M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

I am both joyful and humbled to write this letter to you and share my first Quarterly Grants Report as the CEO of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. I am honored to have the opportunity to continue Jack Murdock’s legacy through the work of the Murdock Trust.  I am motivated by our mission to enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest in creative and sustainable ways through impactful grant-making and enrichment programs. I am inspired by our grantees, collaborators, and strategic partners who work every day to improve the common good in so many different ways. As I have walked through my first 90 days at the Trust, one of the questions I am asked most often is what are the challenges and opportunities I see ahead for our organization, the philanthropic sector, and the nonprofit community. The answer to both questions is the same – how we will respond to change and the pressures of polarization. 

A collage of six photos of grantees

We have been in a protracted period of significant historic change that has affected us physically, mentally, socially, and politically. We will continue to face the tailwinds and headwinds of change as we navigate the social, political, and cultural fabrics of our community. These changes range from the way technology has influenced how we connect and where we work to the very local impacts of global supply chain issues on everyday life. Charles Darwin wisely noted that “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” If we as individuals, as leaders, as organizations of service, and as communities ignore the challenges and opportunities presented by change, we risk failure in our desire to serve our constituents and communities. However, if we can seize avenues to adapt, refine, and improve our approach to how we work and engage, we can all continue to flourish in our service to the common good.

I am optimistic that we can emerge stronger and more resilient during this important time. As we navigate our way toward new solutions to some of our most intractable challenges, we will need to face the forces of polarization head on.  History tells us that times like these require those who seek the common good to listen, partner, and advocate well while working to strengthen the foundations of our democracy and tighten the fabric of our communities. 

Recently, the Murdock Trust staff had an opportunity to meet with several of our grantees in Northwest Washington as part of our annual staff retreat. We found great inspiration in the myriad ways these nonprofits have adapted to serve the evolving needs of their constituents in innovative ways. And this innovation is not restricted to one corner of one state. We are seeing example after example of resilience, creativity, and commitment to the common good across sectors and across our region. It is work that is underway today and work that will continue. In fact, our staff and Trustees had the opportunity to gain insight into some of the incredible work that will soon help serve and support individuals, families, and communities across the Pacific Northwest at our Summer Grants Meeting. Reviewing dozens of innovative projects, our board approved 81 new grants totaling more than $26.7 million to nonprofits serving Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. We have highlighted a few examples of this impressive work below, and a full list of our Summer 2022 Grantees can be found here.

In closing, I want to thank all of you who have reached out to help welcome me to the Murdock Trust over the last several months. I am excited for the opportunity to meet with you and learn more about how you are working to serve the common good. I wish you all a joyous fall season!

Romanita Hairston

CEO, Murdock Trust


A broader array of campers will have access to outdoor experiences as Alaska Huts Association expands outdoor camping facilities.

A man watches building supplies arrive


Mobile mammography equipment will allow Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics to provide rural women with valuable healthcare services.

Low-income families will gain access to affordable housing as Habitat for Humanity of North Idaho adds new staff.

A collage of two photos of Murdock Trust grantees


Individuals and families living with physical and developmental disabilities will gain more support as Eagle Mount Bozeman adds staff.

Shodair Children’s Hospital will serve the mental health needs of more children through a new facility.

A collage of two photos of Murdock Trust grantees from our Summer Quarterly Grants Report


NW Children’s Theater will soon have a new home as they move to Portland’s downtown theatre district.

New staff will help the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund grow its research into this tragic illness.

Economically disadvantaged students in Portland will receive valuable support in their pursuit of higher education as Minds Matter Portland adds new staff.

New staff at the Boy Scouts of America Oregon Trail Council will help the nonprofit reach and serve more youth.

A collage of four photos of Murdock Trust grantees from our Summer Quarterly Grants Report


A new exhibit space at the Harbor History Museum will help bring to life the unique maritime history of Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

New headquarters will allow ADA Developers Academy to engage more women in software development training.

Improved facility infrastructure will help Camp Korey better serve medically fragile campers and their families.

New staff at Speak with Purpose will help teens and young adults gain confidence through public speaking education.

A collage of four photos of Murdock Trust grantees from our Summer Quarterly Grants Report
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