March 9, 2023

By: Jamin Sartor McVeigh

Vice President of Development

Throughout Women’s History Month, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) is proud to share the unique stories, perspectives, and contributions of the women across our community. From our mothers and women caregivers, to staff and Board Members, to donors and volunteers, we are fortunate to be surrounded by a remarkable network of strong female supporters who inspire us everyday. 

We are proud to include Hillary Ford Murphy as one of the incredible women who is eager to support the work of BGCSF in new and impactful ways. Hillary is a longtime nonprofit champion and an enthusiastic supporter of BGCSF. As a leader of her family foundation, The Mirnahill Foundation, Hillary currently supports the work of BGCSF as well as many other youth-serving organizations.

Hillary Ford Murphy

The Mirnahill Foundation aims to share values of family, inclusion, and trust and has a mission to empower, educate, and inspire youth through sports. Hillary explains: “My family members and I are all former athletes and many of us were also coaches. We credit our sports experiences as a significant part in shaping who we are today.  We envision a world where every child has access to a safe space with positive adult role models that promotes a healthy lifestyle and teaches important life skills such as resilience, leadership, confidence, teamwork and community engagement.”

With BGCSF’s dedicated Sports, Fitness, and Play program as well as multiple recreational and competitive sports leagues, supporting our organization was a natural fit for Hillary and her foundation. Hillary explains, “Of course a membership at BGCSF offers much more beyond sports programming, but the quality and accessibility of the sports programs is a big reason we initially chose the partnership. Another is how embedded in the community BGCSF is – the depth of the impact the Club has upon San Francisco families really distinguishes the organization.”

BGCSF members celebrating their Junior Giants win!

Hillary expands, “I was really impressed with how BGCSF adapts to meet the needs of San Francisco youth. The pivot to become the city’s largest provider of learning Hubs during the COVID-19 shut down was nothing short of incredible, and they continue to meet students and families where they are, including an increased focus on mental health coming out of the pandemic.”

Additionally, BGCSF’s emphasis on mentorship and providing youth with positive adult relationships resonated deeply with Hillary and her experience as an athlete: “Mentors and coaches, especially those trained in youth development, can help children realize what they’re capable of and open up a world of opportunity.”

The Mirnahill Foundation was founded by Kevin and Celeste Ford and named in honor of their three children: Miranda, Nathan, and Hillary.

One of the most innovative and impactful ways Hillary and The Mirnahill Foundation approach their work is through their commitment to trust-based philanthropy. Hillary explains, “We give unrestricted funding because we believe it takes a healthy and sustainable organization to run impactful programs, and we trust our partners to use the money where it is needed.” 

The Mirnahill Foundation’s unrestricted funding is backed by meticulous research and due diligence. Hillary shares, “Once we’ve identified an organization we’re interested in partnering with, we try to do most of the legwork on our end and complete the bulk of our research.  At that point we reach out to the organization for an informal conversation to ask questions, fill in the blanks, and get to know them on a more personal level. Through our years of experience, we’ve seen that nonprofits tend to be strapped for time and resources. We aim to alleviate the burden. We’ve designed our process intentionally — aiming to keep it simple, straightforward, and relationship-based.” 

One of the factors behind this approach is rooted in a deep appreciation the Mirnahill Foundation has for the perspective and expertise of nonprofits on the ground working with the community. Hillary is quick to identify, “We want to partner with the people who are interacting with members of the community each day; they are on the front-lines and in direct service and truly understand the needs of our youth and families.”

When asked if there was anything she would like to share with other foundations and philanthropic organizations, Hillary responds thoughtfully, “every foundation is different and I wouldn’t suggest that our exact approach is right for everyone. However, I’d encourage other foundations and philanthropists to think about what they can do to support  grantees, and free up their time and resources so they can focus on the real work and do what’s best for the community” 

BGCSF is proud to recognize our women leaders and their powerful contributions to the strength and vibrancy of our communities.  Stay tuned for more reflections from youth, staff, and other women contributors throughout Women’s History Month.

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