The Jewish Federation of San Diego County mourns the loss of beloved and generous leader and philanthropist Murray Galinson. A respected and influential figure in the secular and Jewish communities, Murray served on the board of Federation for many years.
A Minnesota native, Murray came to San Diego in 1970 to teach law, and in 1981, he worked to open San Diego National Bank, where he served as President and CEO for 25 years. In the mid 1980s, he became widely known throughout the Democratic party with his work on Senator Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign, and he remained an influential local political figure. Never slowing down in his professional career, Murray and his business partner opened the development and investment firm La Jolla MJ Management just four years ago.
As an individual deeply committed to volunteer work, equality, and the underserved, Murray was incredibly active in the San Diego philanthropic community. He served as a board member for Price Enterprises, Price Legacy Corp., Price Charities, the Weingart Foundation, and San Diego Grantmakers, among a slew of other non-profit organizations. He established his own family foundation that contributed to various causes such as the Monarch School and the Children’s Museum.
Murray’s passion and love for the Jewish community were evident through his various commitments both nationally and locally. He served as the chairperson of the Jewish Funders Network from 2008-2011 and remained an active board member until his passing. As past president of Congregation Beth Israel, Murray had spearheaded efforts for the congregation to take over volunteer food service duties on Sundays at a local Catholic charity so the staff could attend church. Committed to both his personal Jewish community and that of greater San Diego, Murray served as chair of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego and board member of the Leichtag Foundation.
A dedicated Federation board member, Murray served as the 26th President of the Federation from 1989-1991 . He and his family are Legacy Society members, displaying a long lasting commitment to the future of our Jewish community. In 2006, Murray served as the co-chair for the Federation’s Together as One event, a landmark event bringing together both Women’s Philanthropy and the Men’s affinity group to celebrate the Federation’s 70th Anniversary. As co-chair and moderator for the evening, Murray used his political clout to help secure former President Bill Clinton, a move that guaranteed a fascinating and successful evening.
Murray demonstrated vision and a commitment to innovation and the revitalization of San Diego through his professional and charitable efforts. When he first became head of San Diego National Bank, he filled three board positions with women, the bank’s first female trustees. In 2009, as chair of the Jewish Community Foundation, Murray worked on the creation of the San Diego Jewish Community Economic Recovery Fund, a partnership between the Federation and the Foundation to facilitate more efficient and effective raising and distribution of funds throughout the Jewish community following the 2008 economic recession. More recently, Murray demonstrated his passion for innovation and new ventures through his support of the San Diego Moishe House.
Murray passed away unexpectedly on January 3. Nearly 1,000 people remembered and celebrated Murray’s life and achievements on Thursday, January 7, 2013. Murray leaves behind a beautiful legacy in his family, our community, country and Israel. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and his numerous communities. May his memory be a blessing.