Preston V. McMurry Jr., the founder of Theresa’s Fund which operates the vital and popular resource DomesticShelters.org, has established the Theresa and Preston V McMurry Jr. Scholarship Fund at his alma mater The Ohio State University College of Social Work to support social work students who make a commitment to survivors of domestic violence.
The first scholarship was awarded this past spring to Master of Social Work student Lucy Hennon for the 2020-21 academic year. McMurry, who graduated from The Ohio State University in 1960, created the fund to cause an immediate impact on furthering the pool of social workers who commit to working in the field of domestic violence by supporting their education.
“I plan to use my coursework and training to further educate myself on direct support for victims and survivors through inclusive trauma-informed and survivor-led approaches,” said Hennon. “I feel immensely privileged and fortunate to be selected as a scholarship recipient and want to express my gratitude and excitement to Preston and the College of Social Work.”
Endowing the scholarship is McMurry’s latest investment in responding to domestic violence and is the product of his decades-long commitment to survivors of domestic violence. In 1992, McMurry established Theresa’s Fund, an Arizona 501(c)3 non-profit, and helped to transform the landscape of services in the state. In 2014 Theresa’s Fund launched DomesticShelters.org, the first searchable directory of programs and shelters in North America that has since become a go-to resources for survivors and advocates when addressing nearly every topic related to domestic violence.
“My father started his work on domestic violence by creating Theresa’s Fund in the early 90s, almost three decades ago when domestic violence wasn’t yet a public conversation,” explains his son Chris McMurry. “He’s always sought innovative ideas that mix raising awareness with his soft spot for young people and successful futures.”
In 2008 McMurry also founded the McMurry Scholarship Athlete Citizenship Award, which honors student-athletes from The Ohio State University with a minimum 3.0 GPA and who performed significant community service. In 1957, McMurry was a member of the National Championship-winning football team from The Ohio State University coached by famed Woody Hayes.
In reflecting upon his gift and McMurry’s career, College of Social Work Dean Tom Gregoire observed, “I have great affection and gratitude for Preston and I consider him a friend and mentor. His entire career has been informed by a deep commitment to values we hold dear as social workers and to action on behalf of others.”
About Theresa’s Fund
Theresa’s Fund is an Arizona-based 501(c)3 non-profit charity started in 1992 by Preston V. McMurry, Jr. At a time when domestic violence wasn’t yet a headline, Theresa’s Fund focused on changing the landscape of domestic violence services in its home state through grantmaking, board development and fundraising for Arizona-based organizations like East Valley Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, Florence Crittenden, Emerge, UMOM, and West Valley Child Crisis Center. In 2014, it developed the DomesticShelters.org concept as a way to expand its reach to people across the U.S. and Canada. DomesticShelters.org is the first online and mobile searchable database of programs and shelters in the U.S./Canada, and a leading source of helpful tools and information for people experiencing and working to end domestic violence.