Utica J. Gray, PhD

Of Counsel

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

Maya Angelou

In addition to her consulting work, Utica serves as national director for Fresh Start Caring for Kids Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide no-cost reconstructive surgeries to disadvantaged children who have deformities as a result of birth defects, accidents, injuries, abuse, or disease. She has 20 years of nonprofit development experience and 15 years of consulting experience in the areas of developmental disabilities, adoption, homelessness, education, senior services, and healthcare. She is well versed in nonprofit mergers, leadership, and management.

An experienced leader with expertise in human services, education, and health care, she serves as Of Counsel for Creative Fundraising Advisors’ work with Walker|West Music Academy.

“I have a passion for nonprofits that have a rich and long history in their community, like Walker|West,” Utica says. “There is community trust that speaks to the integrity of the organization. I’m also impressed with Creative Fundraising Advisors’ commitment to building the capacity to best serve its clients and with the leadership’s desire to model equity.”

“Creative Fundraising Advisors’ values of collaboration, transparency, integrity, creativity, and change parallel the virtues that have guided my career. I am particularly impressed by the breadth of comprehensive services the company provides to its clients and the ability of leadership to pivot and adapt to meet their ever-evolving needs. I am proud and honored to be a member of a team that is striving to be the model of equity for which its clients strive to attain.”

Utica is a graduate of Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Master of Science in Human Services Administration from Spertus College, and a PhD in Business Administration with a Public Administration concentration from Northcentral University. She lives with her husband, 15-year-old daughter, and 12-year-old son in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, where she is a Girl Scout Troop leader focusing her group on projects ranging from cyberbullying to the dangers of sex trafficking. She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., the same sorority to which Vice President Kamala Harris belongs.