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Posted 5/22/2007

Final numbers are in — Ray Cross Challenge brings in over $700,000

Water quality research received a huge boost from the industry, in answer to a challenge made one year ago by the late Water Specialist Emeritus, Ray E. Cross.

Cross wanted to leave a legacy that would benefit all of mankind through water research. He decided to challenge other water treatment industry members to donate money to the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF). It was announced at WQA Aquatech USA 2006, the industry’s premier educational conference and trade show, that Cross would match every dollar donated, for the period of one year, up to $300,000.

It was an incredible offer, and the largest financial commitment ever made to WQRF — but would the water quality industry answer the call with donations? The answer was a resounding yes! To date, $427,570 has been contributed as part of the Ray Cross Challenge, with donations made by 377 donors. With Ray’s matching funds, that’s a total of $727,570 for water quality research.

Water Quality Association (WQA) Immediate-Past President Neil J. Desmond, CWS-IV, reported on the Challenge’s progress at the Opening General Session of WQA Aquatech USA 2007 in March. "You truly answered the call. Contributions, both small and large, came from water industry professionals from all areas of water treatment. One year later, we have met the challenge. Your donations have raised [over $400,000] for water quality research — and donations are still coming in," he said. The announcement was met with enthusiastic applause, along with special recognition for Ray’s son, Harry L. Cross, who was in attendance at the event. Harry was honored with WQA’s Honorary Member Award, for all of his and his family’s efforts on behalf of water quality research.

“That brings the lifetime total of funds donated to WQRF to $1,021,976. And that’s something of which we should all be very proud,” Desmond continued.

Duane "Doc" Nowlin, PhD is a member of the WQRF Board of Directors and the one who made the initial Challenge announcement during the 2006 convention. Nowlin reflected on the Challenge’s success, and shared his thoughts with WQA on the man behind it.

"I first met Ray Cross at a WQA meeting many years ago. Although we worked for competitive companies, we grew to become close friends over the years because of our mutual interest in water.

"He was a true gentleman, and he ran his business the same way he lived his life — with honesty and integrity. He was always quick to offer his time and monetary support to WQA research projects, especially if the research related to water and health issues," he said.

On what the money will mean for research, Nowlin said, "Ray Cross' generosity will benefit WQRF in many ways:

  • The endowment fund should provide a steady stream of income for research projects
  • WQA won’t have to turn to the membership for money each time research is needed.
  • The grant will allow WQRF to initiate some long-range research projects.
  • The funds will provide for more efficient budgeting, planning, and controlling of projects.

"Ray’s legacy grant to the Water Quality Research Foundation is a wonderful gesture. The industry response from dealers, manufacturers, and suppliers has been overwhelming — not only meeting the Challenge Grant, but exceeding the goal by more than 25 percent. This is a sincere tribute to one of our industry’s great pioneers,” Nowlin added.

After learning in March that the Challenge goal was met, and then some, Harry L. Cross reflected on what it would have meant to his father.

"Dad’s long-held dream of creating a legacy to benefit mankind within the realm of water conditioning has been fulfilled, thanks to the generosity of all those who partnered with him to increase the endowment fund of the Water Quality Re


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