2017-12-24 / Insight

For Imlay City couple, charity is no chip shot

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


After taking up golf and going to a couple of golf outings, John Murphy decided he could do better. He and his wife, Christina, through their Global Venture Foundation, raised $325,000 this year for local causes. After taking up golf and going to a couple of golf outings, John Murphy decided he could do better. He and his wife, Christina, through their Global Venture Foundation, raised $325,000 this year for local causes. IMLAY CITY — Four years ago John Murphy and his wife, Christina Muir-Murphy, decided they wanted to do a little something for the communities that helped them become the successes they are, so they put together a golf outing.

According to Phil Immordino, founder and chairman of the Golf Tournament Association of America, there are more than 800,000 golf tournaments held nationally each year. The average golf outing draws 72 players and raises $5,000.

John and Christina don’t believe in doing anything average. Now in the planning stages for their fifth event, the couple and their Venture Global Engineering Foundation Board are closing in on $1 million.


Christina Muir-Murphy shows off the porcelain Christmas ornament she and husband, John, sent to golfers who participated in this year’s Venture Global golf outing. 
Photos by Phil Foley Christina Muir-Murphy shows off the porcelain Christmas ornament she and husband, John, sent to golfers who participated in this year’s Venture Global golf outing. Photos by Phil Foley At their first event four years ago they raised $35,000. This past summer their one-day event put 300 golfers on Wyndgate Country Club and the adjacent WestWynd Golf Course and they raked in $325,000 for charitable causes in Lapeer, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties.

“Our goal was $500,000, but we fell a little short,” John said. Still, their four-year total came to $725,000.

Lots of companies write checks to charitable organizations this time of year to lower their tax obligation, but John and Christina wanted to do more. “This is a labor of love,” she said.

In fact, the couple, along with the help of Mark Edgerton, Jessica Muir, Sandy Aluia and Doug Kraft put in untold volunteer hours to run the event. “I’ve never kept track,” said Christina. “I talk it up everywhere I go,” said John.


The Venture Global Foundation is run by a small board of Venture Global employees who all donate their time. The board includes Jessica Muir, Christina Muir-Murphy, John Murphy, Doug Kraft, Sandy Aluia and Mark Edgerton. The six have raised close to $1 million in just four years for charitable causes. 
Photo by Phil Foley The Venture Global Foundation is run by a small board of Venture Global employees who all donate their time. The board includes Jessica Muir, Christina Muir-Murphy, John Murphy, Doug Kraft, Sandy Aluia and Mark Edgerton. The six have raised close to $1 million in just four years for charitable causes. Photo by Phil Foley He added, “We want to stand out. We want to be different from other local businesses.”

John said no one on the foundation board makes a penny off the outing and they try to pick charity partners that have as close to zero administrative overhead as possible.

“I think this is the best way I can help my community,” John said.

John grew up in Romeo and started out with one small shop in Sterling Heights in 1983 that’s grown into a 7,000-employee company with locations in three states and six countries headquartered in Imlay City. Christina’s family started in the funeral home business in Dryden in 1901 and today she owns Roth Muir Funeral Home in Romeo.

Neither one likes doing anything in a small way. “I want to do something that has impact,” John said. This year their foundation gave Sterling Heights’ Stevenson High School $50,000 for its music department. In 2015, Almont’s First Robotics Team got $30,000 for its program.

The Global Venture Foundation also hosts a prime rib dinner for a different senior living facility in Lapeer County each year. “We want to give them a night they wouldn’t normally have,” said John, noting the elderly are an often overlooked group of people.

Edgerton said the golf outing “takes more time than money,” to put together and board members don’t mind putting in the time because they can see the impact they have.

John said one of his golfers told him this summer that he resented it when his school taxes went up $500 this year because he couldn’t see where the money went, but he didn’t mind writing a $5,000 check for the outing because he could.

John noted one of the things that takes the sting out of signing those checks is, “We put on a first-class event.” For a full breakfast buffet in the morning to free hot dogs at every hole to a top-notch dinner at the end of the day, John said, “we go first class.” That goes for the prizes too which run from Shinola watches to a $50,000 prize for a 50-foot putt.

The couple decided early on not to hand out golf-related prizes. “I wanted something they could use all the time,” said John.

“This isn’t a golf outing, it’s an experience,” Christina said.

Each year they try to get a different group of charity partners and they are partners, since they’re expected to help out at the outing.

They’re aiming to raise $500,000 this July.

To learn more about the foundation and how to get involved, email John at jmurphy@venturecorporation.net or Christina at loiemuir@gmail.com or call the foundation at 810-721-1118.

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