Executive Director’s Message
Durand exists so that people with special needs can lead fuller, more independent lives. With comprehensive programming, Durand serves several hundred children and adults with learning disabilities and their families in Southern New Jersey every year. While our programs appear diverse, they are linked by shared values. Durand believes that individual with developmental disabilities, autism and other learning disabilities can live successfully in the community with proper supports. And that all our consumers – young, old and in-between – can be helped to maximize their potential.
This core belief motivates everyone at Durand. Our experienced, trained staff, the board members who guide our agency, and our volunteers all believe in our clients. Because of this, Durand is a place of great optimism.
Durand opened in 1972 as a school for children with autism and we are still educators. The Durand school is our largest program and a major innovator in teaching young people with learning disabilities.
Since Durand was established, we have added new community-based programming. Durand now runs seven group homes and three adult day training programs. We offer a variety of supports to family members and we act as advocates. Our doors are open to all but services are targeted to those in Gloucester, Salem, Burlington, Camden and Cumberland Counties.
A key factor in Durand’s success is a willingness to meet new needs. We expect to grow. New Jersey has the highest incidence of autism of any state. And as American society ages, the population of those with learning disabilities will increase. At Durand, we are dedicated to meeting current and future needs.
Remember that Durand’s programs are free. Funding comes from the State of New Jersey and from concerned people like you. So, if you have a loved one with a learning disability, please call for the details on how we can help.
Executive Director’s Biography
Raymond Cristofoletti, CEO of Durand, has the overall responsibility for the strategic programming, management and financial operations of a dynamic, nonprofit dedicated to advancing quality services that enrich lives and build future supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ray is the steward of Durand’s committment to values of community inclusion and self direction with a strong sustainable environment of community based quality services and supports. He communicates the vision and program objectives to internal and external program constituents and collaborates with a dynamic board in formulating policies, developing strategic plans, raising funds and achieving outstanding performance.
The exceptional leadership on the Board judiciously allocates and oversees resources in conjunction with staff to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization and larger community.
Since Ray joined Durand in early 2000, he has personalized the organization, attracted and developed a high-level executive team, expanded programs and services, and expanded the agency with new vocational day programs, group homes, a Thrift Shop and increased grant and foundation support.
He brings over 25 years of executive leadership experience developing and managing nonprofit organizations, Ray served for nearly a decade as the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization based in Kearny, NJ, that helps individuals born visually impaired or living with development disabilities to live more independently in the community.
An undergraduate of Fairfield University in CT, Ray holds a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. and is completing a second Master’s Degree in Management from New York University. Ray’s continuing education includes attending Harvard University Programs on Leadership for Senior Executives and Programs on Negotiation.
His career began working at a New York City anti-poverty agency providing services to people with developmental disabilities in which Ray served in various capacities ranging from rehabilitation counseling and supervision of vocational programs, to evaluation of professional services, and school Principal for the exceptional child. He served as Clinical Director of the largest New Jersey mental health program, providing residential community based programs. Ray also worked at the Lighthouse International, formerly known as the New York Association for the Blind where he served as the Regional Director of the Lighthouse in Queens and Suffolk County, NY. His work in the field of special needs has led to Ray being named legal guardian for an individual with developmental disabilities in New York City.
Ray was a member of the National Center of Vision and Aging and recognized by non-profits in Northern NJ as “Man of the Year.” He has made national presentations to non-profits and served as Board member of the Food Bank of South Jersey, a nonprofit agency fighting hunger, where he provided his expertise as a member of the Governance Committee.