John W. Murphy, longtime President & CEO, announces retirement plans

October 23, 2008

By hammersmith

Flinn Foundation news release

John W. MurphyAfter 28 years at the helm of the Flinn Foundation, John W. Murphy has announced his intention to retire as President & CEO, effective June 1, 2009. The announcement was included in the Foundation’s just-released annual report. Established in 1965, the Flinn Foundation is among Arizona’s oldest philanthropic foundations.

Murphy joined the Flinn Foundation in 1981 as its Executive Director and first-ever staff member. He steered the Foundation to pursue innovative grant projects in health care, biosciences, education, and the arts, and oversaw the Foundation’s growth in assets from less than $2 million in 1981 to $215 million in 2007.

“John took over a small and undeveloped foundation and built it into one of national reputation that has impacted Arizona in many ways,” said David J. Gullen, M.D., chair of the Foundation’s board of directors. “His leadership, diverse talents, and commitment will be challenging to match. He’s laid an outstanding framework and opportunity for the Foundation’s future.”

During his tenure, the Foundation has helped to build a competitive bioscience sector in Arizona, launched one of the most prized undergraduate scholarship awards in the nation (the Flinn Scholars Program), and strengthened the management and financial infrastructure of the state’s major arts institutions. Foundation efforts helped to shape bedrock institutions in Arizona such as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Critical Path Institute (C-Path), and others.

The annual report features Murphy’s essay on the status of Arizona’s bioscience sector. The narrative explores emerging strengths in molecular and genetic diagnosis, where Arizona possesses the talent, resources, research infrastructure, and business environment to become a world leader. This marks another step in the new era of personalized medicine, with diagnosis and treatment tailored to meet an individual’s specific needs based on that person’s genetic and molecular composition.

The Foundation’s board of the directors has begun a national search for Murphy’s replacement. He will continue to lead the Foundation until a successor is in place. He also is a member of the boards of TGen and C-Path, as well as two gubernatorial-appointed commissions.

Prior to joining the Flinn Foundation, Murphy served as an executive at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J., the nation’s largest health care foundation. He has chaired Grantmakers in Health, served as president of the Conference of Southwest Foundations, and received GIH’s prestigious Terrance Keenan Award for his leadership on community health issues. He has presented papers at numerous national and regional philanthropic meetings and written several articles on philanthropy.

The Flinn Foundation was established by Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn in 1965 with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona. The nonprofit philanthropy supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, the Flinn Scholars Program for undergraduate studies at an Arizona public university, and arts and culture via the Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture.