M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Image 1: a woman with dark hair wearing a gray dress and sweater holds up a small letter 7 in a classroom while a group of students looks at her. Image 2: a nurse wearing blue scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck smiles at a female patient. Image 3: two girls  play two large drums on stage with a banner and a woman behind them. Image 4: a young girl wearing an orange t-shirt plays on a mat with paint on her hands and feet. Image 5: a woman with short dark hair wearing a blue backpack looks at a howling wolf in a zoo exhibit.

The new year always brings a joyous energy of opportunity as we turn the page to open an untouched calendar, set forth on a fresh plan of action and draft goals for serving and working in the days ahead. This spirit of momentum and enthusiasm is also buoyed by the world outside our windows where, after months of growing darkness, we begin the slow return to longer days and more sunlight filling our lives.

Symbolically, our communities mark the end of the year by celebrating the holiday season across the myriad cultures and faiths that make their home in the Pacific Northwest with traditions that involve creating light in the darkness. The end of 2018 was no different. As our country reeled against moments of intense violence and an ongoing undercurrent of vitriol that soured our civic discourse, I was encouraged to see communities join together to literally and figuratively push against the darkness and bring light into their homes. Communities large and small honored the spirit of the season by lighting a Christmas tree, pausing to reflect in the flicker of a Menorah or joining in festivities of fellowship and friendship.

Light is always fighting to break through. This is something we see every year with the changing of the seasons, and it’s something we see in the work of individuals, families, volunteers and corporate partners who work to bring “light” into communities through service to nonprofit organizations working toward the common good. Who isn’t appreciative and warmed by the work of food banks, the Salvation Army, toy drives and countless others calling us to be generous of heart and spirit?

The Murdock Trust team is regularly reminded of this ongoing effort to bring light to those in need through the work of our grantees. We were fortunate to review a fresh collection of outstanding projects and programs at our most recent grants meeting near year-end 2018. At this meeting, our Trustees approved 48 grants totaling close to $11 million for nonprofits serving the Pacific Northwest and nearly $50 million in grants throughout 2018.

Below you’ll see a brief sample of just a few of the projects that we are honored to support across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. These represent just a small portion of the efforts currently underway across our region to help serve and support our communities through the arts, education, health, human services and scientific research.

As we enter this bright new year filled with promise and hope, we are grateful to the countless nonprofit organizations, corporate foundations, funders, volunteers, community foundations and individual contributors who work tirelessly throughout the year to help individuals, families and communities across the Pacific Northwest flourish and thrive by bringing in the light through their critical work.

Steve Moore
Executive Director, Murdock Trust


  • Biological and environmental researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will expand their capacity to conduct research following the acquisition of a Gas Chromatograph-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (GC-IRMS).
  • The understanding and conservation of the musk ox and its potential contributions to agriculture and commerce will expand following the renovation of facilities overseen by the Musk Ox Development Corporation.

Image 1: a overhead shot of a college campus with green and yellow trees around it. Text overlay says "University of Alaska Fairbanks." Image 2: a close up shot of a baby musk ox with a full-grown ox behind it. Text overlay says "Musk Ox Development Corporation."


  • The Children’s Home Society of Idaho will be able to raise awareness of its mission and increase volunteer and financial support through the hiring of new staff.
  • With increased capacity following a facility renovation and expansion, more rural families will be served by the creative programs of The Community Library of the Wood River Valley.

A large group of people smiles for the camera in front of a home. Text overlay says "The Children's Home Society of Idaho." Image 2: A group of young children sit in a circle on the floor playing with adults inside a classroom. Text overlay says "The Community Library."


Image 1: a group of children sit on a wooden floor with a wooden cross, four candles, and a circle of rocks in the middle. Text overlay says "Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp." Image 2: A brown grizzly bear with a waterfall behind it. Text overlay says "The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center."


  • The Chehalem Cultural Center will be able to provide a more robust offering of community events through the renovation of its Newberg arts center.
  • Children, families and visitors of all ages will be inspired and engaged through the installation of a new Center for Innovation exhibit at OMSI, updating the existing Turbine Hall space.
  • The historic music school of the John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts will be able to support more students in the mid-Willamette Valley following a facility renovation.
  • Oregon’s historic locomotives, railroad equipment and artifacts will gain fresh life and longevity following a refurbishment by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation.

Image 1: many people gather in a circle inside a large room, with two people wearing colorful headdresses and clothing standing near a drum. Text overlay says "Chehalem Cultural Center." Image 2: five people help move a wooden beam onto a train inside a facility. Text overlay says "Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation. Image 3: Two students wearing protective goggles perform a science experiment. Text overlay says "OMSI." Image 4: Three young children play the violin while an instructor helps them. Text overlay says "John G. Shedd Institute."


  • Vulnerable children in the King County area will receive critical support and comfort as AMARA opens a permanent home for Grandese’s Place, a housing and administrative facility serving the foster care system.
  • The longevity of the Northwest School of Wooden BoatBuilding will be reinforced following a critical infrastructure update.
  • Hundreds of children and teens will receive support, inspiration and mentorship through the construction of a new clubhouse by the Boys and Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula.
  • More people will learn about the rich cultural history of Native artists through the hiring of new staff by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.
  • A new Unity Care Northwest clinic will bring important medical services to rural patients.
  • The Outdoor Discovery Center at the Hands On Children’s Museum will expand its exhibitions, introducing new opportunities for children to learn and grow.

Image 1: a man wearing a blue shirt and black suit jacket, a woman wearing a black and red floral dress, and two boys with dark hair wearing red shirts smile for the camera outside. Text overlay says "Amara." Image 2: two children sit in a wooden rowboat on the ground with a blue building that says "Beach Shack" behind them. Text overlay says "Hands on Children's Museum." Image 3: a man wearing glasses talks to a woman inside a room with windows. Text overlay says "Unity Care Northwest." Image 4: a man wearing a blue sweatshirt and beanie builds a wooden boat. Text overlay says "NW School of Wooden Boat Building." Image 5: two young girls with dark hair sit on the floor reading books. Text overlay says "Boys and Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula." Image 6: a group of adults link hands inside a large room with circular tables and chairs. Text overlay says "Native Arts and Cultures Foundation."

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The Trust guides nonprofit organizations through every level of their development through grants and other resources.

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