When Brian Murdock ’99 and his wife Laura considered making a gift to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Carolina Center for Public Service was a natural choice. Murdock, who was recently appointed to the UNC Board of Visitors, has been connected to the Center since his first gift in 2005 and served on its outreach and development board beginning in 2008.
“Service has always been at the center of what my wife, Laura, and I are trying to accomplish in our day-to-day lives and to teach to our three young children,” Murdock said. “It’s so important to do everything we can to be actively involved in our communities and to contribute to improving the parts of society that may need some extra attention.”
Through multiple generations, the Murdock family has made a difference in the lives of others in myriad ways: family, faith, business and civic leadership, helping neighbors in need, volunteerism and philanthropy.
“When the Carolina Center for Public Service approached us about making a gift and suggested that it support APPLES alternative break experiences, it made perfect sense to us,” Murdock said. “Helping a group of 10-12 students voluntarily spend their breaks investing time in the community is a great way to help address some of the pressing issues in our society while laying the groundwork for these students to make service a vital part of their identity for the rest of their lives.”
Murdock added that giving this gift in honor of his mother, Grig Kirk Murdock ’69, also seemed fitting. “My mother has lived her life in service of others through her family, her long career in healthcare and the volunteering she has done in schools, at church and for a variety of organizations,” Murdock explained. “She has been a great example to many of putting others first for the greater good.”
Launched in 1999, APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Breaks provide an avenue for students to engage in meaningful service experiences. Each year, approximately 200 students encounter and actively address a wide range of social concerns from health and the environment to poverty, homelessness, civil rights and disaster relief. Through partnerships created and sustained by ongoing projects, students gain an in-depth understanding of complex issues. They work alongside and in partnership with community stakeholders performing needed direct service and advocacy.
“Due to limited funding, we have to turn down more than half of the students who apply for alternative breaks,” said Becca Bender, program officer for student programs at the Carolina Center for Public Service. “For some experiences, we often accept less than a third of applicants. Interest and demand from communities in need are on the rise as well. With increased funding, new alternative break experiences could be implemented to address more need and serve in more communities.”
The Murdock Family Alternative Break Experience Fund will have an immediate impact and also create a legacy to provide life-changing experiences for students and for the people in the communities they serve. The Murdock family gift provides annual support for one alternative break for up to 12 students with a preference for experiences in areas or on issues related to health. Their gift also established an endowment which will sustain and grow opportunities for students to participate in alternative break experiences in perpetuity.
Murdock said, “Laura and I are excited about the impact this gift will have on our community and look forward to talking to students whose idea of service has been broadened and developed by this experience.”
For more information about alternative break experiences or providing financial support for these or other opportunities, contact Tricia Daisley at 919-843-2219.