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Letter of Inquiry Instructions

The Murdock Trust grant application process begins with a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). The LOI helps us determine whether your organization and project are of interest and eligible for grant consideration; if so, you will be invited to submit a full application. There are no deadlines for submission, and you will receive a prompt response after submitting your LOI through our Grants Portal.

What to Include in Your Letter of Inquiry

  • A brief background of your organization, including an abbreviated mission statement; date founded; staff and board size; constituency and geographic region served; type(s) of service provided; and annual operating budget size.
  • A description of the project a Trust grant would support. Discuss how you reached the decision to pursue this project; factors contributing to the need or opportunity; the project’s importance to your organization and constituency; and the level and nature of commitment of your staff and board.
  • A proposed budget, in summary form, for the total project cost and the amount you intend to request from the Trust. If possible, identify the specific budget item(s) to be funded by Trust support, and indicate potential or actual sources of support outside of the Trust.
  • Your reasons for approaching the Trust for this project. Disclose any past history with the Trust or any contact you’ve made with Trust staff or others that may have influenced your decision. Please note any other factors you believe would help us understand your situation and request.

To complete a Letter of Inquiry, log in to our Grants Portal and click Apply Now. If you are a new user, you will need to register to access the Grants Portal for the first time.

Have questions? Please contact the Trust at 360-694-8415 or refer to the Before You Start and The Grant Process sections on the Grant Opportunities page.

Funding Priorities and Grant Guidelines 


Jack Murdock was an avid learner, innovator and entrepreneur. The special importance Mr. Murdock placed on education continues to lead Trust support of many colleges and universities across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Inspired by our founder’s strong belief in science and technology, the Trust has long been a leading private supporter of scientific research and innovation. We also welcome organizations that advance culture and the arts, as well as projects that elevate human services, public health and health care in the region, including community- and faith-based organizations, particularly those that serve youth.

Mr. Murdock was vitally interested in community issues and encouraged collaboration among diverse leaders to focus on questions of importance. The Trust routinely brings voices together to examine and explore ideas and trends in various fields and sectors — gatherings that have produced enrichment programs in leadership development, scientific education, and organizational capacity building.


True to Jack Murdock’s thoroughly entrepreneurial and creative nature, the Trust welcomes the best ideas from all across the Pacific Northwest region. Before applying for a grant, please review our general guidelines:

Geographic Location – 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.

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. 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 requests for less than $50,000.

Limitations – 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

Primary Funding Region

In establishing a charitable trust through his estate, 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.

From the actions of the three original Trustees appointed to steward the Murdock Trust’s mission to the grantmaking work we do today, 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.