M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
An adult man helps a young boy with homework.

We often say that the “promise of the nonprofit sector” is the ability to change lives. At its core, the nonprofit sector has the unique ability to identify challenges facing individuals, families and communities and then bring to life innovative solutions that provide the opportunity for those affected to flourish and thrive. In our most difficult moments, the nonprofit sector finds reason for hope and optimism.

To say that 2020 has been a challenging year would be an understatement.

  • The COVID-19 health pandemic has brought suffering, sorrow and loss to countless individuals and families who have been infected by the illness.
  • The economic and social disruptions created from uneven governmental policies and practices have been significant.
  • Social distancing protocols have brought disruption and disorder to organizations and institutions locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
  • Continued experiences of injustice have sparked protests and increased feelings of division, fragmentation and inadequate progress toward “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for all.
  • Divisive rhetoric and the inability of public officials to provide deliberative and inspirational leadership continues to divide our country as our communities approach elections nationwide this fall.

It would be perfectly reasonable to see all of these challenges and want to despair from hopelessness.

But at the Murdock Trust, we see the work of the nonprofit sector and we double down on hope. We are excited to invest in the places and people making a positive difference in our communities. We train our eyes on the vision for a future where individuals, families and communities have the opportunity to flourish and thrive. And we see countless examples that give us reason to be hopeful as we continue on in 2020.

  • Nonprofits finding innovative ways to rapidly deliver support to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Individuals and organizations that have worked and continue to work to build a brighter future for all individuals, families and communities regardless of race or background.
  • Community leaders coming together to collaborate on solutions that serve the common good.
  • Thought leaders offering pathways forward rooted in our deepest shared values and which honor our neighbors as our partners not our enemy.

We are optimistic because we have seen the spirit of leaders, workers and volunteers take action in creative ways across sectors. We see what possibilities are being invested in for our future. This gives us hope.

In fact, the Trust recently reviewed dozens of proposed projects at our Spring Grants Meeting and our program staff and Trustees were thoroughly inspired by the dedication and commitment of nonprofits across our region to continue finding ways to serve and support individuals and families. We are grateful to share that at this meeting our Trustees approved 41 grants totaling $10.9 million to nonprofits across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

A full list of these projects can be found here, but we’ve also highlighted a handful of examples to show this incredible work in action.

To these nonprofits and all individuals and organizations serving the common good of our region, we say thank you. Thank you for your spirit. Thank you for your commitment and resilience. And thank you for giving us a reason to be hope-filled about what is to come.


A large facility and a green lawn.
  • Alaskans struggling with addiction will receive new support from the addition of staff at Set Free Alaska. 


Three students look through microscopes in a classroom.
  • The purchase of a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS) system will help facilitate additional work by researchers at College of Idaho as they study plant chemistry and xenobiotic metabolism.



  • Bravo Youth Orchestras will add new staff to help expand their reach and serve more children and teens in the Portland area.
  • After moving around the state of Oregon, Hope Equestrian Center will soon have its own, permanent home with a brand new facility.
  • By building a new, permanent home, De La Salle North Catholic High School will be able to serve a diverse collection of students in Northeast Portland.
  • A new documentary by Children’s Literacy Project will help engage new volunteers and supporters as they seek to serve under resourced schools and vulnerable students.


  • In it’s 100th grant from the Murdock Trust, researchers at the University of Washington in the fields of mechanical engineering, robotics, material science, computer science and medicine will gain valuable support through the purchase of new 3D printing and mechanical testing equipment.
  • More children in Washington’s foster care system will receive valuable support as Embrace Washington hires a new Executive Director.
  • Washington State University will acquire a new high-throughput, automated Aquatics Phenomics System serving research in biomedical, agricultural and conservation fields.
  • An exhibit space expansion at Imagine Children’s Museum will allow the Everett facility to serve more children, teens and families.

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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.