Rebecca Murray, MPNL

Rebecca Murray, MPNL

“I wanted to do it,” said Rebecca Murray about a one-time course in community philanthropy being offered in 2020.

After 20 years working in the field of fundraising, she thought it would be a good opportunity to “dust off the cobwebs” and give it a try.

It had been 35 years since I took an academic course and this was a game changer,” said Murray, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University in Houston. “I was exposed to new thinkers with big ideas that were different from my notion of community philanthropy. It helped me look at things more critically because when you’re working, you’re just doing. You don’t step back and think about how you’re doing it.”

Taking that one-time course gave Murray the confidence to apply to the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL) program at Carleton University.

Murray’s connection to MPNL began in 2013, when she supported the team as a senior development officer and raised the financial backing needed to establish Canada’s first degree in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership.

“I was working full-time, volunteering and raising four kids so I had to re-calibrate my brain and get the engine going,” she says with a laugh. “But it’s different from when I was an undergraduate, because at that time, I had no choice. This time, I wanted to do it. The biggest challenge was to stay focused because everything I read interested me.”

The rigorous online program includes intensive in-person summer institutes on the Carleton campus.

“I loved it. My classmates ranged in age and experience — some were probably 30 years younger than me — and they were incredibly thoughtful. I was really interested in the perspective coming from the young students because they’re the ones who are launching.”

Looking forward, Murray wants to help people uncover their philanthropic passions and guide them in their charitable activities where their purpose of giving is to make meaningful change.

“Giving money away is not an easy task,” she says, “and an interest in philanthropy does not equate with an understanding of how to give.” This echoes Aristotle, she says, who wrote, “To give away money is an easy matter and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give it and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter.”

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 in ,
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