When Bob Murphy was ten years old, his mother, Ola Mae Murphy, took him to the Veterans’ Hospital in Long Beach, California. The sight of wounded soldiers, some without legs or arms, and some with horrific disfigurements, shocked the little boy. And then he heard the words of his mother:

“Don’t ever feel sorry for yourself—and always
help others less fortunate than you.”

This was the seed that would someday grow up to be the Murphy Family Foundation.

Ola Murphy raised her children, Bob, his two brothers, Donnie and Warren, and his sister Donna, with the values of volunteerism. Through her words and example, she instilled in them the absolute principle that care for others less fortunate was their responsibility as human beings. Her work in Junior League, the American Dental Association Auxiliary and other community organizations like the Long Beach Assistance League, were lessons they never forgot.

Help those who suffer. Use your blessings to bless.


Bob got his first hand taste of philanthropy in college when he and his fraternity brother, Skip Keesal, got the idea one holiday season to sell Christmas trees. With the help of their Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers, they ran a tree lot for 2 years and raised thousands of dollars for the Crippled Children’s Foundation.

He remembers having the thought then that someday he wanted to do more. The seed had taken root.

When Ola spent her final days under excellent care at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Bob expressed his appreciation through charitable support of the Donor Advisory Fund. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Memorial Care Foundation. There he learned what it took to run a sound foundation, the importance of financial management and program development, under the mentorship of Jim Normandin, current president of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation.

On business, Bob often travelled throughout China, India, and Mexico. There he saw and was moved by the tragedy of poverty and illness, and lack of opportunity for children. His desire grew: What could he do to improve the quality of life for children?

And the stalk emerged out of the root toward the sun.

In the early 1990’s, while talking with his mentor, Jim Normandin, the idea of a Foundation became clear and the decision was made: Bob set aside his stock options at Rockwell.This was the million dollars that funded the dream! In 1997, he began in earnest to lay the groundwork. He researched and planned. He envisioned the family’s future generations learning the values of giving and volunteerism so that the desire to help others became part of the fabric of their lives.

The Murphy Family Foundation was created in 1999, and included extended family and friends. One of their initial projects was to create the annual Murphy Distinguished Volunteer Award to honor volunteers of Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s Hospitals who demonstrate the highest level of compassion and service to patients in need of support.

The Foundation’s first grant was given in 2001 to The National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD). The grant purchased special skiing equipment and sponsored children who are blind or without legs to participate in winter sports. Subsequent grants were given to the Miller’s Children Hospital, Sunshine Kids Foundation, Kristie’s Foundation, Pediatric Therapy Network, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and many more.

The Murphy Family Foundation has been granting organizations to improve the quality of life for children since 1999. View a list of grantee organizations.