Ray Ruby is the new executive director of the Maine Cancer Foundation. Contributed / Judy Beedle Photography

When Ray Ruby was a police officer in Portland he saw the positive impact nonprofits had on their communities. After seven years on the police force, he joined the nonprofit leadership ranks, first with Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine, then the Ronald McDonald House and on to the Maine Cancer Foundation.

The Portland resident, who had been the community outreach manager at MCF, is now its new executive director. The Falmouth-based organization raises money, notably through big events like Mary’s Walk, Tri for a Cure and Twilight 5K, to support statewide prevention efforts and supports programs that “improve and increase early detection and screening efforts,” according to its website. Lately, it has been raising close to $2.5 million a year, Ruby said.

Ruby emphasized that all funds raised by MCF stay in the state of Maine, which has a higher rate of cancer than the national average.

“The only time the money leaves the state is if a patient has to be flown somewhere,” he said.

MCF’s impact is far-reaching, said Ruby, who as outreach manager has spent an extensive amount of his time visiting communities across the state. In his first year with MCF, he made visits in all 16 counties.

“The rewarding part is it’s just extremely motivating to know that you’re working with communities all over the state,” Ruby said.


He said he has been “blown away” by the stories he hears from those whose lives have been touched by cancer, and how people are channeling that energy to do good in the state.

“We just try to get behind them and give them support, and that’s how things get done in this state. It’s Mainers helping Mainers,” he said.

In his new role, Ruby hopes to promote growth in community fundraisers and deepen MCF’s partnerships around the state.

“It’s amazing how people step up when they feel good about the people that they’re working with,” Ruby said.

Kelly Martin, who served as interim executive director at MCF, said that Ruby will provide the leadership necessary to identify and grow the most effective cancer-fighting programs.

“Ray will bring his natural ability to connect with people and passion for our mission to reduce cancer’s statewide impact,” Martin said.


Ruby was chosen from a competitive field of candidates and the MCF Board of Directors recognized his outstanding leadership qualities, board President Jay Collins said in a press release.

“He truly exudes passion, commitment, advocacy and a sense of inclusiveness,” Collins said.

Outside of work, Ruby is an avid outdoorsman. He and his wife take their two daughters to state parks all over the state he said.  While he has a particular love for the Allagash, Ruby said he really can’t pick one favorite place to be outside in Maine.

“I always say it’s like ice cream,” Ruby said. “It depends on what I’m in the mood for. The Bold Coast, Cobscook, the Allagash … those are places that are usually on my calendar.”

While he is not originally from Maine, Ruby’s connection to the state runs deep. His grandparents were from Maine and though they eventually moved to Connecticut, Ruby found his way back to attend Saint Joseph’s College in Standish and stayed.

“Maine means so much to all of us, and it’s so beautiful,” Ruby said.


The Maine Cancer Foundation helps to ensure that “you don’t have to sacrifice the best available care based on where you reside,” he said.

Working with the people of MCF is an honor, Ruby said.

“It’s the staff, it’s the board, it’s the supporters – it’s them. I’m just lucky that I get to work here each day, and we all try to make the state better.”





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