Our Board


Richard McGrath- “Chairman”;  Founder

*Background in Psychology, Ranch Management, Equestrian Programs, Adjudicated Youth, Adventure Leadership*

Richard has a passion for and experience working with people on a ranch setting. His college education in the fields of psychology and ranch management prepared him for the last 10 years of hands on experience in various equestrian and youth camp programs. He has worked hard at ground level, then had the opportunity both to develop and manage equine programs. Richard facilitated and saw many positive changes during his work as para educator and behavior specialist at a school for adjudicated youth. He has extensive experience in a wide variety of adventure sports and loves to take emotionally distraught individuals on memorable adventures to rekindle their ability to trust, enjoy life, and recognize God’s influence in their life. During 2010-11, Richard rode his horse on the “Ride Across America” to fundraise and build awareness for Hearts Up Ranch.

Kelsey Hester- “Vice Chairman”

*Background in Horseback Riding Instruction, Military and Leadership, Public Administration*

Kelsey grew up on a cattle ranch in Texas, and loves to share her passion for horses and the ranching way of life with others.  She spent several summers during college working at guest ranches and riding stables.  Kelsey commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army after graduation from college and spent five years overseas, to include serving a tour in Iraq.  Kelsey transitioned from active duty in 2009 in order to continue her education, and is currently finishing up a Masters Degree in Public Administration.  She has many years of experience in leading and managing people to accomplish the mission, and has managed budgets as well as studied the public aspect of managing nonprofit organizations.  Kelsey and her husband Benjamin are in the Army Reserves, and deployed to Afghanistan for a year in the spring of 2011.  Kelsey stays as active in assisting Hearts Up Ranch as possible while she is out of the country.


Jeannette McGrath- “Secretary”;  Founder

*Background in Ranch Operations and Management, Horse Training and Riding Lessons, Therapeutic Riding, Equine Programs*

Jeannette is an avid horse enthusiast who loves to share this passion with others. Her college degree in ranch management and natural horsemanship training has proved valuable in her 15 years of equine program experience. Jeannette first witnessed the therapeutic value of the horse/human relationship when she spent a few years helping at a therapeutic riding facility. She worked many seasons at guest ranches then spent several successful years owning a horseback lessons and training business where she continued to expand her ability to facilitate healthy interaction between horses and humans. She witnessed the personal and spiritual growth of her clients on many occasions. Her extensive customer service experience in the ranching as well as the corporate world, has made her adept at providing both quality service and empathetically relating to others. During 2010-11, Jeannette rode her horse on the “Ride Across America” to benefit Hearts Up Ranch.

Jay Allen- “Treasurer”

*Background in Biology, Fly-Fishing, Developing Business, Guiding Services, Hospitality, and sharing Jesus*

Jay Allen is the father of 3 children, married to his best friend, enthusiastic about Jesus, leading Bible studies, and being active in church, and is an avid outdoor and adventure enthusiast. Passionate about creation since an early age, he studied biology at Liberty University.  This same passion led him into the fly-fishing field, where he became highly accomplished and sought after as a guide.  Jay directed and improved the fly fishing program at a guest ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming, building many repeat guests. He also spent time as a snowmobile guide, mechanic, and float trip guide at the ranch. He is now co-owner of Allen Brother’s Flies which was developed to provide high quality flies while opening economic opportunities for the underprivileged.  Jay continues to work in the fishing industry with a focus on incorporating hospitality, excellence in service, and building relationships.

Ed Kennedy- “Board Member”

*Background in Pastoral Ministry, Non-Profit Boards and Ministry work, Motivational Speaking, Camp Directorship, and Adventure Leadership*

Ed has been the Senior Pastor at “Mother Lode Church” in Coloma, CA for the past 12 years.  He has served on advisory boards and board of directors of Bible Camps, Outdoor Recreation Ministries,and “Sierra Law Enforcement Chaplaincy” of El Dorado County. Since 1989 he has served as an Area Missionary, Camp Director and Area Advisor with “American Missionary Fellowship”, Villanova, PA.  Ed has also served as project coordinator for over 10 years with “Points of Impact Ministries” to the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona.  He has enjoyed coaching high school sports at “Golden Sierra High School” for the past 18 years.  He has been a wilderness expedition leader, as the Director of “Forward Bible Camp”, throughout the Sierra Nevada’s, and is a general outdoor enthusiast. Ed has had the privilege of being a High School and College age; men’s; and marriage conference speaker nationally and church leadership conference speaker with Indigenous Ministries International.  He has been married to Kelly since 1985.  They have two adult children, daughter Danielle, and son, Joshua; and one grandson, Brodie.