Colin Willer and Kerry Murphy are hip young urbanites with a different viewpoint on living and giving. They live in Cincinnati’s edgy Over-The-Rhine neighborhood in a 117-year-old house. They share one car and ride bikes or the bus to get around. They shop at the farmer’s
market a few streets over. They’re in their 30s. They’re well-employed. They’re both Xavier grads. And they regularly give to charity, beginning with a monthly check to Xavier.
The young couple is part of a new generation of philanthropists who believe that giving is something you do as a matter of course. But they didn’t feel they needed to wait until they’re old or retired or have amassed a certain amount of wealth. The time to start giving, they said, is now.
“As we prepared to get married, we talked about our finances and the things we valued, and one of them was giving,” Murphy says.
Willer and Murphy have given to Xavier ever since they graduated, but they upped their commitment when they married in 2009, a reflection of the value they place on their Xavier experience. Willer graduated with a business degree in 1998, and Murphy with a sociology degree in 2002, but they didn’t meet until 2007 at a tavern after a Xavier basketball game in Washington, D.C. A year later, she was offered her current job as regional director for development in the Division of University Relations, and the next year, she and Willer were married in Chicago.
As soon as the wedding gifts were put away, they set up the Murphy Willer Endowed Scholarship and have contributed $5,000 to the fund each year. Once it reaches $25,000 in 2013—the minimum for an endowed scholarship—the University will award 4.5 percent each year for a student scholarship. The monthly commitment is a little more than $400, which Murphy says is like a car payment.
Willer says the reward is knowing they are helping other students have the same Xavier experience as they did. “I was fortunate to have the ability to go here because my parents provided the financial opportunity for me. Now I want to provide that opportunity to other students.”
Murphy says while regular gifts to the Annual Fund are just as valuable, having their own endowed scholarship guarantees their commitment will be long-term. “While it’s only one student in the beginning, it will become a more substantial fund providing more tuition for more students over the years,” she says. “Colin and I have a long-term goal to grow this scholarship to affect many more people over our lifetimes.”