About Jimmy Graves Foundation


Our History

On December 4, 2016, Vero Beach native James Franklin Graves, II – known to those who loved him as “Jimmy ” passed away in a tragic boating accident at the age of fifteen. In a show of love and support, the community rallied around the Graves family, friends and those who were touched by Jimmy’s light poured into the sanctuary of the church during his memorial, extending out onto the sidewalk and down the block.

Family and faith were the driving force in Jimmy’s life and he lead those around him with a quiet confidence and kindness,  evidenced by the hundreds of letters and cards written by students, teachers, and coaches following his passing. The Graves family wishes to continue that legacy of reflecting light, creating the Jimmy Graves Foundation to leave a lasting imprint upon Vero Beach and Indian River County.

In 2017, the County Commissioners voted unanimously to sell a 11.6 acres of fields property adjacent to the Vero Beach High School football stadium to the Jimmy Graves Foundation. The fields have been well-loved by the children and athletes of our area for many years, holding a sentimental value that Jimmy’s family understood only too well. As a parent who had watched his children play on the very same fields,  Joseph H. Graves, father of Jimmy and President of the Foundation, made a commitment to Indian River County that the land would continue to be used for the benefit of young people and their families. Over the past year, the Foundation has put a strong, supportive board in place and work was started to transform the site into the beginnings of what will ultimately become a complex utilized by many segments of the community and surrounding area.

In 2018, the Foundation’s direction became clear. As a reflection of Jimmy Graves, the Foundation selected programming to forward the mission of the organization: to engage and empower youth leadership.


To engage and empower youth leadership.


A community where all youth are inspired to discover leadership principles that inspire them to become productive caring members of society.




Kelly Sartain

Executive Director

Kelly Sartain’s passion is to lead well and to inspire, equip and encourage others to do the same.

A graduate of Clemson University with a degree in Psychology and a concentration in Education, Kelly also obtained her Master’s in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University and added certification in Child and Adolescent Practice.

Having served in corporate America for nearly a decade, Kelly has a heart for sharing the love of Jesus Christ – and co-founded The Buggy Bunch in 2009, leading the organization as the first Executive Director and serving on the Board of Trustees. She has also served as a member of Impact 100, Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and lent her service to a number of non-profits.

Kelly and her husband, Mark, have three beautiful children Elizabeth Ann (9), William (6) and Emily (2). Known for her love of a fabulous cup of coffee, great books, learning the game of tennis, and traveling. Kelly and Mark also own Sartain and Associates, a local Landscape Architecture boutique design firm.

Dale Dawkins

LEAD Program Director

Dale Dawkins biography to come.

Jessica Augenstein

Donor Communication Specialist

Jessica Augenstein is married to her husband Ben of just over one year. She is from Michigan and has lived in Vero Beach for four years. Jessica is a tennis professional at the Windsor Club and is about to begin her fifth year of teaching. Both her and her husband are members at Grace Baptist church serving in the choir and leading their teen ministry. She also volunteers at the Carenet Pregnancy Center. During the year, Jessica loves to travel with her husband visiting family, relaxing at home, getting together with family in town and loves being an aunt to her 5 nieces and nephews.

Joseph Leo George, PhD

Business Administration Specialist

Now retired, Leo George, who earned his Master’s and Doctor’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, served over twenty-five years in church ministry spanning three states. He not only has retired from the ministry, he retired from the Federal Government, as well as with the Sears Holding Company. George attributes his work ethic, leadership and management acumen to the days of his youth on the farm, along with the education and opportunities provided him by the corporate world.

Aside from a varied work background, Leo George is also a published author and presently serves as a volunteer staff with the Jimmy Graves Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in memory of his fifteen-year old grandson. Jimmy was tragically killed in a boating accident in 2016. Leo wants to spend the rest of his productive years providing what is needed for the Foundation to achieve its mission in this community, around the state and beyond. George was born the eldest of five children and grew up on a cotton farm in the Delta of northeast Arkansas. Soon after graduating from high school, he married Linda Foster George. He has two children, one lives and works as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His daughter, Carole George Graves is married to Joe Graves. Jimmy was the youngest of their three children born to them. They now also have two adopted daughters. Leo and his wife, Linda, just had their first great-grandchild, born to one of their Arkansas granddaughters.