M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
Innovative Generosity

by Steven G.W. Moore • February 2016

As we head into this election year, we know we will hear promises and pledges about taxes, spending, and the many challenges that face our nation and our world. There is a sense that civil discourse is being strained to the limits by social media campaigns that often have only slivers of truth. In addition, public media is sometimes frenzied by such giant challenges as climate change, fragile countries and regions, violent extremism, forced migration, inequality, and a rising sense of insecurity and fear in the developed world. Proposals and discussions about such topics are sometimes undercut by hyperbolic, simplistic, and amplified language that short-circuits the thoughtful interactions that help get us to potential solutions and useful collaborations.
We must think and act differently. And while governments and foundations will be partially helpful, it may be that the most promising and hopeful solutions will come from the private sector and from nonprofits. My friend Neal Keny-Guyer, president of Mercy Corps, points out:
“Evolving technologies and consumer behaviors mean some companies have a particularly valuable contribution to make to this effort. MasterCard, for example, has been a leader in deploying its expertise, tools, and network for payments to displaced people. Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of yogurt giant Chobani, has pledged half of his personal fortune to bringing comfort and opportunity to refugees worldwide. But there are two things he’s doing that are even more helpful than that. First, he is appealing to fellow CEOs to get their companies committed to a common response to the refugee crisis. Second, he has made it a major priority to hire refugees for Chobani jobs around the world. And this week, Facebook announced a campaign to mobilize its more than 1.5 billion — yes, billion! — users to lend their voices and support to our effort with refugees. Facebook’s analysis of its social network found that 80 percent of its users are connected by a friend of a friend or closer to someone directly affected by the war in Syria.”
Mercy Corps, a partner of the Murdock Trust, is going to be Facebook’s partner on this campaign! Check out this great video shared by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. As well, nonprofits are on the front lines often addressing the systemic issues “upstream and downstream” and understand what really works in ways that others do not. That is why we are encouraged by new levels of generosity and civic engagement and new ways that people are investing their resources, their time, and their passions.
There are some great stories by many of the leaders of these organizations in the video at the top of this page. As you launch into this new year, why not take a moment right now to drop a note or email to someone or some group you know is make a difference? I include you in that list, and again, thanks for all you are doing to help individuals, families, and communities thrive and flourish.

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