Jaclyn Muro worked for Christopher Ranch for more than a dozen years, where she was surrounded by the family’s philanthropic efforts to improve educational opportunities for young Gilroyans.
It was here Muro said she found her love for philanthropy, and in early 2022, she took the helm of the Latino Family Fund, an affiliate of the Gilroy Foundation that not only supports local organizations with grants, but also teaches young people leadership and fundraising skills.
“Many of the best lessons I learned about leadership and philanthropy, I learned from the Christopher family,” she said.
Muro was named executive director of the Gilroy Foundation in late April, succeeding the retiring Donna Pray, who held the position since 1995.
Muro said during her time with the Latino Family Fund, which shares an office with the Gilroy Foundation, she learned the ropes from Pray as well as the “history and rich tradition” of the foundation.
A native Gilroyan who is raising her children here, Muro said the work of the Gilroy Foundation benefits the younger generation and organizations that work to better the community in various ways.
During the foundation’s Annual Meeting and Charitable Grants Presentation on April 20 at the Gilroy Elks Lodge on the Hill, the foundation distributed $80,820 in funding over 23 grants.
In addition, organizations received funding of $240,065 from Designated Funds and $60,760 from Donor Advised Funds. The Latino Family Fund awarded $9,715 in grant funding, while the Gilroy Foundation Youth Board awarded a $1,000 grant and Nonprofit Investment Partners received disbursals totaling $141,575.
In 2023, the foundation offered 70 scholarship awards totaling $513,000.
Since 1980, the Gilroy Foundation has awarded more than $17.5 million in grants and scholarships.
Muro has received various awards and recognition for her contributions over the years, the foundation stated in a press release. She was awarded the L.I.F.T. (Lead.Inspire.Focus.Team) Award from Leadership Gilroy in 2022, and she led the Latino Family Fund to being named the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Nonprofit of the Year.
In her new role, Muro said she wants to continue developing relationships with other area nonprofits and organizations, and learning how the foundation can support them.
“With the Latino Family Fund, I really learned the importance of collaborating with other nonprofits,” she said. “By doing that, we realized the bigger impact we could have on the community.
“There’s a really fine balance of honoring the legacy that the Gilroy Foundation has started but also embracing innovation and focusing on diversity and building towards the future. That’s my vision.”
In a newsletter, Pray said she was looking forward to having more time for family and friends in her retirement.
“I am proud of the work I have done to help move the foundation to where it is today and will continue to support the best community foundation in our region,” she wrote. “The people I have partnered with over the years—our foundation donors, volunteers and staff, and community partners—have given me so much satisfaction with the growth I have had and achievements I have benefited from. I thank you all.”