< About

About / History

Founding History

How it all began in Seattle

At the cusp of retiring from their positions at Microsoft, Sharon Maghie and Mike Murray were keeping an ear out for their next project. Over the years, they built a strong friendship deeply rooted in a shared love of family, faith, and the pursuit of education. They knew they wanted to do something that had an impact in the community, and allowed them to continue to surround themselves with smart, energetic people.

Through mutual friends, Sharon and Mike were connected to Duncan Campbell, the founder of the national chapter of Friends of the Children in Portland. They were intrigued by the model of a salaried professional mentor. After a successful career at Microsoft, they wanted to make sure the program was rooted in true data before entertaining the idea of starting a chapter in Seattle. It was during that meeting with Duncan, when they were introduced to a professional mentor or Friend who had been with the Portland chapter for over 3 years. Sharon asked the Friend how he envisioned his future with the organization and he responded, “I’ll be here until the end. These are my boys and I want to see them graduate.”

That was it for Sharon and Mike. They shifted from the question “Will we start a Seattle chapter?” to “How can we not start a Seattle chapter?”

The most important thing to Mike and Sharon has always been finding the right people to be professional mentors; people who are as relentless and dedicated as they are to changing the lives of youth in Seattle and breaking the generational cycle of poverty. Even though it’s been over 15 years, both Sharon and Mike continue to stay actively involved with Friends of the Children. “We are tremendously proud of how far Friends of the Children has come,” Sharon said. “There were lessons learned along the way and just when we thought we hit a roadblock, the staff persevered. We couldn’t ask for more than that and I look forward to the next 15 years!”