M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

It’s easy to think of innovation as the game-changing discoveries that reshape our society, like the internet, the mobile phone, or the electric car. But in reality, innovation happens all around us every day because, at its core, innovation is the process of taking something that exists and making it better by introducing something new – a new idea, a new process, a new method of thinking. Every day, smart, hardworking people are innovating to solve the modern challenges we face by looking at what exists through a new lens. 

Our benefactor, Jack Murdock, was an innovator. Jack’s work with Howard Vollum at Tektronix began when the pair identified a way to improve the oscilloscope, which increased its efficacy and substantially increased its application potential across technologies. Jack believed in the power of innovation to improve the quality of life for individuals. He believed that innovation could help provide opportunity for every individual to live just a little bit better and for our communities to serve those in need in more impactful ways. Over the years, Jack personally mentored countless members of his team at Tektronix, encouraging them to follow their ideas and strike out on their own. In many cases, Jack personally invested in these technological innovations to help bring their life-changing potential to light. These investments are considered a significant contributor to the growth of Portland’s “Silicon Forest.”  

But as much as innovation is linked to technology, it can exist anywhere and everywhere, across sectors and disciplines. One of the great joys of the work at the Murdock Trust is that we have a front row seat to behold the ways the nonprofit sector is bringing new, innovative thinking to help address the intractable challenges facing the Pacific Northwest region and beyond. 

Every year the Murdock Trust seeks to share the stories of our grantees and examine the work underway in our sectors. One of our favorite projects is our annual video, a series of pieces designed to shed light on important work being done in sectors we serve. In the last few years, we’ve had the chance to look at the ecosystem of services collaborating to help individuals and families escape the cycle of homelessness. We’ve looked at the myriad of ways the arts help our communities flourish while preserving the culture and history of our region. We shared examples of the brave spirit of those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those serving at food banks, community foundations, in healthcare, and in scientific research. All of these programs are examples of innovation at work in our communities and we are grateful to support these efforts. 

For this year’s annual video project, we wanted to take a closer look at some of the innovative solutions at play in the region. We are excited to share three videos that spotlight ways organizations are finding new ways to collaborate and solve challenging problems facing individuals and families in the Pacific Northwest and around the country. 

It is this spirit of creativity, service, and collaboration that helps change lives and fulfil the promise of the nonprofit sector. We are grateful to these groups and so many more working tirelessly to serve the common good in new ways. On behalf of our team, I hope that you enjoy these pieces and find inspiration in their innovative approach to service.  

Romanita Hairston 

CEO, Murdock Trust 

Supporting Success in the Classroom

Education can be better served by reimagining the way we support our children.

Helping Individuals Find a Safe Home

New models of service and community development are helping address the housing crisis.

Creating Access for Health

Healthcare needs are served by thinking differently about how we connect people to the individuals who can provide care and support.

Our sincere thanks to Code Girls United, Sound Discipline, My House Youth Housing, Bridge Meadows, LEAP Housing, Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation, and Every Body Athletics for their contributions to these conversations.

We also wish to thank the outstanding team at Windrider who continue to elevate nonprofits across our region with their incredible storytelling!

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.