M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Throughout the years, the Murdock Trust has been blessed to host a variety of convenings for the purpose of gathering diverse members of organizations to learn from one another, further connections, and build relationships. Most recently, the Trust organized a convening for organizations that use fly fishing to serve their communities, drawing participants from as far away as Georgia and Texas. For these nonprofits, fly fishing is a chance to serve those experiencing mental and physical disabilities, healing from psychological or physical trauma, or experiencing an illness.  The goal of this convening was to provide a space for executive directors of these organizations to build or strengthen connections and allow leaders to come together, take notes, seek/give advice, and find ways to continue growing their own organizations.  

We were fortunate to have one member from our Board of Trustees, John W. Castles, be present during the convening, as well as Ken Weigel from the Bible Project to lead the facilitating of conversations and questions. During this time, participants were led through three different table discussions focusing on organizational growth, fundraising, and sustainability. They were asked questions such as: 

  • What are your biggest growth challenges? How are you overcoming these challenges? 
  • How do you currently fundraise? What are the challenges? 
  • What is your current business model? What are the pros and cons? What needs to change? 

Through these conversations, participants shared many takeaways, including: 

  • Pride/encouragement in the work done by all of the organizations represented. 
  • Organizational health strategies and opportunities to continue growing and strengthening organizations.  
  • The opportunity to meet peers in the same field, make connections, build relationships, and have a contact list of all who were present.  
  • The intersection of fly-fishing meeting societal needs and finding ways to continue serving those in the community. 

After the convening adjourned, there was an optional fly-fishing casting clinic available to participants. This was led by Gary Borger, an award-winning fly-fisherman, and one of the world’s foremost fly-fishing educators since 1972. Gary led the group through the history of fly-fishing and its techniques as well as demonstrating how to cast a rod. 

A special thanks to Kimberly Thornbury, Bob King, Victor Sheldon, and Ken Weigel for their help in organizing this convening and offering a gathering space for those who are invested in serving their communities through fly fishing.  

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