

You’re in charge of a 70-member board for a two year term. Why are there so many board members?

It works for us, but now we want to build a social aspect to promote a sense of belonging. You get involved, not just to be altruistic, but for networking. Then comes, ‘ I want to be on this board’ cachet. If board members know each other, they’re more effective.

Do you ask board members to contribute?

Every board member is required to give a minimum of $5,000, get involved in an event and give a personal gift as an individual.

Your web site says: Our purpose is to inspire and prepare students to succeed in a global economy. How can people get more involved?

By going to or calling 954-979-7100.

What else do you want people to know about you?

I’ve been married to Kelly for 22 years. We I live in Boca Raton. We have three daughters: Elizabeth, 21; Emily, 18 and Julia 16. I’m president and CEO of Sonitrol of Fort Lauderdale Verified Electronic Security. I’m on the board of governors of the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship of Nova Southeastern University. I’m a tenor in the St. Jude Catholic Church choir.

-Marci Shatzman