Our Blog RSS

The latest news and occasional commentary about what’s happening at the Foundation and around our great state. 

Rhode Island Foundation Blog


We are proud to be part of the Rhode Island community! Follow our blog for the latest news and occasional commentary about what’s happening at the Foundation and around our great state.

Thomas J. Murray Memorial Fund
By Jean Cohoon / October 29, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
“Everybody loved Tommy. He was very charming, had a lot of friends, and had the most beautiful blue eyes you’ve ever seen,” Kim (Murray) Butler recalls of her brother, who passed away in December 2014 at age 42. “He had a great sense of humor and such a contagious laugh.”

A graduate of Smithfield High School and New England Institute of Technology, Tommy pursued the restaurant business. “He was very successful. He was so good with people,” explains his mother, Josephine, noting that Tommy quickly became general manager of five Papa Gino’s restaurants.

Tommy was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis at age 24. When he could no longer work in the restaurants due to symptoms exacerbated by the heat of the kitchens, he began working at J.F. Moran Company from home. “Ultimately, MS took everything from him, except his character. If anything, it highlighted it, as he showed us all his inner strength and fortitude,” Kim says.

Despite his physical decline over the years, Tom found pleasure in time with family and friends. Favorite pastimes included watching Patriots and Red Sox games with his devoted father, Jack, and even doing some therapeutic horseback riding with the assistance of his brother, John.

In his eulogy, Tommy’s longtime friend Kevin Mulhern shared funny stories, along with a serious message: “What did define you, Tommy, and forever will define you, is your courage, strength, perseverance, spirit, and grace while enduring, for 19 years, the physical and emotional challenges that none of us could possibly imagine.”

“He never complained. He always said, ‘There are so many people worse off than me’, “ Josephine shares, noting that only after Tommy’s passing did they become fully aware of the nonprofits he supported. “He was extremely compassionate and was quietly helping others who were suffering through donations to various organizations for children, veterans, and animals.”

Family and friends are assuring that Tommy’s name forever will be associated with philanthropy. Designated for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter, this fund will provide for direct services to MS patients in Rhode Island.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Featured Post

  • Making science come alive Posted last month
    Thanks to our Carter Spark Grant, Narragansett Elementary School students just learned a lot about life around Narragansett Bay. Special education teacher Karen Festa used the grant to bring Save the Bay’s living “Bay Classroom Experience” to school.
  • Roger Williams' ideals come to life in scholarship recipients Posted last month
    The Rhode Island Foundation is sending seven high school seniors off to college with scholarships honoring Roger Williams, the state’s founding father.The four-year, renewable scholarships are through the Carter Roger Williams Initiative, which was launched last year by philanthropists Letitia and the late John Carter.
  • Carter fellowships inspire innovation Posted 3 months ago
    The recipients will receive $200,000 over four years to test and implement their proposals to dramatically improve life in Rhode Island thanks to the generosity of philanthropists Letitia and the late John Carter.
  • Grants will improve health of RI'ers Posted 3 months ago
    Our RIGHA Foundation Fund awards more than $280,000 in grants to promote primary health care.
  • Introducing moves to fuel growth and expansion Posted 4 months ago
    We are launching a new grantmaking opportunity, refining our strategic priorities, adopting impact targets and adding new staff positions to support work with partners, donors, nonprofits and community leaders.
Read More »


LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

E-News Sign Up