The long, relaxed days of summer are officially upon us, and we will all enjoy spending the next several months soaking up the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
We enter this season with an air of appreciation, grateful that at our Spring Grants Meeting our Trustees approved 41 grants totaling $9.3 million. Below you will find a small sample of the incredible organizations we are able to serve across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
As our team takes a moment to catch our breath after this most recent meeting, we have taken some time to travel around the region to meet with nonprofits and community groups serving the common good by addressing critical needs. In my own travels, I have noticed a theme permeating our communities: the importance of bridges to the Pacific Northwest.
Bridge builders are one of the most critical components of a thriving community, both figuratively and literally. They construct the platforms that literally connect communities across rivers, canyons and valleys. In a metaphorical sense, they help us cross the divide of our differences in order to come together and work toward positive outcomes.
In a region as diverse as the Pacific Northwest, we see a wide variety of backgrounds, perspectives and opinions that help inform and influence the vibrant nature of our communities. However, this broad diversity can present a challenge because we won’t always agree on every issue. This is where the bridge builders come in. They are able to reach across the aisle, across political and social differences, and find areas where we do agree. They help us come together to find solutions, instead of focusing on the things that divide, separate or create walls of conflict or disagreement.
Unfortunately, we live in a time when the wall builders seem to be getting a lot of attention as special interest advocacy groups, or those on the extremes of an issue, focus on polarization. In a provocative interview in Politico, Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, recently stated:
“We’ve created a culture of not anger, not disagreement, it’s contempt. […]It’s not like 50 percent of Americans think one thing and 50 percent think another thing. No, 15 percent on each side are effectively controlling the conversation, and 70 percent of us don’t hate each other. I can ask any audience, ‘How many of you love somebody with whom you disagree politically?’ Every hand goes up. And yet, you’re willing to have somebody, some fringe person on your side of the debate, say that your brother-in-law or your mother or your aunt is evil and stupid.”
While his language is more stark than I might personally choose, his insight is a perceptive one. Those on the fringes of any given issue take the most vocal position and frame discussions and debates as “this or that” and “if you choose this (or that) you are wrong and evil.” When we choose to focus on the “but/and” scenario we can recognize where we differ, yet still find space where we can agree on other topics. In reality, there is almost always common ground where we can come together.
At the Murdock Trust, we work hard to be bridge builders. When you serve as diverse a region as the Pacific Northwest, we know that we will not always agree with every stance or position or project from every grantee.
We are fortunate that everywhere we go throughout the Northwest, we find bridge builders–those who choose to partner with their neighbors to serve the individuals and families of every kind in their community. If we disagree, let’s talk about the issues in a civil, informed manner, but more importantly let’s keep focusing on that common ground we share so we can build bridges, form partnerships, strengthen collaborations and continue to serve the greater good as the organizations listed in this report do tirelessly, every day.
Our sincere thanks and gratitude for all that YOU do to serve the community,
Steven G.W. Moore
- Residents of Alaska will enjoy a wider variety of community-focused programming thanks to a new covered arena, constructed by Kodiak Baptist Mission.
- Visitors to the Baranov Museum will gain a greater understanding of local and regional history through an expanded, permanent exhibit space developed by the Kodiak Historical Society.
- The future of the Sitka Sound Science Center’s educational programs will be secured as they renovate their historic Sawmill space.
- Residents across Idaho will gain a better appreciation of the local environment and landscape through the addition of new staff at The Nature Conservancy.
- St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson, Montana, will receive new 3D mammography equipment via a grant to the Providence Montana Health Foundation.
- Residents across Montana and Idaho will have more opportunities to engage with nature and support healthy forests through the addition of new staff at the National Forest Foundation.
- Families of individuals with physical, developmental or cognitive disabilities will gain more support following the addition of new staff by Eagle Mount – Bozeman.
- Families and residents in need throughout the Canby area will receive more help and assistance as the Canby Center adds critical new staff.
- Residents who wrestle with social isolation will have a broader range of opportunities to engage and connect as the Maybelle Center for Community expands it downtown Portland space.
- Research at Oregon State University will be greatly enhanced by the purchase of a dual-source, single-crystal x-ray diffractometer.
- More individuals in need of food, shelter and addiction recovery support will be served as the Blanchet House restructures and adds new staff.
- The historic 7th Street Theatre will be preserved following critical roof and structural repairs.
- More at-risk children will receive vital support from Friends of the Children – Seattle as the organization expands its mentorship program.
- Vietnam-era veterans will receive the honor and respect they deserve through the creation of a new outdoor park and permanent exhibit at the Museum of Flight.
- Community members will enjoy a more robust collection of offerings and students will have a wider variety of after-school activities following the creation of a new Safe Haven building constructed by the Yakima Valley Farm Workers.
- More students in Washington will receive academic support as they work toward graduation following an expansion of the Treehouse Graduation Success program.