M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Murdock Trust executive director, Steve Moore, recently shared the below message with a group of our partners following the tumultuous first days of 2021. As our region considers steps to move forward, we felt it appropriate to share Steve’s words here as well.


“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.”― Roger Crawford


There is a special energy that seems to fill our lives as December fades to January. The New Years transition marks a natural moment for reflection upon accomplishments and successes of one period while giving time to begin planning for what we hope to achieve in the next. We consider the lessons learned through one cycle of our life and how we might apply that knowledge to our next cycle.


Every year carries enormous weight filled with joys and sorrows, new growth and learnings. That said, we all know that 2020 has been one of the most consequential years in our collective history. One need not be reminded of how our communities faced wave after wave of historic challenges, each one on a scale we often see only once a generation.


And while we wish that when we turn the page on the calendar in January we could also ‘close the door’ on the difficulties, pain and grief that were a part of 2020, we know that the realities of life do not honor the artificial boundaries of a calendar. But at the same time, we also know the joys, unexpected lessons and wisdom from a challenging year go with us in to 2021. And we do have many reasons to hope.


We have hope because of the discovery and distribution of vaccines and continued healing work of healthcare workers.


We have hope because of the steady work for justice, reconciliation and equity as relationships, systems and institutions continue to change and grow for the good of all.


We have hope because of the commitments and actions of leaders and citizens to overcome the damage done by extremists with deliberate bridgebuilding, dialogue and partnerships for the common good.


We have hope because every day we hear and see individuals and organizations who are working in neighborhoods, communities and all parts of the northwest to help children, families and all parts of society to heal, grow, recover and flourish. We have seen democracy work. It is not perfect. We know, as Lincoln reminded us, for democracy to continue to improve and work, we must insist that each citizen “have malice toward none with charity for all.”

Each person in business, education, science, healthcare, the arts and in every sector of society must work to improve the character of our nation. When each of us encourages community, understanding and grace we help heal and strengthen our character and our institutions.


Like all of you, these challenges weigh heavily on the hearts of our team at the Murdock Trust. We condemn those who turn to violence and intimidation, those who reject the rule of law and seek to lead through fear. We know that the great prize of democracy must be won and won continually through contributions, collaboration and connection by us all. It is not a perfect system, but it can work and achieve great things when we all are willing to work together in the spirit of a common good.


When we reflect on the enormity of 2020, for all the sadness contained in those twelve months, we have seen these same principles generate example after example of joy, of reason for optimism and hope.

I could fill reams of pages with examples like this. We remain awed and inspired by the tireless dedication of the individuals and organizations of our nonprofit sector who work to serve and support the common good. Now and always we say to those who serve the diverse needs of our region THANK YOU for all that you do.


These examples have brought to us so many helpful lessons in collaboration, innovation and partnership. We want to hear what important lessons you and your teams will be taking away from 2020 and applying to 2021. We would love if you would send them to our Communications Director, Colby Reade, colbyr@murdocktrust.org so that we can share them more broadly with our constituents.


We look forward to continuing to partner with you in this new year. In the meantime, on behalf of the entire Murdock Trust staff, we thank you for your continued commitment to serve the common good and wish you a joyous, healthy 2021.

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