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Grant Opportunities

We believe in transformational ideas that help individuals, families and communities flourish — and since 1975, the Murdock Trust has invested over $1 billion into nonprofit organizations that embody our mission.

Every day, we work to further our founder Jack Murdock’s desire to “nurture and enrich the educational, spiritual, cultural and social lives of individuals, families and communities.” We make grants that help improve the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest, and we welcome nonprofits that share our commitment to thinking bigger, challenging problems and making a true difference.

Before applying for a grant, get to know us better by reviewing our Funding Priorities & Project Areas below and looking through our past grants. A great place to begin is Before You Start:

Before You Start

Researching the Trust’s funding practices will help you prepare for success. Consider the criteria below in light of a possible request to the Trust.

Funding Region:

M.J. “Jack” Murdock expressed a commitment to working for the common good of communities across the beloved region that nurtured and inspired his personal and professional life. Jack was born and raised in Oregon, and began his creative work at Tektronix, a primary source of the personal fortune that seeded his endowment. He lived a good portion of his life in Washington and established a Piper Aircraft distributorship there. A large percentage of his sales were to customers in Alaska, Idaho and Montana, which forged a deeply personal connection to the vast, wide open spaces these states enjoy. The Trust continues to elevate and celebrate the people, labors, learning, energy, creativity and beauty of this five-state region — and the work that impacts it. In most cases, grants are awarded for the benefit of the people living and contributing in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Some, however, are made beyond this region to foster the growth of national and international ideas in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Funding Priorities:

True to Jack Murdock’s thoroughly entrepreneurial and creative nature, the Trust welcomes the best ideas from all across the Pacific Northwest region. The Trust focuses its funding in two main areas: Strategic Projects, and Initiatives. Strategic Projects are the most common grants, with Trust support spanning capital, equipment & technology, and program & staff projects. Awards made in these areas reflect the strategic priorities of an organization’s leadership, and funded projects usually come out of a strategic plan, annual strategic priorities, or unplanned strategic opportunities. Initiatives are highly focused projects in scientific research, education, and calling. For a better understanding of these specialized grants, browse the Initiatives section below, which is broken out by type of applicant.


While the Trust supports a wide variety of projects and programs in the region, there are limitations to what we will fund. Our past grants are a good indicator of current Trust interest. Please note that the following kinds of requests are NOT considered:

  • For funds that will ultimately be passed through to other organizations
  • For sectarian or religious organizations whose principal activity is for the primary benefit of their own members or adherents
  • For long-term loans, debt retirement or operational deficits
  • For institutions that, in policy or practice, unfairly discriminate against race, ethnic origin, sex, creed or religion
  • For propagandizing or for influencing legislation and elections
  • From an individual for their personal benefit
  • From individuals unauthorized to act on behalf of a qualified tax-exempt organization

And these kinds of requests are RARELY considered:

  • For normal ongoing operations, including existing staff, or for the continuation of existing projects
  • For continuation of programs previously financed from other external sources
  • For organizations organized and operating outside any U.S. state or territory
  • For urgent needs, emergency funding or gap funding
  • For endowments or revolving funds that act as such
  • For funds to be distributed to beneficiaries of the organization’s choosing

Tax Status –

Requests are considered from organizations that fit with current Trust interest and have been ruled to be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and are not private foundations as defined in Sections 509(a)/170(b) of the Code. The Trust is not able to support organizations designated under Section 509(a)(3). Charitable organizations applying for support must possess the most current IRS documentation reflecting their status or qualification as a tax-exempt entity.

Award Size –

Dollar amounts vary by organization and project, with past practices generally informing future decisions. Because the grant application and evaluation process is rigorous and time-intensive, we generally discourage Strategic Project requests for less than $50,000.

Also, check out this helpful article on Writing Great Grants and the related Questions and Qualities for Grant Seeking Organization posts.

The Grant Process

Most grant writing processes can be overwhelming. Knowing the steps involved ahead of time may help. This Grants Process Flow Chart offers an overview of the progression of the Trust’s grant process, from the initial concept through the grant application’s results. We’ve also produced a series of three Instructional Videos you might find helpful prior to beginning the grant process. Once you have completed your project planning and you believe you are ready to proceed, feel free to prepare and submit your Letter of Inquiry, the first step in the process.

Application Planning Resources

The explanations, tips, and sample documents found here may prove helpful in both your project planning and the completion of your application. They are intended to help inform your thinking, however, each organization and project is unique and may require a different approach than what is suggested here. Feel free to apply a format that works for you.

Grants Administration & Reporting Resources

Congratulations on receiving a Trust grant. To help you request a payment and report on your project activities and learnings, please carefully review the Overview/Instructions provided here. If you have questions, feel free to contact us or reach out to your program director assigned to your grant.