M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Steve Moore Announces Plans to Retire as

CEO of M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Trustees launch national search for successor

June 30, 2021

For Immediate Release

A man wearing a blue sweater smiles for the camera.

(Vancouver, WA) – The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announced today that Steve Moore will retire as chief executive in 2022 after leading the innovative nonprofit foundation for 15 years.

“There are not appropriate words to describe the impact Steve Moore has had on the Murdock Trust and the contributions he has made to our partners, the organizations we serve, and the broader Pacific Northwest community,” said John Castles, trustee, Murdock Trust. “He has helped build and strengthen a culture of thoughtful generosity that will ripple positively through our community for many, many years to come. We are eternally grateful for all that he has done to steward Jack Murdock’s legacy and advance our mission. He will always be a part of the work of the Murdock Trust, and we hope to build on the great work that has been done to continue to serve individuals, families, and communities across the Pacific Northwest.”

“Under Steve Moore’s leadership, the Murdock Trust has been a true partner in our work and in the work of so many others throughout Oregon and the broader Pacific Northwest region,” said Steve Bass, president and CEO, OPB. “Where some can view the relationship between nonprofit and funder as transactional, Steve, his team, and the board of the Murdock Trust have invested in a long term relationship with us. They take the long view and have sought to find opportunities to help support our work in thoughtful ways that help build and grow our capacity to serve communities across our region. We are so grateful for Steve’s vision and leadership and our team is stronger because of his investment in and commitment to our work.”

Under Moore’s leadership, the Murdock Trust has invested more than $720 million through more than 4,000 grants to nonprofits, grown the endowment to over $2 billion, expanded the foundation’s Enrichment programs that provide development and educational programs to nonprofit leaders and organizations, served as a catalytic investor in the Vancouver Waterfront renaissance, and invested thoughtfully in helping organizations find common ground to solve complex challenges facing the diverse communities of the region.

“Serving the legacy of Jack Murdock and supporting countless individuals and organizations through our work has been a great privilege and honor for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to now engage in a purposeful transition that will continue this important work into the future,” said Moore. “I want to thank the trustees for their partnership and support over the last 15 years, as well as the amazing staff and adjunct faculty who I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from and who will continue to serve our mission. The work of the Murdock Trust is in great hands, and we have an amazing team. I also want to express my gratitude to all of the partners, nonprofits, fellow funders, and members of our faith community who I have had the opportunity to collaborate with during my time here. The spirit of service and generosity is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest, and I cannot wait to see what amazing work is to come.

“Most importantly, I want to thank my wife, Thanne, my children, my family, and all of my friends and colleagues who have helped support me through my challenges and accomplishments. I am eternally grateful for their love and confidence.”

Moore is the fourth chief executive in the Murdock Trust’s 46-year history and has the longest tenure of those who have held the position. Under his leadership, the leadership of the trustees, and of his team, the Murdock Trust provided creative and innovative solutions in service to the community, especially during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and associated crises. He will continue to lead the Murdock Trust until a successor is in place to ensure the work of the organization serving its constituencies proceeds uninterrupted. Upon his departure, Moore plans to continue to work on advancing the practices of generosity, stewardship, and effective philanthropy. The nonprofit foundation has launched a national search for candidates with plans to have named a successor in early 2022.

15 Years of Service

Steve Moore joined the Murdock Trust in 2006 following a distinguished career in academia, including senior leadership roles with Texas Tech University, Baylor University, Seattle Pacific University, and Asbury Theological Seminary. During his time at Seattle Pacific, Steve first became acquainted with the Murdock Trust from the grantee perspective. When Neal Thorpe stepped down from his role at the head of the Murdock Trust in 2006, Moore was one of the first candidates considered as his successor.

“Leading an organization like the Murdock Trust requires a unique skillset,” said Castles. “There is, of course, a need for innovative business acumen, but also an inherent understanding of the unique challenges and requirements facing nonprofit organizations. We serve five sectors with very different needs—arts and culture, healthcare, education, human services, and scientific research. We also serve a very diverse region which calls for an innate openness to engage with a wide array of individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Steve brings a natural warmth in his leadership that helps people feel comfortable and connected. We were appreciative of Steve’s experience, leadership, and background almost immediately. Clearly, our instincts were right.”

While Moore’s tenure is marked by several significant successes and examples of organizational growth, he also helped steward the foundation through two of the most difficult moments in its history.

“The economic turmoil of 2008 and ensuing Great Recession and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic presented extremely difficult challenges,” said Jeff Grubb, trustee, Murdock Trust. “In both cases, nonprofits faced unprecedented need in serving communities across our region while resources and contributions were challenged. Due in large part to the leadership of Steve and his team, the Murdock Trust was able to find innovative ways to help support these organizations so they could come out stronger on the other side of these challenging times.”

Search for a New Leader

Moore has shared that deciding to step down is partially driven by the values of the Murdock Trust.

“Leaving as CEO of the Murdock Trust is not an easy decision, but I believe that it aligns with and models the principles we teach,” said Moore. “We advocate for a thoughtful, intentional process in succession planning. We advocate for long-term planning. After 15 years, it is time for new leadership to be at the table to help lead into the next season of our work. I want to ensure the organization has ample opportunity to find the right person to help steward our mission to nurture and enrich the educational, cultural, social, and spiritual fabric of the Pacific Northwest.”

The Murdock Trust has engaged CarterBaldwin to conduct a national search for a new chief executive. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the firm is recognized by organizations such as Forbes and Hunt Scanlon as one of the top executive search firms in the country with an extensive background in serving local, regional, and national nonprofits. CarterBaldwin has begun the process by soliciting feedback from various stakeholders that work with and are also served by the Murdock Trust, including listening sessions and a process to gather feedback digitally.

“Steve Moore brought an incredible collection of gifts, experiences, and leadership capabilities to our organization,” said Jeff Pinneo, trustee, Murdock Trust. “While it is tempting to look for ‘another Steve,’ it is important that we take a step back and consider what the profile for a new chief executive in the coming decade will need to encompass. What skills will serve us for the work of the Murdock Trust to come? What opportunities may exist on the horizon that a different professional or educational or experiential background may help us better pursue? We feel it is critical that we engage the diverse array of stakeholders we work with every day to ensure we are gathering a robust picture as to who this new leader needs to be.”

In addition to the full-time staff of the Murdock Trust, the new CEO will be supported by a broad collection of partners that includes senior fellows, visiting scholars, and other senior leaders representing a wide diversity of backgrounds and perspectives who help advance the mission of the foundation.

The search firm has begun listening sessions with a diverse collection of stakeholders which will continue through the month of July. Partners and community members may also share their thoughts by emailing the search team at MurdockCEO@CarterBaldwin.com

About M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The Murdock Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational, spiritual, and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. Since its inception in 1975, the Trust has awarded more than 7,500 grants totaling more than $1.2 billion. For more information, find the Murdock Trust on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and on our website.


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.