M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust


Communities need nonprofits to thrive

We believe in transformational ideas that help individuals, families and communities flourish—and since 1975, the Murdock Trust has invested more than $1.3 billion into nonprofit organizations that share our commitment to thinking bigger, challenging problems and making a true difference.

Updated August 8, 2023: The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has received and requested proposals that will carry us into 2024 with our current staff capacity for review.  We are making improvements to our systems, updating our application process, and expanding our staff capacity, all to better support our grantees and the communities we serve.  To allow us the opportunity to complete this work, the Trust has instituted a temporary pause on new applications to our strategic project grants process.

  • Starting September 5, 2023, Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) received for the remainder of 2023 will be reviewed in a 2-3 week window in the order they were received. LOI’s received prior to September 5, 2023 will also be reviewed in the order they were received.
  • LOIs approved to submit a full proposal may access resources available on the website to help prepare their grant application, but will not be invited to begin the official application in our system until Q1 2024.
  • Applicants who submit an application in Q1 2024 can expect to receive a decision on their request in Q3/Q4 of 2024.
  • One exception to this process includes applications related to our Scientific Research initiatives because it is an already established sector. 
  • This process update does not impact organizations that submitted an LOI or began the grant application process prior to June 1, 2023.

Our goal in sharing this update is to provide transparency to the nonprofits we serve. We are listening to and partnering with grantees, staff, and external partners to inform the changes to our process and to position the Trust to serve most effectively in the future.

Strategic Project Grants

Capacity-building awards for mission-focused projects and infrastructure investment

Initiative Grants

A variety of grant programs focused on scientific research, education and calling

Strategic Project Grants

Capacity-building awards for mission-focused projects and infrastructure investment

Capital Grants

Is capital growth or expansion important to your nonprofit’s vision for long-term growth and success? The Murdock Trust regularly makes grants that support construction, renovation, land purchase and other capital projects. In most cases, we prefer to receive requests for these types of projects once your organization has raised a portion of the needed funds.

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization expanded to a bigger community center to serve African immigrants and refugees.

A new clinic in rural Washington allows Unity Care Northwest to bring quality healthcare to more people.

Capital improvements make Sitka Fine Arts Camp a safe place for students to learn the arts.


Equipment & Technology Grants

Best practices suggest that a healthy equipment and supporting technology infrastructure is essential. Please note that with these grants, recipient organizations are responsible for 50% or greater of the purchase cost.

A new lighting system allows Magenta Theater’s community-run shows to operate with the touch of a button.

New vans allow Neighbors for Kids to transport youth with disabilities to its afterschool programs.

A new confocal raman microscope gives Montana State University researchers the ability to explore the Yellowstone hot springs.


Program & Staff

Expanding programs and adding staff are important markers of nonprofit success. Murdock Trust grants help fund both new programs and the expansion of existing programs and may be used to cover start-up costs and/or related staff member additions. Typically, we fund program and staff grants on a declining basis over three years (100/67/33%). Staff hires or programs initiated before Trustee action are not eligible for funding.

A new program manager allows the Brian Grant Foundation to serve more people with Parkinson’s.

The addition of development staff provides more resources for Bridge Meadows to support children in foster care.

The addition of a spatial ecologist allows Peregrine Fund to research and support the conservation of raptors around the world.


Initiative Grants

A variety of grant programs focused on scientific research, education and calling

Undergraduate Colleges & Universities

In addition to Strategic Projects grants in scientific research, the Murdock Trust supports five initiatives for science research at four-year undergraduate institutions across the Pacific Northwest: Research Start-Up Grants for New Science Faculty, Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences, Murdock College Science Research Program, RAISE (Research Across Institutions for Scientific Empowerment)—a program of the Collaborative Reach Alliance and Murdock College Science Research Program, as well as the Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award and the Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award.

Research Universities & Biomedical Institutes

The Murdock Trust supports groundbreaking research by helping to facilitate lab discoveries and bring innovation to where it’s needed most. Grants support the purchase of scientific research instrumentation and the commercialization of bench discoveries at select major research universities, and biomedical institutes.

Partners in Science

When high school science faculty can grow their skills and experience by participating in advanced research, their students and schools will benefit. The Murdock Trust supports the Partners in Science Program to give these teachers this valuable learning opportunity.

Vision & Call Internships

The Vision & Call Internship program gives interns the opportunity to consider their vocational direction while gaining meaningful work experience in a nonprofit setting. Grants help faith-based organizations across the Pacific Northwest develop ministry internship programs for young adults, typically traditional-aged college students and recent graduates.

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

The Trust has a wealth of knowledge and experience that can make all the difference to you and your organization.