Category Archives: She Gives

She Gives: Myrna Raffkind

In the fourth edition of She Gives we felt like we must address one of the “She Gives” pioneers in our community!  Myrna Raffkind’s legacy of community service will remain in our community forever.

The passion that Myrna Raffkind held for helping others was illustrated in many ways during her lifetime.  As an advocate for organizations such as Coalition for the Homeless, Martha’s Home, Los Barrios de Amarillo, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, and Family Support Services, Myrna educated the public about those in need and what could be done to alleviate those needs.  She wrote numerous letters to the newspaper editor as a call to action for others to step up and make a difference.

At first glance, Myrna might not look the part of a super crusader.  Small in stature, she was feisty and fun, beloved by scores of family and friends.  Myrna enlisted the help of anyone who would listen as she worked tirelessly to help individuals and families who found themselves homeless due to addiction, mental illness, and domestic violence.  She was humble and compassionate, treating everyone as her equal.

In recent years, as head of the Amarillo Community Relations Committee, Myrna brought together leaders from across the community to discuss issues facing Amarillo.  Her goal was a community that worked together for the benefit of all residents.

Myrna was connected with many funds held at the Amarillo Area Foundation including the Benjamin Gimp Raffkind Memorial Scholarship Fund, established for her son who passed away in 1998.  Myrna was a firm believer in the value of education, seeing it as key for success in life.

Celebrated as the Amarillo Globe-News Woman of the Year in 2010, Myrna also received the Dr. R. W. Jones Freedom Fund Achievement Award in 2011 from the Amarillo NAACP.  Other honors include the Amarillo Women’s Network Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Association of Social Workers’ Public Citizen of the Year.

While Myrna was known for her ability to bring people together for a worthy cause, it is perhaps her ability to connect with others one-on-one that will be most remembered.  She would often send a personal note or make a call to let someone know she was thinking of them.  It is these personal connections to others that truly made Myrna special.

Myrna’s passing on January 30, 2017 caused many to pause and remember the many acts of kindness that she carried out daily.  Myrna exemplified the Mahatma Gandhi quote “be the change you wish to see in the world” and leaves behind a challenge for others to do the same.

She Gives: Lindsey Murphy

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Hello to all the She Giver’s out there. (We are talking to you too, men).

“She Givers” are both male and female readers interested in supporting the driven women in their lives who are dedicated to making a difference. We know there are lots of you out there because the readership for this new column continues to flourish with every edition. We are so pleased you are finding the topics and stories covered meaningful and even more pleased to share our interview with Lindsey Murphy with you in this third edition of the column.

Murphy, the Vice President of Marketing for Education Credit Union, was a top 20 under 40 honoree for 2015. In other words, she will may make you feel inadequate about all things you are not doing that you could be doing. So, for those of you who need a fire lit under you to complete those yearend goals, make sure to click “continue reading” below. For those of you interested in reading about a woman committed to living a life of deep fulfillment, purpose, and service, click “continue reading,” too. Murphy is such a delight and absolute treat to have as a guest this quarter.

Olivia Trabysh: You serve on five boards? Could you list them and explain how or why you chose to get involved with each of them?

Lindsey Murphy: It’s actually six now (laughs). I am on the board of (1) Martha’s Home; (2) Coffee Memorial Blood Center; (3) American Advertising Federation – Amarillo; (4) Canyon Chamber of Commerce; (5) Panhandle PBS; and (6) Arden Road PTA.

Growing up, my Mom’s heart was for blood donation. I was always in the waiting room at Coffee Memorial while she donated. I grew up watching her give. The second I turned 18 that’s what I did. My Dad had a passion for United Way. When he was involved with campaigns or fundraisers for them he would explain to me why he was involved and why we had to help. When I got a “big girl job” I immediately started donating to the United Way because that’s simply what I thought adults did. But the older I got the more aware I became about the many ways to be involved and give back.

My junior year in college I met Melissa Chapman-Smith, the then Executive Director of Martha’s Home. She helped shift my philanthropic mindset to include giving more than just monetarily. She opened my eyes to what it means to donate your time and understanding what donating your time affords. Donating money is important and always appreciated, but donating time is invaluable. (Laughs)… so when my daughter was two weeks old (emphasis on the two weeks old), I joined the Martha’s Home Board of Directors, because I have such a passion for homeless women and children.

The strategic planning and steering of a nonprofit organization does so much good. When my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and after learning what I did on the Board at Martha’s Home, I couldn’t only donate blood in my Mom’s name anymore. I applied to be on the Board of Coffee Memorial in her honor.

Murphy going over the edge for Coffee Memorial Blood Center.

Murphy going over the edge for Coffee Memorial Blood Center.

2015 was supposed to be the year of “no,” but it quickly became the year of “yes.” I joined each of the other boards I currently serve on, and they all deal with many different causes I am passionate about. I am constantly learning so much. But six is my limit.  Pro-tip: If you don’t know your limit, your family will tell you (laughs).

Trabysh: Serving on six nonprofit boards obviously takes up a significant amount of time. Why do you feel it is important to serve the community in addition to your job? And how does your employer assist you in being able to provide outreach to so many parts of the community?

Murphy: There’s just so much more out there to do other than your job. I grew up in the Sleepy Hollow area but applied to be a part of the magnet program at Sam Houston in middle school. I witnessed obvious class division and many differences from what I was accustomed to seeing on my side of town. I learned to love people as people. I just have a servant’s heart.

The Credit Union is incredibly supportive of the benevolent aspect of my personality. They are flexible and allow me to attend board meetings and events during the work day. They also monetarily support nonprofits organizations I am on the board of. The Credit Union supports all of the boards and causes our management team is involved with. They truly believe in the work each member of the management team does for our community and support our efforts.

In 2013-2014 I was given the opportunity to go through Leadership Amarillo and Canyon with my son. The Credit Union sponsored my training and sponsored my son’s, too. They normally sponsor training for a few employees and students in the community. It was really cool not only to receive the training, but to bond that way with my son doing something so profound and then be able to credit the experience to my employer.

Trabysh: That is such a cool thing for your employer to do and I think that is especially important for our younger working women or women contemplating a career change to hear. It is possible to work for an employer that is supportive of your passions and your family. So, time for some lightening round questions. Who are the people that support you the most?

Murphy: My husband! He is the kindest, most patient, loving man on the planet. He helps me find that even level of balance. I would not be able to do what I do if he wasn’t willing to help run our daughter to soccer practice and cheerleading. He also doesn’t mind throwing on a suit and tie to be “my arm candy” for the night to support causes and people I care about. He is always there to support me.

The precious Murphey family.

Murphy family

I really strive for volunteerism to be a way of life for our family. We make volunteer events a family affair. It’s also a way to get friends involved. I am able to spend quality time with people I love and also dedicate that time towards a great purpose. I guess I pass on that spirit of volunteerism to them like my parents did to me without even really meaning to.

Trabysh: Who are the people that inspire you the most?

Murphy: Melissa Chapman-Smith.  My parents – they are the foundation for all of this. Sallye Barnes. She will do anything. She’s the go-to-friend for hot glue parties and last minute dates.

The sheer amount of work that needs to be done inspires me.

Murphy with go-to pal, Sallye Barnes at Martha's Home Second Chance Prom.

Murphy with go-to pal, Sallye Barnes at Martha’s Home Second Chance Prom.

 

Murphy hosting Panhandle PBS Pledge Night.

Murphy hosting Panhandle PBS Pledge Night.

Trabysh: What matters the most to you?

Murphy: When I can go home and go to bed every night.  I can sleep soundly if I know I did a good job at work, I fulfilled the mission of whatever nonprofit organizations I served that day, and I spent quality time with my family. It’s a sense of accomplishment and love for my community and the people in it.

Trabysh: What are the causes that you think are in most-dire need of attention in our community?

Murphy: Homelessness is so urgent and so present; we can’t look the other way anymore. We must work together to fix it – it is not going away on its own.

I want to teach people to not to be so absorbed in their day to day lives.  A tiny little prick can save lives – so go donate blood! There are too many people who bury their heads in the sand and think our community’s struggles will magically take care of themselves. People must be willing to make things happen. If not me, than who?

She Gives: Berklye Bonifield

She_gives_graphicIn this edition of She Gives we are featuring Berklye Bonifield’s inspiring philanthropic story. You will be moved by her wisdom and strength.

Thank you for sharing your story, Berklye.

I give back. It’s something I always wanted to do and was brought up to do. The question as a relatively young adult is now just a matter of where to create the most impact since the decision is completely my own.

Growing up in church, I saw my parents faithfully tithe and I grew up learning the importance of giving back. My parents would give me an allowance for doing chores as a little girl and I had the opportunity to tithe a little portion of it. As I grew older our church youth group would actually go out into the community and serve. Seeing the need firsthand as a young girl left a lasting impression on me. Needless to say, giving has been engrained in me since I was a young and was and will always be a top priority for me.

There are so many options to donate to but I knew in my heart I needed to give to something that focused on children. I have always had a passion for helping children. I am drawn to children because they are innocent and cannot help what situation they are born into. People willing to give not only money but time can change the circumstances for children. After all, they are our future and we need to help provide the best possible support for them to help grow and shape the community. Continue reading