Heidi Clayton
Barbara Gutjahr
The Giving Tree Group


Heidi Clayton, Co-Founder and President of The Giving Tree Group, is a 25-year veteran of the Atlantic City Police Department. It was during her police career that Heidi became involved with the AC Rescue Mission’s Family Life Center - after a fellow officer noticed that the children of the mission were going without at Christmas. Armed with donations, Officer Clayton and a handful of Atlantic City’s finest aimed to right that wrong and so a tradition was born within the ACPD and tiny smiles have lit up the Mission every yule time since.

Now retired, Heidi still feels that sense of duty to her community and wants to take the giving a step further…creating the non-profit Giving Tree Group to support children and their families throughout the year.

When not working to improve the lives of homeless children, Heidi runs Four on the Floor Dog School where she trains dogs with the same amount of passion and compassion. And, in the little spare time she has left, Heidi breeds and shows her beloved Bull Terriers 

Barbara Gutjahr, Co-Founder and Secretary of The Giving Tree Group, an all-volunteer charity, brings over 25 years of experience in public relations – 15 years as the current owner of Boom Broadcast and Media Relations, where she has worked with charities such as Girl Scouts, Stand Up to Cancer, March of Dimes and Make-a-Wish Foundation. Barbara credits her mother with instilling in her a desire to give back to the community and previously volunteered for 6 years as a Big Sister with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Atlantic and Cape May Counties. And, most recently, as a volunteer at Seashore Gardens Living Center with her little terrier, Spike.

Dianne Kelly
The Giving Tree Group


Dianne Kelly, Treasurer of The Giving Tree Group, is a business professional with experience in the areas of accounting and payroll operations and management.  A native of New York, Dianne relocated to New Jersey with Lucent technologies, where she worked for 30 years in the sales, marketing and finance departments.  After her initial retirement, she continued to work for local businesses managing accounting and payroll operations.

Dianne currently resides in South Jersey with her best friend Louie, a very rambunctious and bossy Shih Tzu.  She continues to work as a part-time consultant and holds a volunteer position as the monthly newsletter coordinator for her local HOA.


Advisory Board

Toni Graef, Director of Family Life Center at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission

Kay Petrecca, Community & Rescue Mission Relations Representative at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission