Ruth Graves served as president of Reading Is Fundamental from 1976 to 1997, overseeing a period of tremendous growth during which RIF grew tenfold, from serving 313,000 children with 1.1 million new, free books to serving 3.7 million children with 11 million books. Graves also shepherded RIF's programmatic expansion as it launched new programs such as Family of Readers, designed to get parents to read with their children; Project Open Book, which created reading corners for children in shelters and crisis facilities; and Running Start, a two-week reading challenge to help first grade students get excited about reading. Under Graves' guidance, RIF partnered with many corporations and foundations to advance the cause of children's literacy, such as Kiwanis International to make RIF part of its Young Children: Priority One initiative; the National Basketball Association to create a series of television public service announcement featuring NBA players; and Visa USA to launch Read Me a Story, a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of reading to children.
When Graves retired, RIF had an A+ rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy-a status it still maintains-and was ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as one of the nations "20 most credible charities."
She currently lives in Annandale, Va.