As host of AM 1220 KHTS’s “Non-Profit Spotlight” show on Mondays from 10 a.m. to noon since 2005, Janice Zenon Murray keeps our community posted on Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit organizations, activities and fundraising events.
Murray holds forth live from the station’s satellite kiosk at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall, the only regular program to originate there.
Also a philanthropist, fundraiser and event emcee, Murray is a key member of the Foundation Board for the Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley, especially the main fundraising event in June and the year-end “Festival of Trees,” which pulled in $100,000 in one night when she co-chaired the event in 2007.
Murray is pictured with recent “Non-Profit Spotlight” guest John Muir of Bridges to Ability.
Murray was a founding member of the SCV Disaster Coalition in 2005 afrer Hurricane Katrina, and was a major player in getting the 138-bed, LEED-certified South Wing expansion built at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in 2011.
As an active member of the Community Advisory Committee for College of the Canyons’ Canyon Country campus, Murray has helped guide development of the campus and its curriculum since the Sierra Highway location was a dirt lot.
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Janice is a Circle of Hope board member and has emceed the breast cancer awareness group’s 5K Walk and People’s Choice Car Show. Her involvement with COH is personal; her sister and mother are survivors.
And speaking of emcee-ing, Murray has been the gracious host of numerous other charity events, for Single Mothers’ Outreach, the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and the Assistance League.
Janice does all the above, including her radio show, and lots more on a volunteer basis, looking to give more than to receive.
That’s why she has been named AM 1220 KHTS’s latest Santa Clarita Unsung Hero, brought to you by Mercedes-Benz of Valencia.
Murray works very hard on her”NonProfit Spotlight” show calendar all year long to make sure she books the right guests to cover the most important events for as many SCV-based nonprofit groups as weeks in a year allow.
Gillian Stone of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation and Janice Murray of ‘Non-Profit Spotlight’ pose after a recent show.
“I’m nosy, so I want to know who’s out there and what they’re doing. I want to share that with everybody,” Murray joked during an interview with AM 1220 afternoon drive host Jason Endicott at the station’s Canyon Country studio on Friday, March 8.
“It gets crazy, but I love it,” Murray said. “It is worth it.”
Just a handful of the local organizations most recently featured includes Bridges to Ability, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, the SCV Scholarship Foundation, Head-up Therapy on Horseback, Circle of Hope, the SCV Artist’s Association, the Samuel Dixon Foundation, the SCV Sheriff’s Station’s Toy Drive, and SCV Habitat for Heroes.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Janice grew up in Watts, one of five kids. “Mom and Dad did everything they could to not let us feel like we were poor or disadvantaged,” she said. “They were always behind the scenes at the Catholic church we went to, the Catholic school, always donating their time. And now, as a grown-up, I found out that they were always giving a little assistance. That’s how they got it done. From them I came to understand what Marion Edelman Wright meant when she said, ‘Service is the rent we pay for living.’ It’s one of my favorite quotes. I’ve been blessed with an amazing life and I feel it’s my responsibility to give back and help out in our community where I can.”
Janice graduated from Pius X High School in Downey, and earned her B.S. degree in business management, with a specialty in marketing, from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1982. While still a junior, she interned at Xerox and was offered a full-time post upon graduation. She went on to sales and marketing positions for Bank of America and Northrop Electronics over the next decade.
In February 1993, she and Major League Baseball player Eddie Murray married and moved to Sand Canyon. In 1994, they started a family (their two daughters, Jessica and Jordan, are now 16 and 18). Although they lived in numerous homes during the baseball season in the cities where he played, they always maintained their home base in Santa Clarita. Eventually divorcing in 2011, Janice has called the SCV home ever since.
“I guess I’ll say I married into Santa Clarita, because when I got married, my husband at the time bought a house here in Sand Canyon,” Janice said. “I came off the (14) freeway at Placerita and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, where am I?’ Came up Sand Canyon and saw cows and horses, and I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness!’ I had come from L.A., I had no idea. It was a much different environment, and as the years have gone (by), my kids have grown up here, I absolutely love it. Would not go anywhere else. I’ve traveled a lot to other states and other places, I’ve probably lived in about eight other states, but this is home.”
Janice told Endicott a funny story how she became acquainted with Carl Goldman back in 2004, when both had children attending Pinecrest School in Sand Canyon. She recounted meeting Goldman again a couple years later at a local event, where she expressed her desire to get involved with the community.
After Goldman and his wife, Jeri Seratti-Goldman, launched KHTS, they had just the outlet for Janice: a new program called “Non-Profit Spotlight.” The show premiered in September 2005, and soon became an integral part of the the station’s community-based programming and the SCV’s nonprofit community.
Murray said she was nervous at first, and over-prepared. Soon, though, she relaxed and so did her guests. Their encounters are more like personal conversations than interviews, but the listener still gets all the details necessary to volunteer, contribute or otherwise help out.
“I love meeting people, I love being at the mall,” she told Endicott. “I love seeing the sights and watching the people, and I have friends that’ll say hello to me. Some of my friends from LARK come up and give me a big hug, tell me how their day is going. I love that.”
She said she’d proclaimed herself “queen of the kiosk,” and it’s an apt title for a people-person who hosts an important public-service program in such a public space, and on a strictly volunteer basis.
Covering the SCV nonprofit beat so long and so well, Murray has seen the effects of the recent economic downturn on local 501c(3)’s, including the Child & Family Center, which recently had to lay off some staff. But there is a silver lining, as she explained to Endicott:
“What surprises me is that some of them are being creative, thinking outside of the box, and you know we’ve all got the golf tournaments and the rubber chicken dinners, the silent auctions — but some are coming up with some really cute and creative ideas, and I think that’s how you get people interested,” Murray said.
“Obviously in any community you’ve got that handful that are the people that are philanthropic and they always show up and they always donate. But you’ve got to do something that the average man can be involved in,” she said. “When you go to an event and you start the donations at $5-10, everybody at the table can donate $5 or $10 or $50 versus the $10,000. So, it makes those events more accessible, and I think that’s a good way to make everybody feel like they can take ownership and take part in supporting those nonprofits.”
Watch Janice Murray’s complete interview with AM-1220 KHTS afternoon drive air personality Jason Endicott on Friday, March 8, 2013, and learn more about this Santa Clarita Unsung Hero’s good deeds.You can also download the audio podcast.
Read more of KHTS’s Santa Clarita Unsung Heroes features brought to you by Mercedes-Benz of Valencia.
Mercedes-Benz of Valencia is proud to be part of the Santa Clarita Valley, not only giving you the superior customer service you deserve, but also giving back to our community by supporting our schools, sports teams, Sheriff’s Station and nonprofit organizations. Now, Mercedes-Benz of Valencia and KHTS have teamed up to present “Santa Clarita’s Unsung Heroes,” a special feature spotlighting local residents who make a difference in our valley. With new contributions also comes a new Mercedes management team. Visit Mercedes-Benz of Valencia today.