Ross' involvement with the Foundation began in 1989 with him regularly giving to the Annual Fund. In 2002, Ross, a boating enthusiast, became a board member and served as chairman of the Pacific Area Awards Dinner in 2003.
As CEO and chairman of Smart & Final, Ross championed the company's corporate philanthropy by directing gifts to the Coast Guard Foundation, through its annual golf tournament, corporate contributions, dinner sponsorships, and point of sale programs; and through their generosity, sponsored the Coast Guard Band in the Rose Bowl Parade one year.
Coast Guard Foundation President Anne Brengle with Chairman Ross Roeder.
More recently, Ross has worked to support the Foundation through his affiliation with Chico's FAS, which has generously supported the Foundation through dinner sponsorships and directed giving.
In 2005, Ross became Chairman of the Board of the Coast Guard Foundation. In this role, Ross has overseen and directed many new initiatives, and strengthened the Foundation's partnerships and programs for the benefit of the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.
In honor of his years of service, the Foundation announced an endowment fund in his name to benefit morale projects for Coast Guard bases in Northern Michigan at the Tribute to the 7th Coast Guard District awards dinner on October 24.
The Foundation strengthened its support for education under Ross' tenure, as we expanded scholarships for children of enlisted members and spouses so that all members of Coast Guard families have access to support for education opportunities.
The Evergreen Fund was rebranded to the Coast Guard Foundation Shipmate Fund, the method of allocation was revised and the Foundation established new efficiencies in the grants process. Support for the Coast Guard Academy resulted in a new, hi-tech computer lab, a new track and field complex and a partnership to build eight new state-of-the-art sailboats for the Coastal Sail Training Program.
In times of great need, the Coast Guard Foundation is there for the Coast Guard — this concept has grown in Ross' time as chairman, through the establishment of three major giving programs: the Disaster Relief Fund, the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund and the Family Disaster Relief Fund.
During Ross' tenure the Foundation, through formal agreements with the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, the Coast Guard Museum Association and the Coast Guard Auxiliary, has made great strides in formalizing partnerships with other organizations that serve the Coast Guard.
In 2007, Ross and the Executive Committee began a process to re-align the board of trustees to be a more efficient, fundraising-focused group who support the mission of the Foundation, serving as goodwill ambassadors for the Coast Guard across the country. Ross also led the Foundation through highly technical compliance issues for board governance, and established best practices for overall operational and organizational structure.
Throughout his tenure on the board and as board Chairman, Ross has led by example. His personal generosity, through support of the annual fund, specific funds and projects, as well as events, has improved the Foundation's ability to provide for Coast Guard men and women.