Making A Difference

Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund Aims to Uplift Tomorrow's Leaders With Education Access

Thanks to a generous donation from Wintrust,  The Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund’s message is being seen by thousands of commuters every day

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"Uplifting Tomorrow’s Leaders" is the theme of the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund’s mural, which can be seen while driving on the Kennedy Expressway. 

The mural, evocative of the fund's mission to help lift up the leaders of tomorrow with increased access to educational opportunities, was created by artist Karen Spears.

“This was my first large scale art piece,” she explains. 

Spears received a scholarship from the program in 2009, which enabled her to attend Mother McAuley High School.

“I actually discovered my love of art in high school. It was being around a supportive group of young women at Mother McAuley that allowed me to cultivate and really hone my skills as an artist," she says.

DMSF commissioned Spears to design the mural, which tells the story of how the non-profit helps young people achieve their dreams.

Cindy Hallums, DMSF’s executive director, has known Spears since she was 13 years old.

“Watching Karen grow,  it’s actually what we hope all of our scholars become: successful, independent, living out their own dreams," she said.

In 1989, Jim and Bob Murphy started the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund in honor of their father. They supported four scholars that year.

This year they are supporting 500 scholars with tuition assistance and other programs and services, like their Caddy Program, which Jessica Ayala participated in. 

She is also a 2009 Daniel Murphy Alum who attended Loyola Academy in Wilmette.  

“I worked really hard in the summer Caddy Program and the fruits of that labor awarded me a full time free tuition and housing scholarship to Marquette University,” she says.

She now works at DMSF as their marketing and communications manager, and helped manage the mural project.

Wintrust Bank was one of the driving forces behind the mural, as they serve as one of the fund's biggest corporate benefactors.

"Wintrust is so generous with their resources. We are so thankful for the opportunity," Hallums says.

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