James and Shirley Rippey established their Oregon-based, family foundation 1993 to help underserved children, students and academic institutions with financial support and project initiatives. Originally called the JFR Foundation the James and Shirley Rippey Family Foundation, is not widely known, yet their philanthropic impact throughout today's youth in Oregon is profound.
As native Oregonians, both James and Shirley graduated from the University of Oregon in 1953. James earned his master's degree at New York University and immediately went to work for Merrill Lynch. An offer presented itself and the Rippeys moved back to Oregon where James co-founded Columbia Management Company in 1964. A few years later James started the first mutual fund, Columbia Growth Fund, in Oregon. In Portland, Columbia Management Company grew to 250 employees and became the Pacific Northwest's largest money management company and James considered an industry pioneer.
Over the years, the Rippeys have given both time and money to causes dealing with education and youth organizations serving Oregon's vulnerable populations. For 55 years, the Rippeys supported their alma mater in leadership and philanthropy.
In 2015, the James and Shirley Rippey gifted the UO $1.565 million for initiatives at the Cameron Center for Finance and Securities Analysis Professor of Practice position in the Lundquist College of Business. The gift also established scholarships for MBA students through the James F. and Shirley J. Rippey Graduate Fellowship Fund. The Knight Library, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology also benefited from the Rippey foundation's generosity.
James, who served as a UO Foundation trustee for 10 years and held leadership roles with Providence St. Vincent Hospital Medical Foundation and Portland Rotary, said education was key to Oregon's economic success. To further opportunities for students, in 2019, the James and Shirley Rippey Family Foundation donated to the Oregon Institute of Technology. Their gift will help several university initiatives such as enhancing state-of-the-art facilities, provide student scholarships through the Oregon Tech Finish Line Fund, facilitate student recruitment while providing learning opportunities with broader access. Oregon Tech announced that Cornett Hall, constructed in the 1960s, will be home to the James and Shirley Rippey Family Foundation Concrete Laboratory as an integral part of the Engineering Complex.
More than just higher education, the James and Shirley Rippey Family Foundation invests in a variety of organizations throughout Oregon. Rippey philanthropic donations have helped at-risk boys at St. Mary's Home for Boys, homeless youth through New Avenues for Youth and children who have experienced neglect or abuse with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Other programs, such as OMSI, the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Symphony, SMART Reading, Saturday Academy, Friends of the Children, Boys & Girls Club of Portland and College Possible have also received Rippey contributions.
Julie Mancini, Executive Director of College Possible Oregon, says children can grow up in a better Oregon because of the foundation.
"Since its beginning, the foundation has given significant grants to a variety of organizations and haven't asked for much in return. They're not flashy, and they're not in it for the recognition. The dollars granted are given to allow the nonprofits to do what they know best," Mancini said. "The foundation favors organizations that serve children while focusing on their safety, welfare, health, academic access and preparation for their future."
Congratulations to the James and Shirley Rippey Family Foundation receiving The Association of Fundraising Professional's Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation Award.
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