Saturday 17 August 2019
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MARIE W. MURPHY : Executive Director of Newly Formed Effingham Health System Foundation

story and photos by Miranda Osborn
F or most people born and raised in Effingham, the pride at seeing the community thriving is strong.
Marie Murphy, Executive Director of the newly formed Effingham Health System Foundation is no
exception; she herself is a passionate community advocate.
After attending Georgia Southern, Murphy went directly into banking, working her way up the ladder
from operations to retail banking, to finance, and finally to commercial lending. Having been in
management since she was 24 years old, she was “never content to be an average employee.” “I have
always enjoyed excelling in whatever jobs I held,” Murphy says.
From her resume, one can see she has held many leadership positions such as Chairman of the SBAC,
City of Savannah Loan Committee and the Chairman of several civic groups such as Rotary and the
Exchange Club. When she worked for Suntrust, she was the first female Commercial Lender in Savannah.
“I had to prove myself, and in 2008 I was the Pinnacle Performer,” she adds. That meant that she was one
out of only 300 lenders in the state of Georgia to achieve this level.
Part of her career also involved grant writing; akin to writing RFPs (Requests for Proposals) where the
writer bids on business from companies. The largest RFP Murphy won was $57 million with a local
company. In her quarter century in banking – the most recent of which was almost a decade as a
Commercial banker – Murphy managed over 100 million dollars in assets (loans and deposits), with
revenues in excess of five million.
But, after 25 years in banking, Murphy needed a change. Right after the recent recession, the hospital
called her to see if she would be interested in selling the services of their occupational medicine
department. She joined Effingham Hospital in occupational medicine in 2013. “In banking, a large part
of my portfolio was in the trucking and logistics industry,” explains Murphy of her seemingly 180-degree
career turn. But this meant she could reach out to sell services to many of the clients she had in her
banking industry days. So many, in fact, that Murphy grew the business from 40 clients to well over 300
clients before moving on to the Foundation.
Murphy started with the foundation in January of 2018. With the formation last year of the 501c3 and
the selection of the board and writing policies, Murphy was a logical choice. Her work ethic all her life
has been to “do good, work hard every day and give it 100% every day and let God handle the rest.”
When the hospital opened on August 25th, 1969, it had 75 employees. Today Effingham Health
System employs over 400 people, and including contract employees, close to 1,000. With the hospital
expansion in 2012, the growth of EHS has been over 300-percent. The Foundation, even though they have
a separate 501c3, is a perfect extension then of the hospital, being formed the year leading up to the
Jubilee birthday of the institution itself.
The hospital and the health system are as one. The distinction is that there is the hospital, several health
practices, as well as an imaging center. “The Foundation’s whole purpose is to raise funds for the health
system to buy the equipment to provide services in the community that serves the needs of our
community. We are as one,” Murphy explains.
Murphy does not have to go it alone, however, and serves alongside fellow board members selected
specifically for what their unique talents offer the foundation; Chairman Dr. Alex Wynn, Vice Chairman
James Carlson, Secretary Dayle Burns, Treasurer Dr. Franklin Goldwire, and Dr. Randy Shearouse,
Michael Garvin, Julie Hales, Clarence Morgan, and Honorary Board Member Ronda Rich.
Each member brings his or her own individual strengths to the board as a collective unit and serves for
two years. Together, this group has rallied together for the betterment of healthcare in the community. All
monies raised go back in the hospital and health system. “That is our whole purpose, explains Murphy.
“We will provide capital to grow to continue to be the Best of the Best.”
The Best of the Best is not an exaggeration either. In 2017, Effingham Health System was the only
CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) four-star rated hospital in the Greater Savannah area,
with a CMS five-star rated Care Center. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are part of the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, having a system of rating hospitals and care centers on a
one-through-five basis. “Our hospital is rated a four and the care center is a five,” Murphy explains
proudly. It was also literally voted the 'Best Hospital in the Coastal Empire.'
“This is the feedback our patients tell of the service and quality they received while in our care,” Murphy
Murphy loves what she does and wouldn’t change anything leading up to or about her current position
with the Foundation. “I feel I have been on a journey and God has brought me back to where I was
raised,” she explains. When she left Effingham for college she did not know where life would take her.
Then when she met her husband at Georgia Southern and moved to Savannah to continue a career in
banking she never thought she would be back “home” working at the same hospital some of her family
worked at for many years.
There are many families at EHS, and being a small town, EHS is the third largest employer. “All of us
at EHS feel this is our mission to provide the very best for the patients and community we serve,”
Murphy adds. She believes her role, and the part she plays is in God’s hands, and she has a strong faith
that leads her day by day. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have strategic goals for the hospital, however.
“The Foundation is just one of the ways we can help Effingham be the best it can be,” Murphy adds,
calling herself a “hometown girl that came back full circle.”
The Foundation has year-round fundraising efforts and plans for 2019; three of which will be major
fundraisers. First is a car show on Saturday, March 9th at Freedom Park in Rincon. “With the help of
dedicated staff here at EHS, we are looking forward to a great outcome with many people joining us for
good family fun,” alludes Murphy. Secondly, the Foundation is in the planning stages of a Brick
Campaign. More details will follow as they develop. The last and biggest fundraising event of 2019 will
be the Annual Gala, marking the hospital’s 50th birthday. Murphy and the board expect to have over 250
people at the black tie affair on Saturday, September 21st.