M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Pauline Fong named Chief Program and Impact Officer of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust 

Fong one of five key leadership promotions announced by the nonprofit foundation

June 15, 2023 

Vancouver Wa. – Today, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announced that Pauline Fong has been offered and accepted the role of Chief Program and Impact Officer (CPIO). Selected through a national search process, managed by Good Citizen, that fielded over 400 inquiries and 200 applications, Fong will oversee the grants and programming efforts of the Murdock Trust in the new role. 

“Pauline distinguished herself from the field through her unique background of cross-sectoral experience that is anchored in nonprofit and philanthropic leadership, as well as her robust understanding of, and connection to, the mission and work of the Murdock Trust,” said Romanita Hairston, Murdock Trust CEO. “We could not be happier with this promotion for Pauline and for her commitment to serving the work of the Trust moving forward.” 

Fong has served as a program director and internal team leader at the Trust for seven years where she has also led the foundation’s Women in Leadership enrichment program. Prior to joining the Trust, she invested more than 20 years of her career at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, serving in a variety of roles developing leaders and supporting student development across the Pacific Northwest. 

The CPIO recruitment process is one part of a broader structural evolution that was referenced in the CEO nine-month update to align the foundation’s work to a thoughtfully designed sectoral model. Through this broader transition, the need became clear for additional leadership to guide and drive specific areas of work to enable greater agility and capacity to ensure the CPIO is positioned for success. In addition to the announcement of the CPIO position, the Trust is pleased to announce the promotion of four other leaders within the organization who will play key roles in the development of and transition to this new model.  

Jill Lemke is promoted to Vice President, Grants Management and Training. Lemke will partner with the CEO and CPIO to drive the restructure of the Trust’s grants management team and process within the sectoral model. In addition, she will assume responsibility for training all new program directors and ultimately serve as one of the Trust’s sectoral leads. Lemke has served the Trust since 2009. 

Kimberly Thornbury, Ph.D., is promoted to Vice President, Nonprofit Leadership and Development. Thornbury will continue her outstanding work leading the Trust’s Enrichment team as it develops and refines assessment strategies for the future of programming at the Trust, as well as oversee the execution of existing, cross-sector programs such as Leadership Now and Board Leadership. With this remit comes the increased responsibility for framing the Trust’s approach to learning, assessment, and outcomes for programmatic work. Thornbury joined the Trust in 2019 after building a career over 25 years in higher education. 

Moses Lee, Ph.D., is promoted to Vice President, Scientific Research Grants and Programming. Lee will continue to lead the foundation’s work in this well-established sector to include strategic grants, initiative grants, convenings, and organizational representation in the scientific and academic community. He will also continue to lead efforts driving science-focused programming, such as the Murdock College Science Research (MCSR) program. Lee has served the Trust for a decade following 24 years of service to the sciences in higher education. 

And finally, Colby Reade is promoted to Senior Director of Strategy and Communications. This role merges Reade’s existing responsibilities overseeing communications for the Trust with responsibility for strategic planning across work streams and the Trust’s values framework. He will also oversee the shared service function for events. He joined the Trust in 2017 after beginning his communications career in 2003. 

“I want to congratulate Jill, Kimberly, Moses, and Colby on this milestone and thank them for their continued dedication to the Trust’s mission,” added Hairston. “All four have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their areas of expertise, both at the Trust and within the community we serve. I am grateful for their commitment to our mission and for their service of the common good.” 

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 8,300 grants totaling more than $1.3 billion. For more information, find the Murdock Trust on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and on our website


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