M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Welcome the “New” and Cherish the Past

A collage of photos from nonprofits that received grants from the Murdock Trust in Fall 2022; photos include a woman standing in front of art, a young child learning science, two girls acting on stage, a man loading a bale of hay onto a truck, a mom and her daughter, and a person riding a horse outside.

The start of a new year often presents the opportunity for renewal and reflection. During what can be a full and overflowing holiday season, there are also moments to catch our collective breath as we gather with family and friends to take in the beauty and joy of deep and meaningful relationships.  Our work with so many nonprofits also illuminates that the holiday season can bring with it challenges, which only emphasize the importance of working for the common good across a variety of sectors. Like many organizations, we also reflect on the successes and challenges of the previous 12 months and develop plans to guide our work in the coming year. While I am not a New Year’s resolution person, I do believe in seasons.  The symbolism of a fresh calendar, a new day, a new month, and a new year encourages us to set new goals and establish new positive habits personally and professionally. In our homes and our offices, we zoom in on the opportunity to achieve positive outcomes that await with the “new”: new strategies, new processes, and new approaches.

The embrace of what is new must be accompanied by the appropriate balance between the introduction of the new while maintaining the success of the past. This is foundational to achieving true renewal. 

This is a concept I have kept top of mind as I have lived into my role as CEO of the Trust for the last six months. As in any leadership transition, our team expected to see some areas of change and adjustment with a new CEO. But it was imperative to me that we not pursue change for change’s sake. In my work with the Trust’s leadership, we continue to ask ourselves, “How can we hold onto the foundation that has served the Trust so well for 47 years, and also reach for new strategies and processes that will help serve the emerging needs of our community? How can we improve our approach to serving the common good without sacrificing decades of knowledge and successful outcomes?”

A collage of Fall 2022 Murdock Trust grantees; photos include two individuals playing trumpet, a woman looking at an alligator through a tank, a small machine, a group of students holding quilts, a woman wearing cap and gown receiving her degree, and a group of men outside posing for the camera.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to update you in the coming months on the work of our team and how we are building on the success of the past to serve the needs of the future. Before we dive into the excitement of the new year, I wanted to first share a bit of news that came to life at the end of 2022.

As the year ended, our Trustees met to review a variety of fantastic grant proposals from a diverse group of organizations serving Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. I’m thrilled to share that our Trustees approved 82 new grants, totaling more than $28.6 million to nonprofits across the Pacific Northwest.  We’ve highlighted a few of these incredible organizations below and you can find a full list of our Fall Grantees here (link).

This brought our overall grantmaking in 2022 to 563 grants totaling $130.4 million (a new single-year record for giving by the Trust). Since opening our doors in 1975, the Murdock Trust has granted more than $1.3 billion to nonprofits serving the common good.

While I am honored to share these numbers with you, I want to underscore that they represent so much more than a single meeting or a single investment. We believe the fruit of our labor grows on the trees of others. The work of the Trust only exists because of the commitment of countless individuals and organizations, day after day, year after year, to give selflessly in service to the common good across sectors and geographies. This work is brought to life by the commitment and dedication of leaders who “light the way” by ensuring that the vision is clear, the goals are embraced, and obstacles to achieving both are consistently removed. We are grateful for their work and humbled to play a small role in supporting their mission yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I look forward to sharing more of the work of the Trust and our partners as we move through the coming year. On behalf of the Murdock Trust team, we wish you a joyous start to the new year and look forward to seeing the outstanding work of the nonprofit sector change lives.

Romanita Hairston



New staff at The Foraker Group will provide increased support to nonprofits navigating their own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion journey.

A space renovation by Seldovia Village Tribe will provide increased access to healthcare resources to residents in Homer.

A facility expansion will allow Cook Inlet Tribal Council to grow its work to deliver STEM education programs and connect residents with digital technologies.

A collage of photos from Alaska nonprofits that received grants from the Murdock Trust in Fall 2022; photos include a group of people inside, a young girl smiling as she decorates a box, and a young child in a sack race.


Exhibit and facility updates will help Zoo Boise prepare to serve more children, individuals, and families in the coming years.

A photo from Zoo Boise, a Fall 2022 Murdock Trust grantee, of three people smiling next to a giraffe


New staff at the Helena Area Community Foundation will help the organization expand the vital services it provides to the people of Montana.

Veterans will receive valuable rehabilitation support as Heroes and Horses completes construction on a new facility.

A collage of photos from Fall 2022 Murdock Trust grantees in Montana, including a photo of a woman wearing reflective gear outside near cars and a man carrying saddles out of a barn to some horses.


New staff at Portland Taiko will help the cultural arts organization reach more youth through educational programs and outreach.

Habitat for Humanity of La Pine Sunriver will double its housing support to families in need through the addition of new staff.

New staff at South Lane Mental Health Services will help provide culturally appropriate support for local residents in need of care.

Startup research grants in biology, chemistry, and physics will help support the scientific research work of faculty at Lewis and Clark College.

A collage of Fall 2022 Murdock Trust grantees from Oregon, including photos of people playing drums outside, a woman holding up new keys, three individuals doing a science experiment in a lab, and a new facility.


New staff at Child’s Play will help the nonprofit provide more support to children in hospitals across the region.

A new facility in Seattle will help KNKX expand its studio space to continue to improve its news coverage, entertainment, and community engagement offerings.

A two-year strategic initiative will help Seattle University reimagine its curriculum to better incorporate and address pressing modern challenges, such as climate change, racial justice, and rapid technological change.

Women living in poverty will gain additional job training, employment opportunities, support, and resources as Christ Kitchen adds new staff.

A collage of photos from nonprofits that received grants from the Murdock Trust in Fall 2022; photos include a child looking at medical equipment, a news broadcaster interviewing someone by the water, someone preparing a meal wearing a mask, and students writing on a whiteboard.

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