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Murray Family Prize for Community Enrichment
By Jean Cohoon / April 28, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...
“We want to recognize people or entities in Rhode Island who are doing things to improve life for the citizens of Rhode Island. The spirit of the award is to recognize, applaud, and celebrate someone who cares about our state,” says Paula McNamara of this fund her parents, Terrence and Suzanne Murray, established at the Foundation.

The prize for “above and beyond achievement” will be awarded to individuals or organizations that have proven themselves to be innovative and resourceful, implemented new ideas, or performed heroic deeds.

“Rhode Island is a unique state that my parents have lived in their entire lives, and that they want to celebrate. We have roots here,” Paula exclaims.

Terry was born and raised in Woonsocket; Suzanne in Providence. They met in Boston when he was a student at Harvard University and she was a student at Radcliffe College. They moved back to Rhode Island after graduating, Paula shares, to marry, get jobs, and start a family.

Terry began a long, successful career in banking in 1962 as a trainee at Industrial National Bank. Twenty years later, he was named CEO of what would become Fleet Financial Group, one of the largest financial institutions in the country, and a position he held until his retirement in 2003. Throughout his career, he served on many corporate boards, as well as nonprofit boards including that of both Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Paula says it seems as though her mother was “on a few hundred nonprofit boards” through the years, with a focus on education. Suzanne served on the boards of her alma maters, Lincoln School and Radcliffe College, as well as Sophia Academy, among others. The Murrays have five grown children and nine grandchildren.

Her parents’ idea behind this fund, Paula explains, is “to identify some positives and to re-capture what’s great about this state and the people who live here.”

The family has long been associated with the Foundation. “We respect the Rhode Island Foundation. It’s a positive force for Rhode Island. It’s also a wonderful resource for people to fulfill their philanthropic wishes without starting their own foundation,” Paula concludes.
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