M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Grant Highlights in 2018

We are fortunate to partner with thousands of nonprofit organizations across the Pacific Northwest that are doing amazing work. Here are just a few of the grantees we partnered with in 2018 in working toward the common good.


Photo by James Poulson

What started as a month-long chamber music concert series in the summer of 1972 has turned into year-round music events, master classes and workshops, as well as outreach across Alaska to remote towns and villages. Sitka Summer Music Festival’s big annual festival is held on the former Sheldon Jackson College campus, where several historic buildings are used by artists, visiting musicians and staff. A Trust grant helped carefully remodel, expand and upgrade these historic spaces.

Capital Community Broadcasting operates three radio stations and a public television channel, reaching people all across Alaska with news, public affairs, arts and culture programming and Alaska-specific content. Its biggest radio station, KTOO, received an upgrade to its radio studios in Juneau with the support of a Trust grant.

At a time when children with cognitive and physical disabilities were routinely institutionalized, Hope Community Resources was founded to provide them with a home, along with support and services. Today, HCR’s intentional neighborhood in the Kenai Peninsula allows individuals with disabilities to live in the way they choose, and a Trust grant helped create the heart of the community—a gathering place for social engagement among residents.

Kodiak Baptist Mission serves Kodiak Island children and their families in a variety of ways—through preschool, afterschool care, camps, outdoor school, farm animal education, a children’s farmer’s market, a food bank and family-focused community events. With so much outdoor-focused activity, KBM was in need of a covered arena, which the Trust supported with a grant.

At University of Alaska Fairbanks, investigators are working on developing a drug that induces pseudo-hibernation in mammals. Safely reducing core body temperature in humans can helping improve survival and neurologic outcomes in patients who have suffered cardiac arrest. The Murdock Trust Commercialization Initiation project helps universities translate scientific discoveries to market, and a grant is helping UAF bring this research through the stages of development to eventually be used in life-saving situations.


Photo by Mike Reid

The only professional ballet company in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming, Ballet Idaho reaches an audience of 15,000 with its performances and serves 7,000 students through its outreach programs in rural Treasure Valley, Idaho. Ballet Idaho’s Nutcracker performances in December help sustain the company through the rest of its season. When the Nutcracker sets were in desperate disrepair, a Murdock grant helped purchase professionally designed and fabricated sets that minimize maintenance and allow touring to larger venues to reach a wider audience.

The Library was founded by a group of 17 women in 1955 with a vision for a privately funded and governed library. It serves 22,000 residents in rural Wood River Valley, and in addition to book lending, it offers a history museum, a summer bookmobile to reach rural children and adult programs and classes. The library recently found itself with a need for an improved Learning Commons to address accessibility and safety issues and to enhance its education and assistance programs for adults, and the Trust was proud to support this building improvement.

Located in the wild high desert of remote east central Idaho, Lost Rivers Medical Center serves two rural counties with life-saving acute care and an emergency department, as well as family and specialty medicine. Lost Rivers expanded its vital healthcare to its rural community by adding a surgery suite, with support from a Murdock grant, which provides day surgery and operating room services to meet the needs of its aging population.

Photo by Matthew Ward

The Nature Conservancy has a long legacy of protecting lands and waters around the world, and the Idaho chapter has worked for more than 50 years to conserve 430,000 acres of landscape and habitat. Its vision to connect people with nature is fulfilled through hands-on engagement with volunteers who help manage natural resources and protected areas. A Trust grant helped hire a program coordinator to oversee this engagement program to help The Nature Conservancy achieve full conservation potential.

Boise State University has been a longtime participant in Murdock’s Partners in Science program, which gives high school science teachers summer research experience with mentor researchers at universities and research institutes. Mentor Cheryl Jorcyk partnered with teacher Sandra Gulley to research how inflammatory proteins promote the expression of chemokines in prostate cancer metastasis to provide a better understanding of prostate cancer and improve treatment and survival rates for patients.


Partnering with the US Forest Service to restore national forests and grassland, the National Forest Foundation works to unite people in collaborative stewardship of the 193 million aces that comprise the National Forest System. The Pacific Northwest regional office was established in Montana through a Murdock grant 15 years ago, and this latest grant helped bring on a program manager to engage Idaho and Montana communities in collaborative forest health initiatives.

Located on the Flathead Indian Reservation, the St. Joseph Medical Center is the Polson hospital arm of Providence Montana Health Foundation and serves a rural and diverse population of low- to moderate-income patients. The life-saving services that St. Joseph’s provides through its cancer detection was in jeopardy with an aging mammography unit. A Murdock grant helped purchase new 3D mammography equipment, offering early cancer detection to patients living in rural Montana.

The Native population makes up about 8 percent of Montana, and Hopa Mountain in Bozeman invests in tribal leaders, adults and youth to improve outcomes for under-resourced communities. Hopa trains and supports Native nonprofit and citizen leaders, provides education to parents of young children, offers college support to Native, Latino and foster youth and provides scholarships to students earning geo-sciences degrees. A new development coordinator, hired through a Murdock grant, helped Hopa expand its capacity to serve more people.

Photo by Robert Scriba

The only private lands conservation organization focused on grizzly bear recovery and habitat protection, Vital Ground has restored more than 618,000 acres of habitat since its founding nearly 30 years ago. It protects land, advances social habitat, educates humans to reduce bear/human conflict and, ultimately, improves the ecosystem as a whole because bears serve as an umbrella species for fish, wildlife and plants. A Trust grant helped Vital Ground purchase the Glen Willow conservation easement, an important piece of land in reducing bear/human conflict and protecting bears.

Photo by Roland Hatzenpichler

Montana State University’s Bozeman campus has long been recognized as an active research university, and its Center for Biofilm Engineering is nationally recognized for its research. The purchase of a state-of-the-art confocal Raman microscope through a Murdock grant significantly impacts research related to microbial communities, ultimately influencing public health and agriculture. One of only six such microscopes in the nation, and the only one in the Pacific Northwest, this instrumentation provides critical opportunities to researchers in the region.


The Chehalem Cultural Center began life as a school in the Depression era, and over the years, the historic brick building has transformed into a hub for arts, culture and community. Children and adults of all ages can find something geared toward them—from art camps to music festivals to art exhibitions. With support from the Murdock Trust, the Cultural Center built a Culinary Enrichment Center to host cooking classes and demonstrations and to provide a food service area for the many year-round events held in this community space.

Oregon has a rich and diverse railroad history, and the Oregon Rail Heritage Center proudly displays and educates the public about historic steam locomotives. The Heritage Center is open free to the public to allow access to everyone and is a popular place for field trips from local schools and summer camps. The historic 1924 Brooklyn Yard turntable is one of only a few operating turntables open to the public on the West Coast, and a Trust grant helped refurbish and install it at the Heritage Center.

Providing quality healthcare at no cost to uninsured and underinsured people in the Salem area, Salem Free Clinics offers medical, dental and mental health services. At least 16 percent of adults in the area lack health insurance, and since its founding in 2005, Salem Free Clinics has offered life-changing free healthcare to more than 50,000 patients. A Murdock grant helped hire the Clinic’s first paid healthcare provider to give on-site leadership to the many volunteers who make its offerings possible.

Bridge Meadows has pioneered an innovative living community that brings together senior adults and children who have been adopted out of foster care to live as neighbors. Children draw strength and stability from the support of their older neighbors, and low-income elders leverage their wisdom, time and talent as mentors, tutors and childcare providers to former foster children. A Trust grant helped build capacity by hiring a development officer.

The Murdock Trust’s Research Start-Up Grants for New Science Faculty help private colleges and universities become more competitive in attracting talented faculty in the natural sciences. Reed College is nationally recognized for undergraduate research excellence and has hired several faculty over the years through this program. Reed’s most recent hire was for a professor in the chemistry department focused on measurement science, a strategic addition to the team.


Photo by Lydia Brewer

A newer addition to the cultural landscape of Washington, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is free to the public in order to increase access to and engagement with quality art. Rotating exhibits feature diverse themes and media and are accompanied by a lecture series to give patrons a look at the artist’s process. The Museum’s first program director was hired through a Trust grant, which allows the expansion of its arts, humanities and cultural programs.

Students from around the world come to the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building to learn the art of boat craft, allowing them to find employment with or start their own maritime businesses. The school not only provides a unique trade, but it also preserves the beautiful tradition of wooden boatbuilding and teaches the next generation to become craftspeople. The final component to the school’s building expansion was the addition of a new septic system, a less-than-glamorous but necessary project funded by the Murdock Trust.

In 1982, a coalition of community leaders, faith-based organizations and health professionals identified unmet healthcare needs in Whatcom County and formed Unity Care Northwest. Today, Unity Care is a safety-net clinic with three locations that provide healthcare regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. The Ferndale location was in two separate buildings that had reached capacity, so with the help of a Murdock grant, a new primary care health center was built.

After a group of resettled refugee women experienced language and cultural barriers using social services during their transition to the Seattle area, they formed Refugee Women’s Alliance to offer newly arrived women culturally sensitive services in their native languages. RWA offers case management, direct services and referrals to community partners, including Trust grantees. Due to large demand and a need for more space, RWA built a new site, with help from a Murdock grant, to expand its administrative offices, case management spaces, resource center and gathering hall.

The Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences supports research projects at undergraduate institutions to expand their research programs. A pilot survey of RR Lyrae stars done by Saint Martin’s University yielded evidence of a small structure in the Milky Way Galaxy’s center. A Natural Sciences grant provided funding for a group of students to further study this intriguing structure to obtain a complete picture of the formation of the oldest innermost regions of the Milky Way and a window into the initial conditions of galaxy formation.

National & British Columbia

Based in British Columbia, Friends of the Canadian Family works to strengthen marriage, parenting and families in Canada. Friends is the Canadian arm of US-based Focus on the Family and shares its resources through radio and television broadcasts, online channels and retreat centers. A Murdock grant helped build and equip an in-house studio at the Friends headquarters so it can develop its own radio and television content specifically for Canadian audiences.

The Evans Scholars Foundation awards full college scholarships and housing to young people working as golf caddies who demonstrate outstanding character, work ethic and academic achievement but have limited financial means. Evans Scholars has established 18 Scholarship Houses at university campuses across the United States for its scholars to live in community, develop leadership and give back to their cities. A new Scholarship House was created at University of Washington through a Trust grant.

Photo by Nityia Photography

The Moving Picture Institute trains and supports upcoming filmmakers as they launch their careers, with the ultimate goal of producing high-impact films that educate and inspire audiences with stories about human freedom. MPI writes, produces and distributes its own films and the films of others, often with accompanying events that allow for audience engagement. A Murdock grant helped build MPI’s audience engagement program, which brings documentaries to live audiences through events that include filmmaker panel discussions and master classes.

Praxis believes that our culture’s future depends on the next generation of entrepreneurs and their influence on social problems and what society consumes, practices, believes and desires. Faith-based entrepreneurs at every stage in their careers find support and opportunities for growth through Praxis’ leadership development programs. The addition of a Partner for Theological and Cultural Leadership, with support from a Trust grant, has helped build the capacity of Praxis’ lean staff.

Ducks Unlimited was founded in 1937 during the Dust Bowl after drought plunged duck populations to unprecedented lows. Today, Ducks works in all 50 states to conserve wetlands for waterfowl, and its work is informed by research and scientific understanding of all that affects waterfowl and their habitats, resulting in 14 million acres of conserved wetlands. The addition of a biologist was supported by a Murdock grant.

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