M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Two of our amazing Murdock staff retired last year after many years working to serve the common good. We honor Julie Cieloha-Whitney and Jan Kennedy Ferguson for their 30 years and 20 years of service, respectively.

Julie Cieloha-Whitney

For close to 30 years, Julie Cieloha-Whitney helped secure and safeguard the financial well-being of the Murdock Trust, first as one of our partners at Deloitte, then as a member of our in-house finance team before being promoted to controller and eventually CFO in 2005. Julie has been instrumental and invaluable in building and monitoring the Trust’s annual budgets, as well as coordinating our tax returns and financial statements, not to mention spearheading any number of additional projects, such as the design, development and move to our new office space.

But to truly understand Julie’s spirit, you need to look at her calendar outside of business hours. Despite serving in a highly demanding role for the Trust, Julie routinely makes time to lend her expertise to countless nonprofits and community groups, such as Philanthropy Northwest, the Community Foundation for SW Washington, the Safety Action Team and Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans. She also served as co-chair of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee’s community outreach programs organized by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, as well as on the board of the Kory’s Foundation.

“I was blessed to work with Julie from the day she graduated from Portland State University to the day I retired from the Murdock Trust. There is no one in my nearly 50-year career I would rather have worked with. Teams are built around supportive, amazing, energetic, dependable, talented, gifted, cheerful, beautiful, positive people like Julie. Julie encompassed all these qualities and more blended into the best there ever was. Thank you, Julie, for having my back and making me and the Murdock Trust better. Julie was the Tiger Woods of the Murdock Trust. Admittedly, I am her biggest fan.” – Jim Martin, Chief Investment Officer, JRM Capital Management

“Julie is an amazing role model, community leader and friend. She commits 110 percent to every endeavor and gives of herself selflessly. Julie’s legacy at the Murdock Trust will be one of embodying Jack Murdock’s legacy of nurturing and enriching all in her wide sphere of influence, leaving the organization a better place for those who follow in her (large) footsteps.” – Lisa Dow, EVP, Chief Risk Officer, Columbia Bank

“I have had the privilege of knowing Julie for most of my 25 years at the sheriff’s office. I have never met anyone like Julie whose strong work ethic, compassion, generosity, honor and integrity surpass all of us mortals. To this day, I am convinced Julie is an angel sent down to make our lives better. I know she has made my life better. I am honored to call her a friend, and I wish her all the best in her retirement.” – Keith Bickford, Detective/Immigrant Assistant, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Jan Kennedy Ferguson

Coaches and leadership experts will tell you that greatness is achieved by consistently showing up and emphasizing doing the little things really well, every day. For 20 years, Jan Kennedy Ferguson exemplified this approach, consistently bringing a commitment to excellence and an eye for detail to her work as a program director with the Murdock Trust. To truly understand her impact, you need only look at the “balance sheet” she leaves behind.

Upon her retirement, Jan personally guided the administration of nearly $106 million through 601 total grants in her tenure with our organization. This represents about 10 percent of our total grantmaking since the Trust was founded, amounting to an incalculable impact on individuals, families, nonprofits and communities and reaching every corner of the Pacific Northwest.

A leader among our cohort of program directors, Jan blessed us with her business savvy as an entrepreneur and the passion for service she exhibited through her support of several nonprofits in the Oregon and Washington area. We are grateful for her contributions to serve the common good.     

“It has been amazing working with Jan over the years. Virginia Garcia would not be the place it is without the great partnership with Jan and the Trust, who have been with us every step of the way. Jan has truly understood the mission of Virginia Garcia in the community and has been so supportive and understanding, and we can’t thank her enough.” – Gil Munoz, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for your early advice, guidance and support in our efforts to restore Coos Bay’s historic Egyptian Theatre. Your efforts and the early grant from the Murdock Trust led the way to our success and made all the difference. Coos Bay now has its much-loved theater back in operation serving the community.” – Greg Rueger, Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association

“What I really appreciate about Jan is that, when she was first introduced to SPOON, I could tell that she cared about us so much more than just as a grantor, but she cared about our mission, and she cared about the kids we were helping, and she cared about us as an organization. She provided a lot of support and helped introduce us to some great mentors, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.” – Cindy Kaplan, SPOON Foundation

“Jan has changed thousands of lives. It’s extraordinary the impact and the ripple that Jan has created in her career. She is an inspiration and the kind of person we should all aspire to be.” – Donna Briggs, Peter Britt Gardens Music & Arts Festival

back to top

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

The Trust has a wealth of knowledge and experience that can make all the difference to you and your organization.