M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

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!

Steven G.W. Moore
Executive Director

Responding to the Unthinkable

World Relief
Alaska Community Mental Health Services

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.

A Look
Back at


Total Granted


Grants Awarded


to Arts & Culture


to Education


to Health


to Human Services


to Scientific Research

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 ›

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All Grantees

Arts & Culture
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Scientific Research

Prince William Sound Science and Technology Institute

Since its founding in 1989, Prince William Sound Science Center has served as one of the world’s greatest living laboratories studying global change in the waters of the Gulf of Alaska. Through studying oil spill recoveries, changing fisheries, warming oceans, or melting glaciers, the Prince William Sound Science Center helps build the knowledge for a more resilient future. Recently expanding its campus and reach, a Trust grant supported the construction of and an administrative, research and education building on this new campus.

Alaska Behavioral Health

Providing therapy, case management and medical services centered around communities, Alaska Behavioral Health focuses on improving the lives of its clients through exceptional behavioral health care. To support its expanding work, the Trust provided a grant to help purchase a new facility. This new space will support its growing initiatives as well as provide space for a youth drop-in center. 

Alaska State Fair

For more than 80 years, the Alaska State Fair has been the state’s largest annual event, attracting more than 300,000 fairgoers from across all areas of the state each year for the 12-day event. Working to provide a center for the community to gather in a dynamic and safe atmosphere, the Fair aims to create statewide outreach, partnerships within the community and be a consistent economic contributor to the state and small businesses. To support the Fair’s long-term service to the state, the Trust provided a grant to support the rehabilitation of existing historic structures.

Outer Coast

Located in Sitka, Outer Coast provides a five-week summer seminar to a diverse group of high school juniors and seniors to engage in intensive, college-level courses in the humanities, physical and social sciences, Tlingit language and indigenous studies. Students also spend 20 hours each week completing large-scale service projects with local nonprofits. Outer Coast prioritizes students who are historically left behind, especially Alaska Natives and rural Alaskans. A Trust grant supported the addition of new staff to expand into a year-round, post-secondary program.

Mat Su Youth Housing

Founded in 2010, Mat Su Youth Housing serves youth who are living on the streets in Wasilla. Every year it serves 550 youth through transitional housing, job training and case management. In addition to transitional housing, it runs a drop-in center with two job training businesses to employ youth. A Trust grant helped Mat Su Youth Housing to purchase and renovate a building to be the new location of this drop-in center.

McCall Arts & Humanities Council

McCall Arts and Humanities Council works to nurture a community rich in culture through educational opportunities like a children’s theater program, placing local artists in elementary classrooms and creative classes for children and adults. Through the Trust’s capacity building support program, the Council is working to build its fundraising infrastructure that will in turn build its organizational capacity and help it offer more programs.

College of Idaho

Located in Caldwell, the College of Idaho is a private, liberal arts college with a student body of about 1,200. The College is recognized for its excellence in the natural sciences and has a well-supported undergraduate research program. As part of a long-term plan to build a campus-wide infrastructure to support undergraduate research, a Murdock Trust grant helped the College purchase a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer system, which will support researchers across departments.

Caribou Memorial Hospital

Caribou Memorial Hospital serves more than 7,000 residents in the rural area of Soda Springs. A CT scanner is an effective management tool to determine when surgeries are necessary, reducing the need for exploratory surgeries, improving cancer diagnosis and treatment and guiding treatment of common conditions such as injury, cardiac disease and stroke. The hospital’s CT scanner needed an upgrade, and a Murdock Trust grant helped purchase a new machine. One of the initiatives of the project was lowering dosage on pediatric patients to better serve children with medical needs.

Winter Wildlands Alliance

Based in Boise, Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national organization with the mission of protecting and preserving winter wildlands and the quality of human-powered snow sports experience on public lands across 13 states. Ever-increasing threats to our public lands and wild snowscapes necessitate a paradigm-shifting increase in the Alliance’s ability to mobilize its community to make a difference and to speak out in defense of the places they love. A membership director was hired to achieve this goal through the support of a Murdock Trust grant.

Boise State University

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men in the United States and is lethal due to its metastasis to other organs in the body. Inflammatory proteins may cause metastasis, and the development of drugs that targets these proteins could lead to new therapeutics. Through the Murdock Trust’s Partners in Science program, high school teacher Christian Jones will work with a researcher at Boise State University to conduct this research and bring it back to his high school classroom.

Alberta Bair Theater

The Alberta Bair Theater, located in downtown Billings, is the largest performing arts center in Montana, presenting outstanding local, national and international live performances to residents of south-central Montana and northern Wyoming. Its 1,400-seat theater presents about 120 public and school performances each year, drawing nearly 100,000 people annually. The Trust supported the Theater’s capital campaign to add restrooms to accommodate those with special needs, expand the lobby for better audience flow and update concessions, elevators and the ticket office. 

Montana State U. Billings Institute for Neurodiversity

Montana State University Billings serves more than 4,400 students through the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Health Professions and Science, the College of Business, the College of Education and the City College. MSU Billings is in the process of establishing an Institute for Neurodiversity clinic to serve children with mental, social and behavioral challenges and learning differences associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), developmental disabilities, anxiety disorders and other behavioral disabilities. The Trust helped fund the clinical and external facing portions of this Institute.

Dahl Memorial Healthcare Association

The Dahl Memorial Healthcare Association is a nonprofit critical access hospital for a remote section of southeastern Montana, located in Carter County, Ekalaka. Because of the geographic isolation and long distances between towns and health care, Carter County is designated as a Primary Care Healthcare Shortage Area. When Dahl Memorial was in need of updated medical equipment, the Trust provided a grant to fund these new machines. These updates are integral to providing the best care to patients throughout southeast Montana.

Child Bridge

Child Bridge works to support children who have suffered abuse or neglect. Working closely with the state and other agencies, Child Bridge finds and supports families who provide the safety and stability that these children so desperately need. Looking to expand Child Bridge’s operations and open a regional office in Helena in 2021, a Trust grant helped hire new staff, ultimately equipping more foster families to care for abused and neglected children in Montana.

University of Montana

Currently, no critical emergency large surface skin wound management products are available for first responders. University of Montana researchers aim to advance a versatile bioengineered large skin wound management system formulated from natural biomaterials to feel and look like skin and enhanced with additional design features to promote wound healing, suture-free fixation and to enable localized drug delivery. The Murdock Trust’s Commercialization Initiation program provided funding to support the commercialization of the university’s wound management system and bring it to market.


Since the founding of PLAYA’s residency program in 2011, PLAYA has hosted hundreds of nationally and internationally accomplished artists and scientists, free of charge, on its 55-acre campus in the remote “Oregon Outback.” On the shores of ephemeral Summer Lake, PLAYA gifts time and space for artists to do deep work in this region’s silence and beauty. A Trust grant supported the upgrade of the printmaking studio, allowing better lighting, more space and better surfaces.


In4All mobilizes community, bringing local businesses and schools together to provide real-world, hands-on learning experiences that expand opportunities for students who are historically underserved to engage in their education. Through elementary, middle and high school programing, In4All works to expand STEM opportunities throughout Oregon. A Trust grant helped hire new staff to expand this work into southeast Portland.

Asian Health and Service Center

For more than 40 years, the Asian Health and Service Center has served the needs of the Asian immigrant community by providing physical and mental health care, cultural and educational programming and social services. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Asian Americans, and AHSC has identified a significant gap in cancer education, prevention and access to medical care. A Trust grant helped establish an Asian Cancer Resource and Support Center to fill this need.

Children’s Literacy Project

Believing that literacy creates systemic and comprehensive change, Children’s Literacy Project activates volunteers from faith communities with school-approved reading programs. Early literacy improves high school graduation rates and prevents prison, poverty, addiction and other negative outcomes. With help from a Trust grant, CLP will create a documentary to inspire people to volunteer to help children at marginalized and under-resourced schools to learn to read.

Providence Portland Medical Foundation

The Earl A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Portland Medical Center performs cancer research, and its primary area of research is immunotherapy, which focuses on triggering the immune system to fight cancer. Despite the improved level of success, current immunotherapies are effective in only 20 to 40 percent of patients with certain types of cancers and mostly ineffective in other cancer types. To provide personalized cancer immunotherapy, researchers and medical teams need to have the data from the detailed molecular characterization, and a Trust grant funded three new instruments to further this study.

Seattle University

Through the Murdock Trust’s Partners in Science program, a researcher at Seattle University will investigate how the quantity, quality and connectivity of urban green spaces affect beneficial insects in community food gardens. The findings of this project will increase understanding of how these organisms survive and persist in highly disturbed and fragmented urban environments. Since beneficial insects provide important ecosystem services for food production, like pollination and natural pest control, these findings could contribute to mitigate urban biodiversity loss and improve human well-being.

Black Pilots of America

Established in 1997, Black Pilots of America works to train youth for employment in the field of aviation, stimulate and encourage broader job opportunities and develop scholarships and schools for aviation training. The Red-Tailed Hawks Aviation Academy, a program started by Black Pilots of America, focuses on educating individuals from underrepresented communities and has established a student-to-pilot pipeline. To expand this pipeline, Black Pilots of America recently acquired two single-engine aircrafts with the support of a Murdock Trust grant.

Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Assistance Dogs trains and provides highly skilled mobility assistance dogs for people living with disabilities in the Pacific Northwest. By assisting with tasks such as retrieving items, opening and closing doors, turning switches on and off and tugging off clothing, Summit Assistance Dogs has helped more than 100 partners live with greater independence and confidence. With more than 20 years of success, Summit Assistance Dogs is expanding into a new campus through the support of a Murdock Trust grant.

Tacoma Little Theatre and Drama League

Founded in 1918, Tacoma Little Theatre’s mission is to enrich the community through all types of quality live theater experiences, embracing professional standards of excellence and utilizing the performing arts as a means of building community. For the past 100 years, the Theatre has provided its community with seven mainstage productions each season. A Trust grant helped the Theatre improve its seating for longstanding patrons.

Feiro Marine Life Center

Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles provides marine and watershed learning experiences through its waterfront aquarium and exhibit space, educational programs for children and animal support programs. The Center will be part of a new Marine Discovery Center in partnership with other marine organizations, and a Murdock Trust grant helped hire a development director to increase capacity.

Eastgate Creative

Eastgate Creative is a nonprofit film production company that is committed to telling great stories about individuals that stir the moral imagination. Its first documentary film series is A Hobbit, a Wardrobe and a Great War, which tells the story of how two world wars shaped the lives and literary imaginations of two famous friends, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. A grant from the Murdock Trust allowed Eastgate to complete the first episode of the series.

Best Buddies International

Best Buddies International creates opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to more fully participate in their communities through one-to-one friendships, leadership development, integrated employment and inclusive living. A national organization looking to expand to the Pacific Northwest, Best Buddies needed a director of mission advancement to bring this impactful organization to Washington. A Murdock Trust grant supported the creation of this position.

American Indian Graduate Center

For more than 50 years, American Indian Graduate Center has provided scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Native students to attend undergraduate, graduate or professional degree programs. A Murdock Trust grant helped hire a program manager to launch a new academic support program to provide mentors to the Center’s undergraduate and graduate scholarship students attending school in the Pacific Northwest.


First launched in Portland, Oregon, in 2011, 4word is now a national ministry serving women of faith in the workplace. 4word works to narrow the gap in resources for women seeking to integrate their careers, relationships and faith by providing an authentic community through local group gatherings, mentoring relationships and relevant digital and print content. A Trust grant helped 4word upgrade its technology suite to remove inefficiencies and improve its workflow.

University of British Columbia

Investigators at University of British Columbia have discovered novel enzymes in the human gut microbiome that may have utility to convert Type A blood into Type O, the universal donor blood type. The Murdock Trust’s Commercialization Initiation program provided funding to support the commercialization of this discovery and translate it to market. With Murdock Trust funding, if successful in the development of this process, the university’s invention could have a significant impact on blood banking.


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.

Kimberly Thornbury
Senior Program Director for Enrichment

Changing Faces in 2020

Amy Dickerson
Program Coordinator for Enrichment Initiatives
On quite literally the day after the Murdock Trust closed its doors due to orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we welcomed Amy Dickerson to our Enrichment team. Her wisdom, expertise and skills have been a great blessing to the Murdock Trust from day one as she was able to dive into the deep end and help launch and support a variety of virtual programs to serve the nonprofit community during an historic time.
Shannon Hendricks
Investment Associate
Shannon plays an essential role in supporting our Investment team across a variety of areas, including research and data analytics. Shannon joined the Murdock Trust in the Fall of 2020 as an Oregon Fellow, supporting a variety of areas of our mission before focusing her efforts on our investment work. Shannon earned her degree and MBA at the University of Notre Dame where she was also a Division-1 soccer player.
Jerry Calhoun
Senior Fellow
A 30-year professional in the human resources field with roles at Boeing, Bristol-Myers and in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Administration, Jerry Calhoun joined the Murdock Trust as a senior fellow helping support work and partnerships with the Pacific Northwest business community.
Dan Ryan
Visiting Fellow
Prior to running a successful campaign for Portland’s City Council, Dan Ryan served as a visiting fellow with the Murdock Trust, leveraging his years of executive experience in the nonprofit space to help guide and curate support for board and leadership development needs.
Victor Sheldon
Visiting Fellow
A veteran of the Navy and Marine Corps for more than 30 years, Victor Sheldon joined the Murdock Trust as a visiting fellow to help inform and guide our outreach to and support of organizations that serve active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families.
Elmer Huh
Appointed to Oregon Growth Board
Murdock Trust Chief Investment Officer, Elmer Huh, was appointed to the Oregon Growth Board, an organization that oversees two sources of investment capital for the state, with a specific emphasis on funding opportunities that benefit Oregon-based businesses and organizations.
Camp Fire Alaska

Total Assets, Grants Approved, & Grants Paid

Hover over the graph for more information. Amounts in thousands. Example: $1,140,574 = $1,140,574,000

Asset Diversification

The Murdock Trust divides all potential investments into three “Buckets”: Bucket 1 (low risk/return), Bucket 2 (medium risk/return), and Bucket 3 (high risk/return). The Trust considers all types of investment products—without preconceived ideas or built-in biases—for all three Buckets. Our investment objectives follow directly from this three-Bucket allocation strategy. More information on this strategy ›

Target Allocation


low Risk/Return

  • Cash & Alternative Cash
  • Hedge Funds
  • Long U.S. Treasuries
  • Real Estate (lower risk)
  • Private Credit/Mezzanine (lower risk)
  • Infrastructure


medium Risk/Return

  • Public Equity
  • Private Credit/Mezzanine (higher risk)
  • Real Estate (higher risk)
  • Distressed Debt
  • Private Equity Secondaries


high Risk/Return

  • Private Equity
  • Venture Capital

45th Anniversary

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. 

View the timeline ›


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.”

Watch the full documentary ›

The Jack Murdock Story – Trailer – The Ripple of Jack Murdock

Our Mission

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.

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The Trust guides nonprofit organizations through every level of their development through grants and other resources.

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