State of Inspiration

For the Murray Family Charitable Foundation, home is where you give. 

Terry and Suzanne Murray

“We want the state where we live to be the best it can be,” says Paula McNamara, president of the Murray Family Charitable Foundation. “There is so much here.”

She isn’t only speaking about the quintessential natural beauty––the ocean beaches, lighthouse-dotted vistas and picturesque coastal towns so often highlighted as the state’s greatest assets. Like her parents, Terrence and Suzanne, and four siblings, McNamara finds greatest inspiration in the people, organizations, and educational institutions working together in the community. For this reason, in 1993 Terrence and Suzanne established the Murray Family Charitable Foundation to become a champion for meaningful causes close to home. 

The George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience is among those causes. In fall 2017, a $200,000 gift helped further the research of Ryan Institute Executive Director Paula Grammas in investigating the vascular causes of Alzheimer’s, specifically the potential link between the disease and diabetes. “We have great respect for [founders] Tom and Cathy Ryan and for Paula’s work and research track record,” says McNamara. “We felt that this was an opportunity to be part of a potential solution that not only benefits Rhode Island, but so many people whose lives are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.”

The gift is an impactful one. “We’re grateful to have the support of the Murray Family Charitable Foundation,” says Paula Grammas. “Gifts like theirs make our research possible and are critical in helping us solve the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases.”

“One day, we’ll see a cure for Alzheimer’s. Isn’t it amazing to think about Rhode Island having a hand in that?”

In addition to this latest gift, the Murray Family Charitable Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the University of Rhode Island and higher ed institutions state-wide. “There is great work going on at these universities, and these schools are worthy of support,” says McNamara. “It’s important to help them stay competitive.”

And to help Rhode Island stay competitive, too. “We need to pay attention to what can make this state successful,” McNamara says. She cites the collaborative research between the Ryan Institute and partners such as Brown University and Lifespan as one of the benefits of the state’s uniquely interconnected community, one that gives Rhode Island an advantage in bringing researchers and clinicians together to fight Alzheimer’s disease. 

More cause for taking pride in where you live.”One day, we’ll see a cure for Alzheimer’s,” she says. “Isn’t it amazing to think about Rhode Island having a hand in that?”