John Pray Jr
President & Chief Executive Officer
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Industry: Non Profit
As the son of a decorated U.S. Army Officer who was a POW in Japan in WWII, John I. Pray, Jr. went to the U.S. Air Force Academy at age 17 and then served for more than 27 years, ultimately retiring as a general.
After retirement, Pray served as the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush and then entered the military and veteran charitable space to continue serving the nation’s military.
Since 2015, Pray has led the transformation of Operation Homefront from a collection of local chapters serving holiday meals and delivering school supplies to one of the nation’s largest charities dedicated to serving military families.
He guides the organization with trust. “Trust is the basis of all strong working relationships,” said Pray. “It is the currency we build up with those we are privileged to lead.”
His work as President and CEO includes creating a new mission statement, long-term vision and core belief. Pray has also updated the organization’s core values, developed a sustainable business model, rolled out outcomes-based strategies that provide military and veteran families with the relief, resiliency and recurring support programs they need to overcome their financial hardships and has built a values-driven internal culture that focuses on continuous improvement.
Serving as the CEO and President of Operation Homefront comes naturally after a long and successful career in the Air Force. Pray served in a number of key staff and command positions including the Director of the White House Situation Room, Commander of the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews AFB and serving as a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours.
“John is proud to lead the Operation Homefront family, which consists of 112 staff members, 20 national board members, over 50 regional advisory council members, more than 3,000 volunteers, scores of corporate and foundation donors and tens of thousands of individual donors, all who share a common passion to help our military families in their time of need because of all they have done for all of us in our nation’s time of need,” said his staff.
Under Pray’s leadership, by the end of 2022, the organization will have fulfilled its 50,000th request for assistance, providing over $35 million in assistance to military families and transitional housing villages. This year, Operation Homefront was the only military nonprofit to be included in one of Walmart’s monthly roundup campaigns, raising $815,000 from online customers.
John has many exciting stories from his time in the military and his service with President Bush. His best military story involves his role as mission commander for an airdrop of life-prolonging supplies to a doctor (Jerri Nielsen) wintering over at the South Pole in 1999.