About Me - Perri Graham-Raff

Up to Now

I was born in Tampa, Florida in March, 1958.  My father was an architect and had moved our family to Florida because of the housing boom that was happening there.  Florida was a great place to be a child in the early '60's.  Most of central Florida was still mostly empty of people, with cattle ranches and orange groves.  Disneyworld had just been announced but not yet built and Florida was not yet the great retirement capital of the world.   When I was 8, my family moved back to Indiana to be closer to grandparents.  Imagine my delight when I witnessed my first snowfall.  My teacher allowed me to stay at the window to watch this wonder although the rest of the class had to continue with their work.

I spent the next several years in Indiana, living in Indianapolis and then moving to a small, rural town to go to college.  In college I studied music, focusing on voice, and had dreams of performing in opera or with a professional choir.  As a child, I remember being terribly disappointed when my dad explained to me that I would not be allowed to sing with the Morman Tabernacle Choir because we were not Morman! Eventually though, I was influenced by the times to become a Peace Studies major and spent most of my time working in the Nuclear Freeze movement and protesting the U.S. involvement in Central America.  After graduating from college I moved back to Indianapolis where I met my wife.  Together, we became very involved in the GLBTQ movment in Indianapolis.  In 1987, Diane and I were married under the care of a Quaker meeting in a 150 year-old meetinghouse in rural Indiana.

In the late 1980's, my wife and I began to think about starting a family and made the decision to move away from Indiana because of the extreme political conservatism.  I took a lateral transfer with the organization I was working for at the time and we moved to Minnesota in the fall of 1990.  Our son Cameron was born in 1993 and the next several years were focused on parenting and my career.  I worked for an international relief and development agency for more than 30 years, doing fundraising and education related to hunger and issues of poverty in both in the U.S. and overseas.  Because of my work, I had the opportunity to travel to many developing countries in South and Central America; and Southeast Asia. Those trips were the highlight of my career-life. 

 

2008 brought the recession and a steep downward trend in funding for non-profits in general and those organizations that worked outside of the U.S. were hit worst of all.  With the threat of layoffs looming I decided accepted a position as an Executive Director of a small foundation and spent five years strengthening their organizational structure, financial well-being and overall vision.

Which Brings us to Now... 

I have spent the last few years marking the time until I can retire and have the freedom to travel. I dream of being a nomad and traveling the globe, although because of covid I may have to settle for traveling the U.S.  I am currently working for Best Buy, which I appreciate in large part for the ability to leave my job at the door every night. I am studying Web Design in hopes of having a way to support myself in retirement that is flexible and will allow me to work from anywhere.  Recently I have been challenged by the diagnosis of breast cancer. I am fortunate  that it was discovered very early -- I didn't even know that there was such a thing as "Stage 0" cancer.  The diagnosis has given me pause and made me even more determined to retire as soon as I'm able to afford it. Here's what I hope for the future:

 

Where I Want to Go!

What I Want to Focus On

  1. My health
  2. Planning for retirement
  3. My art - quilting and fiber art, painting (This is one of my favorite websites: Craftsy.com)