BY KARA SHOEMAKER | December 21, 2020
The Santa Barbara Foundation is fortunate to work with passionate community leaders like Jennifer Murray, who has supported the Foundation’s work in a variety of ways, including serving on the Board of Trustees. For the last 16 years, this Santa Maria resident has been a remarkable advocate for the Foundation and has worked tirelessly to give back to her community.
“We owe Jennifer a debt of gratitude,” said Janet Mocker, Senior Director of Finance for the Santa Barbara Foundation. “Under her leadership as Chair of our Investment Committee, staff, trustees, and committee members worked together to select and onboard the right investment advisor, to update the investment policy statement, and to add a socially responsible investment option.”
Murray is a Certified Financial Planner, having worked as a principal consultant for Price Waterhouse and a senior auditor for Arthur Andersen before joining Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor in 2002. In addition to her role as Trustee with the Santa Barbara Foundation, she is a founding member of the North County Advisory Committee for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, and enjoys helping deserving students earn college scholarships. She currently serves on the finance committee for St. Joseph High School and has served as a Youth Making Change Volunteer, as well as volunteering at St. Louis de Montfort School and Orcutt Little League.
Murray first became acquainted with the Foundation and philanthropy as a Katherine Harvey Fellow in 2003. As part of the program, she attended SBF committee meetings where she gained exposure to the work of the organization.
“I love how the Santa Barbara Foundation is a county wide community foundation that seeks to enrich the whole community by addressing its most pressing needs,” shared Murray. “The Foundation covers many aspects – health and human services, education, environmental needs, and fine arts – and works as a great collaborator to bring non-profits, government agencies, businesses, and community champions together to create a resilient and vibrant community. That’s why the Foundation was very compelling for me.”
After her fellowship, Murray joined the SBF Santa Maria Affiliate, which served as an advisory committee to help the Foundation better serve North County. She also played an important role in advocating for SBF, promoting the organization’s work in the area when many held the misconception that the Foundation only served Santa Barbara. In 2011, Murray joined the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
“Jennifer has been an amazing champion of the Santa Barbara Foundation. She brought her knowledge of North County to the six years that she served on the Santa Maria Affiliate, and then her immense financial expertise and North County knowledge to her nine years as a Trustee,” said Kathy Simas, Santa Barbara Foundation North County Director.
Murray has served as Chair of the Investment Committee for the last six years, helping manage millions of dollars in philanthropic investments. Her significant experience and knowledge in finance have guided the Foundation’s investment portfolio, ensuring it is relevant and that investment options are conducive for agency endowments and donor advised funds. Over the last three years, Murray has helped develop the Socially Responsible Investment Portfolio at the Foundation, which is growing in popularity as an investment option among philanthropists.
“I think that we are blessed to have very generous donors in our community, and I think a lot of those who are philanthropically inclined also want to be more socially responsible and put their dollars in companies that are doing overall good in the world or in their communities,” said Murray.
Murray will be completing her final term on the board at the end of 2020. The Santa Barbara Foundation is deeply grateful for Murray and her advocacy, expertise, and leadership over the last 16 years.
“I feel very fortunate to have been on the board and have gotten to work with such amazing community members. Among my peers who are on the board, there is such a broad knowledge base and depth of experience and it is so nice to be around people who want to make our community a better place and pay it forward,” shared Murray. “I just consider it a real blessing to have worked with these people the last nine years. I have learned a lot from my peer group, and I treasure all the different opinions and insights and wisdom from others’ experiences.”
“Jennifer has been wonderful to work with, and her presence on the board will be missed,” said Santa Barbara Foundation Board Chair, Pamela Gann. “She has been a tremendous asset to the Foundation, not only through her financial expertise, but through her passion and dedication for helping others. She has truly made a difference in our community. All of us at the Foundation wish her the best on her future endeavors.”