M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
A collage of three photos. The top left is a group of four college students around a library table; the top right is a mother holding her young daughter in her arms and smiling; the bottom is an ariel photo of a college campus
Top Left: College of Idaho; Top Right: Mountain Home Montana; Bottom: Washington State University

We are officially entering the period of the new year where resolutions start to lose their momentum. After a few weeks back in the rhythm of email and meetings, the enthusiasm behind a decision to make a significant life change around our health, our finances, our work, or our relationships can dip. Change can be hard and can take quite a bit of mental energy and willpower to maintain and implement. While I have not made many resolutions, I do understand their power and the motivation behind them. I have tended to focus on taking time to reflect through the new year and made a habit of creating space to find opportunities for renewal to take root in my heart and in my life.  

I spoke about this a bit last year when discussing how our team is approaching our work and vision for the Murdock Trust. When we make a resolution, often this is about change. About something in our lives that is not serving us well and that we want or need to do differently. This can be a helpful strategy in some cases. Reflection, as an alternative focus, approaches our life and work through a different lens. Reflection expands our ability to do a 360-degree review of our lives; we see what is serving us, what is not serving us, and where we have questions. We can then choose to build on what is working, to repair what is not working, or to explore where we have questions. Whichever road or combination of roads we take, I believe renewal is at the end of them. What emerges from our reflection is opportunities for new, fresh life, which can point us to reach beyond what we want to change, to what we need to change. Renewal fuels our soul to take what we find through gratitude and honest assessment and make it even better. 

In the next few months, our team will officially introduce some exciting updates to the work of the Murdock Trust as we fully realize our new sectoral model. We have done this work with a commitment to what we call “evergreen donor intent.” We consider how the values and original donor intent of our benefactor, Jack Murdock, apply to our current times. While issues and solutions change and evolve, we can hold fast to the values that guide our approach and shape our strategies. In fact, it is one reason Jack structured the Murdock Trust as he did, noting that he could not predict what the needs of our community would be in the decades following his passing. It is a structure that has served us well. Our ongoing goal is to improve the experience of those we serve. We seek to leverage technology, data, and real-time feedback from our constituents to fine-tune and level up our impact. 

As we take our first steps into 2024, it is my hope that you will join me in embracing the value of reflection and the vital role it plays in our renewal. I am grateful for each of you and your service. Thank you for building, repairing, and exploring so that your service to individuals, families, and communities is improved.  

Wishing you a blessed new year and an inspired season of renewal.

-Romanita Hairston, CEO

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