Honoring Jim Oram at Kids at Heart

on 15 March 2016
A Brighter Future: The Jim Oram Story

One day in 1946, the Orams were greeted by a funny-looking boy with big ears. They immediately knew their daughter Kathy, also adopted, would have a brother. That funny looking-boy was Jim Oram, Turning Points for Children board member. Jim has served as a volunteer for 38 years. He most recently guided the agency through a time of tremendous growth. 

When a child comes to Turning Points, the goal is to provide a brighter future. A future with the right balance of stability, consistency and opportunity. What happens when a child receives all three of those factors from loving parents?  They could become a dedicated United States veteran or have a successful business career. Maybe receive an excellent education or become a committed community leader.  Jim Oram achieved all of those things. He’s a man raised on generosity since his adoption in 1946.

The Orams were familiar with the Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania (CASPA, a legacy organization of Turning Points). They had adopted Kathy just two years earlier. After the Oram kids settled in to their new home, Kay built upon her generosity. Looking to help her community, Kay volunteered for CASPA in the 1950’s. Her passion for helping children led her to become President of the Board of Directors for CASPA in 1963. She served on the board until retiring in 1966.

Jim grew into adulthood with all the support in the world. He attended the Haverford School and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Jim was quarterback of the football team and excelled in the school’s ROTC program. He became the ROTC Brigade Commander and commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant upon graduation in 1967.

Jim’s first duty station was at Ft. Meade, MD in the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment. As the Vietnam conflict was heating up, he decided to take action. Jim traveled to the Pentagon and volunteered to serve on his terms. He asked to be assigned in the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, led by George Patton Jr. But duty and opportunity called elsewhere. Jim was assigned to the legendary “Screaming Eagles” 101st Airborne Division. There he served as a Ranger and Company Commander. As a decorated combat veteran, he became the youngest officer to achieve the rank of Captain in the history of the 101st.

In 1970, Jim was out of the Army and adjusting to civilian life. His sister, Kathy, had a neighbor in Philadelphia who offered him a job with IBM. Jim wasn’t sure IBM or even Philadelphia would be the right match. He ended up taking that entry-level job and never looked back. He began as a trainee, working his way to salesman. Jim saw promotions through staff and management assignments. Before long, he was offered a position in a new startup at IBM and in 1984, he joined the new IBM Credit Corporation as their 11th employee. This division would go on to become the largest IT finance company in the world. Jim would make his career as the executive who ran the entire Eastern Operations of the United States.

After three decades of working for IBM, Jim retired in 2001. But his business career wasn’t over yet. Jim launched Forge Business Solutions in 2004. He saw a successful run with the business and became well known in the community. His esteem led the local Republican Party to back him for office in 2008. Jim still holds the Easttown Township Supervisor seat to this day.

While Jim has worked hard on his resume, family remains the most important part of his life.  Jim and his wife Wendy have two sons who are married and successful in their own right. They live close by and his four grandchildren take up a large part of his life. Jim was with his children from the start. He’s coached little league, ran to and from after school events, and adored fatherhood.

On top of juggling many roles, Jim became a CASPA Board Member in 1978 and Board President in 1986. CASPA merged with Philadelphia Society for Services to Children (PSSC) in 2008 to form Turning Points for Children. Jim came over to the Turning Points Board with the merger. Since then, he has enhanced our mission and guided our exponential growth. Then in 2011, he completed a journey that began many years ago. Like his mother before him, Jim was again elected President of our Board of Directors.

 Jim has served on the board of CASPA and Turning Points a combined run of 38 years. He’ll always be an integral part of our family. Still today, Jim's contributions will continue to make a difference in the world. He is currently on the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) Board of Directors. Jim also remains active in Veterans Affairs. He’s on the board of his local veterans’ organization. Away from home, Jim's working on a multi-generational leadership program in Zimbabwe. The goal is to position the country’s youth to provide ethical government.

 Jim’s held many titles throughout his life: CEO, President, Board Member, Supervisor, Mentor, Coach, Community Leader, proud Vietnam Veteran, dedicated husband and father, and of course, difference maker. Jim Oram possesses a special kind of generosity, a generosity that can only grow with the perfect amount of stability, consistency, and opportunity. Imagine if we could provide brighter futures for all of Philadelphia’s children!