"At Stokes Foundation, we are replicating a highly-scalable, tried and true residential model in order to build a national network of Urban Boarding School Programs via strategic partnership with existing parochial, charter, and public schools."

-Ray Walker, Executive DIrector/CEO, Stokes Foundation

Mission and Methodology

Stokes Foundation delivers the life-transforming experience of residential education directly to students in need. We build Urban Boarding School Programs in partnership with existing schools in the United States.

Watch the video above to hear Tech Exec Oshane Davis talk about the "Change of Mentality" he experienced spending four years living within the program model designed by Stokes Foundation's Founder and Executive Director/CEO, Ray Walker

Organizational Leadership
With over 65 years of combined experience in residential, secondary, and higher education, our Senior Leadership Team is committed to bringing equity to the Education Sector, specifically in the interests of students who's most basic human hierarchical needs are not being properly and fully addressed by their educational settings and/or home environments.

Ray Walker
Executive Director/CEO
[email protected]

With over 25 years of service to students and school communities, Ray notably served as founding Director of Residential Life at New York City’s first Urban Boarding School for young men in Brooklyn, NY.

Ray is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and proud alumnus of Prep for Prep, Deerfield Academy, and Georgetown University, and participated in cohort-based learning via PASE/American Express’ Executive Leadership Series. Ray began his career in Residential Services in 1997 at Fountain House in midtown Manhattan, working as a Supportive Housing Counselor and Transitional Employment Manager for mentally ill adults and teens. In 2000, Ray moved to Massachusetts where he served as a Clinical Counselor, Residential Supervisor, and ultimately Residential Program Director of a 16-bed Crisis Stabilization Facility at YOU, Inc.’s Cottage Hill Academy. Upon returning to the tri-state area, Ray managed 34 afterschool programs for BuildOn before being recruited to design and implement all aspects of a comprehensive Urban Boarding School Program as Director of Residential Life at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, New York..

In terms of Board and Volunteer Service, Ray is a former Board Member at Martin De Porres Schools and Schomburg Charter School and served terms on the Alumni Executive Committees of both Deerfield Academy and Prep for Prep. Ray participated in and fully authored the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools’ accreditation of the Ocean Tides Residential School in Narragansett, Rhode Island. He currently leverages his background in Philanthropy in furtherance of Social Good, Equity and Access in the Film Industry through service on the Advisory Committee for the Santa Clarita International Film Festival (SCIFF).

Ray Walker as featured in Prep for Prep's Annual Report

Ray launched Stokes Foundation in 2011 and served as the organization’s founding Executive Director prior to taking a step back from the role to grow as a Development Officer, spending 6+ years reinforcing his Fundraising and Development toolbox by working in the top-flight Advancement Offices at Deerfield Academy, as Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, and Cardinal Hayes High School as the school’s Director of Alumni Engagement and Development.

Ray lives and works full-time from his home office in Marlboro, New York with his wonderful partner and Stokes Foundation Trustee, Ms. Cindy M. Perez and their inquisitive toddler son, the youngest of Ray’s three remarkable children, the elder two of whom grew up in an Urban Boarding School setting themselves as faculty kids living in the Director’s Residence within the dormitory at Bishop Loughlin.

William S. Howe III, PhD
Associate Executive Director
[email protected]

After over 40 years of service in secondary schools and universities, Dr. William “Bill” Howe joined Stokes Foundation as the organization’s first Associate Executive Director. Through an extensive career in higher education, Dr. Howe has demonstrated a commitment to diverse and under-represented populations and to residential education across his career, as well as a passion for empowering all people and helping to develop diverse leaders. Dr. Howe graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1967 when it was led by the subject of the book The Headmaster by John McPhee, Mr. Frank L. Boyden, whose open and available style informed Bill’s own leadership practices, teaching, and curriculum development within the field of Leadership Studies.

Bill holds five university degrees, including a master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctoral degree from Stanford University. He has worked collaboratively with colleagues to create innovative leadership programs, centers, and schools, and to ensure that those educational resources are available to help students of all backgrounds form meaningful, inter-connected, service-oriented lives as “whole people” who are prepared to contribute to their communities and to the welfare of society at large.

As one of the founding faculty at the nation’s first school of Leadership Studies, the Jepson School at the University of Richmond, Bill supervised and taught in the “Service Learning” program, developed leadership development programs with local secondary schools, and helped students cultivate leadership skills via travel to Mexico, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Bill also helped to develop leadership programs at the University of San Diego, National University, the University of California at San Diego, Thomas Edison State University, Claremont Lincoln University and Bethune-Cookman University, a HBCU located in Daytona Beach, Florida. Much of the groundwork for this service in universities was framed by Bill’s early experience as a teacher, administrator, coach, and dorm resident in secondary boarding schools – contexts that promote the holistic well-being of all enrolled students.

Stokes Foundation’s student-focused mission is firmly aligned with Bill’s experience and passions – “whole person” residential education and the welfare of diverse students, especially those who lack the resources to enroll at places like Deerfield Academy. “We have the opportunity to put Deerfield’s residential model in play as a change agent impacting schools and communities and the education system in our country as a whole. This is uniquely transformative for our applicants and their families, who were previously unable to benefit from those invested resources due to adverse conditions at home or in their community.”

History and Perspective

There was a time circa 1991 to 1995, when the first educational institutions labeled as “Alternative Schools” would pave the way for what would later come to be commonly known as Charter Schools. As these early schools launched, most people including seasoned educators could not effectively articulate what defined a Charter School or exactly what purpose an alternative school would serve in the Education Sector in the United States.

KIPP Schools and other Charter School Networks grew in scope, scale, and impact, and attained a level of perceived brand recognition which ensured that today, most people understand that Charter Schools exist as a widely-accepted alternative to Public, Parochial, and Private School education options.

Since 2002, SEED Foundation and other organizations (including some programs dating back to the 1970’s) have residential models that could be defined as whole-campus Urban Boarding Schools or Urban Boarding School Programs tethered to an existing school. SEED builds entire campuses in each region in which they endeavor, often interfacing with new school districts as well as local, city, and state municipalities. Despite the efficacy of residential education as a value-add for students, current perceptions are that residential education is cost-prohibitive and many people offer a perplexed stare when they hear the term Urban Boarding School mentioned as a viable residential offering for students in need. Historically, there also have been remedial or negative connotations associated with Boarding Schools for BiPOC individuals which would simply not apply to Stokes Foundation's residential model.

From 2004-2009, Stokes Foundation’s inaugural Executive Director and CEO, Ray Walker was hired to design and implement that model in New York City’s first Urban Boarding School Program for young men at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, New York. At the heart of the program was a highly effective Recruitment and Admissions Methodology and Adolescent Behavior Modification System which were combined with residential frameworks present at highly selective independent boarding schools across the United States. To be specific, Stokes Foundation’s Urban Boarding School Model is based on the non-remedial and highly successful residential model of Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, a school which was established in 1797 and which still bears the vestiges of its iconic Head of School from 1902-1968, Mr. Frank L. Boyden. Mr. Boyden is the subject of the highly-regarded novel The Headmaster by Deerfield alumnus and author, John McPhee.

As KIPP Schools and KIPP Foundation were to Charter Schools in our nation, we believe that Stokes Foundation will ultimately be known as the organizational brand most-synonymous with both Urban Boarding Schools and Residential Education options in the United States.

Organizational Objectives

1.) Identify and target underserved communities with significant educational disparities, using national data points to guide decision-making.

2.) Develop strategic partnerships with existing charter, parochial, and public schools to establish Urban Boarding School Programs.

3.) Secure funding from private, corporate, and governmental sources to support the expansion and sustainability of our programs.

4.) Provide comprehensive support services, including academic, extracurricular, and personal development opportunities, to ensure student success.

5.) Track and assess program outcomes to continuously refine and improve the Urban Boarding School model.

Organizational Strategies

Data-Driven Approach: Utilize national data points on educational disparities to identify communities with the highest need for Urban Boarding School Programs.

Collaboration: Foster strong relationships with local school districts, government agencies, community organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure a collaborative and coordinated effort.

Program Development: Design a comprehensive, culturally responsive, and evidence-based curriculum that addresses the unique needs of urban students.

Support Services and Continuity of Care: Offer additional resources such as tutoring, mentorship, mental health support, college and career guidance to holistically address student needs.

Faculty and Staff Development: Recruit and retain highly qualified and diverse residential staff, leaders, and educators, providing ongoing professional development opportunities to support their growth. Continue to leverage and re-define the Stokes Foundation Residential Model and Materials.

Funding and Sustainability: Stokes Foundation will seek funding from diverse sources, including private donors, corporate sponsors, and government grants. A diversified funding approach will enable the foundation to achieve long-term financial sustainability and expand its programs to reach more students in need. Our default donor base is comprised of over 20,000 constituents with over 5,000 high net worth individuals that we have targeted (based on analytics from iWave’s Development Research Platforms) as having a balance of capacity, an active rate of giving, and potential inclination toward interest in our work based on each constituent’s actual giving history across charities.

Monitoring and Evaluation: We have a robust proprietary monitoring and evaluation framework to track student and program performance, assess student outcomes, and ensure measurable longitudinal student gains. Key performance indicators will include student academic achievement, graduation rates, college enrollment and completion rates, student behavior, attendance and accountability, and the overall impact of our program on the greater school community.

Stokes Foundation's Urban Boarding School Programs present an innovative approach to address educational disparities in underserved communities. By strategically partnering with existing educational institutions, the foundation aims to catalyze existing investments in secondary education and empower adolescents with the tools they need to succeed in the future.


A 501(c)(3) Public Charity

EIN 27-3152725