John Murray pays it forward

“…Pay it forward.” John “Johann” Murray shares this piece of advice to all willing to listen, “If you have the means, pay it forward.”

When getting to know John “Johann” Murray, you’re sure to discover his commitment to education and paying it forward. 

“…Pay it forward.” John “Johann” Murray shares this piece of advice to all willing to listen, “If you have the means, pay it forward.”

Johann, an accountant by trade, is a staunch advocate for education. A few years ago, when he decided it was time to giveback to the community that supported him, a college scholarship was the obvious avenue to fulfill his desire to pay it forward.

The importance of education was instilled in him by his parents early in life, and college was highly encouraged to benefit his future. Johann didn’t let his education stop with graduation.

After success in his professional pursuits, Johann thought, “How can I give back?” Of course, education was the answer. 

“Learning is a lifetime adventure,” Johann shared. “The joy of learning is being given the opportunity to pass it along!”

For Johann, that opportunity came in the form of creating a scholarship. He knew that he wanted the fund to assist hardworking young men and women who attended John Glenn High School or an area Catholic school. He wanted the fund to benefit those who are focused on their future education and who needed some help with their finances.

The only thing he didn’t know was who could bring his vision to life. He was researching how to create a scholarship fund when a colleague suggested he contact the Bay Area Community Foundation (BACF) and let them put the pieces together. 

In December of 2011, the John (Johann) J. Murray Educational Scholarship Fund was created through the BACF. Johann wants the students who receive his award to have additional assistance, in hopes they can focus a bit more on their academics and offer some relief on how they are going to pay for school tuition and books.

He sees his younger self in a lot of the students who are working while going to high school and college. While attending school, Johann worked at a local McDonald’s restaurant. He stayed with the company for six years, explaining that it seemed like he flipped over a million of their famous burgers.

While many might assume he was happy to leave fast food in his past, Johann is proud of his time at McDonald’s as it contributed to his professional success. He admires young students who find themselves in similar jobs – “… like babystting, shoveling snow, doing yard work, doing what they need to do to improve themselves. There is honor in all work,” Johann says.

That attitude of constant learning and improvement, as well as his philosophy of the paying it forward whenever possible, are central to Johann’s life. He encourages others to do the same.

On September 26, 2022, John was awarded the 2022 Peggy Rowley Community Enrichment Award. Those who are bestowed this award are shinig examples of generosity within our community.  Enjoy a video of John’s story on our YouTube channel by clicking this link – John’s Story. 


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