About Us

Katherine John MurphyThe Katherine John Murphy Foundation was established in 1954 in Atlanta, Georgia by Katherine Murphy Riley.

Katherine’s grandfather, Timothy Murphy emigrated from Ireland in 1846. Mr. Murphy was an early Atlanta pioneer and, as a volunteer fireman, served the community especially during the Civil War.

Katherine’s father, John Edgar Murphy, was a successful banker, broker and community leader in the early 1900s. His wife, Julia Gatins, was active in the cultural development of the city. Julia’s brother, Joseph Gatins, was another prominent Atlanta pioneer and owner of the Georgian Terrace Hotel.

Katherine and her sister Julia Whitehead were raised in the comfortable luxury of the 1920s between Atlanta, Palm Beach, New York and Paris. However, this Irish Catholic family never forgot their origins and they were taught from an early age that it was their responsibility to give back to the community. As a result, Katherine was instrumental in funding many of Atlanta’s cultural, human services, and Catholic organizations from 1945 until her death in 1985.

Since 1985, grants in excess of $44 million have been made in accordance with the wishes of the Murphy family.

An Advisory Committee of the Foundation considers all grant applications.