We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.Dorothy Day
As we reflect on our past, it is fair to note that every calendar year contains its own collection of historic moments. Instances both good and bad that carry such enormous weight within our community that they will forever define a given day, season or year. Despite this trend of living history in some way every year, 2020 felt unique when considered against our more recent past. This was due in large part to the overall number of once-in-a-generation and once-in-a-lifetime events that converged over the span of a few months. But there was a second factor at work that will forever make 2020 stand out in our collective memory.
By definition, the safety guidelines in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 brought isolation to individuals, friends and families from one another. This was necessary based on all available scientific data, but it also addressed one crisis by creating a second—the loss of community.
When we look back on those historic moments of previous years, a common factor is how we turned to one another in celebration or sorrow. We found strength by connecting, supporting or just being with one another, be it discussing the news with a close friend over coffee, bonding with coworkers as challenges unfolded during a workday or gathering with neighbors, family or a faith community. In 2020, these methods of connection were short circuited or largely taken away.
One of the great joys of our work at the Murdock Trust is having a front row seat to watch how organizations serving a diverse array of individuals, families and communities throughout our region can find innovative, nimble, culturally and contextually appropriate solutions to emerging challenges. Over the course of 2020, we were awed and inspired as we saw so many nonprofits rapidly pivot and adapt their programs to ensure that they could safely retain their connection to the individuals and families they served, creating a remarkable sense of community in new ways. This report contains only a small sample of the myriad examples of this tireless commitment at work.
As I reflect on the work of 2020, I am also grateful for the team we have here at the Murdock Trust and the partners who help support our work by listening carefully and interacting regularly with us and those we serve. I am proud of how we were able to join the nonprofit, philanthropic, business, government and faith-based communities in rapidly adapting our grantmaking, our enrichment programs and our overall business strategy to find meaningful ways to help invest in building the capacity of the individuals and organizations on the front lines of these historic needs, as well as those looking ahead to the needs that have and will ripple for some time to come.
As the honorable John Lewis once said, “If you come together with a mission, and it is grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.”
On behalf of the entire Murdock Trust team, we salute and say THANK YOU to those who continue to serve the common good!
Serving on the Front Lines
2020 was a year of unforeseen events that challenged our communities in incredible ways. We were fortunate to be in a position to partner with nonprofits that quickly and efficiently delivered services directly to the individuals, families and businesses that were most affected by the events in the last year. These four videos highlight some of these amazing nonprofits.
Responding to the Unthinkable
Throughout 2020, the unthinkable became the common place. Early in the year, our Trustees recognized that the communities we serve would need both immediate support for urgent matters as well as continued support for long-term recovery and healing.
They committed to continue our quarterly grants program at full strength, providing support for organizations working to ensure every individual, family and community has an opportunity to flourish and thrive. They also agreed that the Murdock Trust would provide additional emergency support to targeted organizations serving on the front lines in response to these historic challenges.
COVID-19 Emergency Support Grants
As awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic grew, staff identified several sectors of service that aligned with the Murdock Trust’s core mission. Working in real time to adapt our existing grant application to a more streamlined process, staff were able to deploy more than $15.3 million to organizations serving on the front lines of the pandemic, from scientific researchers seeking to understand the virus to healthcare professionals treating those who were ill to food banks helping ensure no family would go hungry as a result of economic challenges to so many more outstanding organizations serving in diverse ways.
Emergency Fire Relief and Rebuilding Support
Communities already struggling against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic were dealt another heartbreaking blow as summer drew to a close. Wildfire season is an anticipated occurrence every year along the West Coast. However, a hot, dry August was followed by days of historic winds. While often contained to more rural areas of the state, blazes in Oregon rapidly grew to historic levels and spread into densely populated urban and suburban communities, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate. Leveraging the framework we developed in our COVID-19 response, the Murdock Trust contributed $680,000 to a collection of nonprofits offering frontline support and resources to those impacted by the tragic fires.
We remain grateful to the multitude of individuals and organizations that have put their own safety and well-being at risk throughout this year to provide support to individuals and families most in need.
Our Grantees at Work
Our work at the Murdock Trust would not be possible without the thousands of nonprofits we are proud to partner with across the Pacific Northwest. These organizations serve countless individuals and communities through programs in arts and culture, education, health, human services and scientific research. Below is just a fraction of the many incredible organizations that received a grant in 2020. More detailed grants data ›
I have found great joy in meeting many of you during my first year at the Murdock Trust, learning more about your thoughtful public service and ways you have displayed an entrepreneurial spirit and steadfastness as you serve the community. In working with you, we have encountered tremendous delight and genuine pride. The Murdock Trust invests in you and your organizations for a simple reason: you are the shapers, creators and preservers of the core convictions which the Trust holds dear.
Here at the Trust, we are reminded of the reliable dictum that if all politics are local, the greater good must be too. Our mission at Murdock is not Waiting on the World to Change. We see positive change happening every day because we see you and what you are doing. What you do here in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska occupy most of our hopes, and when you deliver on your promises to your constituents, the global village will increasingly look our way for inspiration. You are feeding the poor, investing in local economies, running venerable institutions of higher education and so much more.
During 2020, each of you has been asked by your constituencies to engage in downhill skiing on unfamiliar peaks. Your slalom courses required you to clock new speeds around each turn and face new obstacles. It is our desire to offer both new and ongoing enrichment programs to tackle these difficult and persistent challenges. In 2020 we were able to offer 19 new trainings and webinars in addition to moving all traditional enrichment programming online. Other highlights included launching rapid response executive coaching to directors leading 200 faith-based organizations. We listened and encouraged as we heard these leaders process time-sensitive decisions, new strategies, cancelled galas and new fundraising efforts, expanded communication to constituents and care for their organizational teams. We hope the trainings, convenings, conferences, leadership cohorts and programs we offer can help continue to strengthen and equip you and your team as you continue to race. From putting on sneakers to crossing the finish line, it is an honor to partner with you.
Senior Program Director for Enrichment
Changing Faces in 2020
Total Assets, Grants Approved, & Grants Paid
Hover over the graph for more information. Amounts in thousands. Example: $1,140,574 = $1,140,574,000
- Cash & Alternative Cash
- Hedge Funds
- Long U.S. Treasuries
- Real Estate (lower risk)
- Private Credit/Mezzanine (lower risk)
- Public Equity
- Private Credit/Mezzanine (higher risk)
- Real Estate (higher risk)
- Distressed Debt
- Private Equity Secondaries
- Private Equity
- Venture Capital
2020 marked 45 years of the Murdock Trust, and we celebrated this anniversary because of the tireless and invaluable work of countless individuals and organizations across the Pacific Northwest. We often say that the fruit of our labor grows on the trees of others, and this has never been more apparent than in 2020, a year of incredible challenges where we saw nonprofits meet the needs of their communities like never before.
Meet Jack Murdock
The late Melvin J. “Jack” Murdock, co-founder of Tektronix, Inc., was an entrepreneurial leader with business interests throughout the Pacific Northwest. Born and raised in southeast Portland, Jack turned a passion for radio and electronics repair into one of the largest employers in Oregon’s history through innovation and a commitment to building a workplace where his team could thrive.
Upon his untimely death in 1971, his will directed three Trustees to establish a charitable trust “to nurture and enrich the educational, cultural, social and spiritual lives of individuals, families and community.”
To serve individuals, families and communities across the Pacific Northwest by providing grants and enrichment programs to organizations that strengthen the region’s educational, social, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.