Following a career as the youngest automobile dealership sole owner in a major metro area in the U.S. at 33, Will Graves went to work for Philip Crosby Associates to run the automotive practice worldwide, counting Chrysler, General Motors, and Lamborghini as clients. During this time he also served on the Capital Campaign Committee at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.
In September, 1994, Will Graves coined the term, “National Community Activist.” The October 7, 2008 issue of Chief Executive magazine documented the first published use of the term “National Community Activist” in a piece written by Will Graves.
Inspired by the groundbreaking preservation efforts of his late cousin, Barbara Drew Hoffstot, whose work in Pittsburgh was the model for The Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (which created The National Register of Historic Places) Graves founded four non-governmental organizations (NGOs)–Friends of Florida’s Coasts, Friends of Winter Park, Friends of Windermere and Friends of Cypress Gardens. Former National Trust for Historic Preservation president Dick Moe commended Graves for the work achieved by his three NGOs which benefited from three National Trust “threatened” listings. Friends of Florida’s Coasts was formed to stop three-mile coastal oil drilling in Florida state waters and the inevitable industrial coastlines that follow. Along the way Jean-Michel Cousteau donated a public service announcement to help the historic preservation cause and Jane Goodall’s co-author, Thane Maynard, interviewed Will Graves on NPR. National Geographic Traveler magazine listed Winter Park 38th worldwide among historic destinations thanks to the efforts of Graves and Nat Reed, former National Geographic Trustee and Chairman Emeritus of 1000 Friends of Florida. Such efforts have fostered Will’s fight against over-development, displacement, and gentrification in West Winter Park, Florida.
A 40-year Rollins volunteer, Will Graves was inducted into the Rollins Circle of Algernon Sydney Sullivan Scholars, a national humanitarian honor. As a Graduate Marketing Instructor, undergraduate Business Ethics Instructor, National Community Activist, former Chapter Advisory Board Chairman and former president of the Rollins College Florida Beta Chapter, Will Graves has had articles in The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive, Town and Country, Automotive News, Social Register Observer, Palm Beach Society, The Orlando Sentinel, The Palm Beach Daily News, The Naples Daily News, The Tampa Tribune, The Winter Park-Maitland Observer, The Florida Sun, The Orlando Times and The Orlando Business Journal.
Will has two sons, Reid and Will. Reid is a University of Pennsylvania urology resident and Will is a University of Freiburg professor and medical researcher. Will’s grandchildren, Chiara, Rafael, and Theodor are bilingual in German and English.