M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Vision & Call: Program Overview

Learn about the Vision & Call Internship Program


Established in 2006, Vision and Call is built on the belief that life’s longer lessons, the ideas that shape commitment and souls, are often best learned through an apprenticeship experience and worked out through a community of mentors and peers. The vision is to assist college-aged students and recent graduates to consider their vocation direction while gaining meaningful ministry or work experience. The program typically targets young adults, ages 20-25.

At its core, Vision and Call holds a three-fold purpose: (1) to provide a transforming experience for young adults; (2) to increase the pool of talented emerging leaders entering the workforce; and (3) to educate and empower a commitment to the development of young leaders on the part of Christian organizations. The program is designed to benefit young adults while also adding short- and long-term value to participating organizations.

Program Explanation

Vision and Call is considered an Enrichment Program of the Murdock Trust. It is competitive (not all applications will be approved) and application is by invitation only. Organizations that desire to develop a strong internship program and indicate a willingness to sustain a program of comparable size, beyond Trust support, are invited into the program. Once approved, it is likely that an organization could participate in the program for three, two-year grant cycles, a total of six years.

A critical component of the program is the “exit strategy” that is designed to empower an organization to sustain the program beyond Trust support. With this strategy, an organization must plan to decrease the amount of support that it requests of the Trust by about one-third for the second grant cycle and about two-thirds for the third, while maintaining the program. It is expected that organizations will continue the program beyond the third grant cycle. After initial approval, an organization will continue to submit appropriate proposals, but will be given priority consideration to continue the program. An “exit strategy” worksheet is included in this packet of information.

To assist in design, six “Program Essentials,” the DNA of the program, have been identified that must be addressed with the proposal. Applications will be favored that emphasize an apprenticeship model of learning within a community of mentors and peers, encourage conversations regarding vocational direction, offer a significant ministry or work experience, and demonstrate growing institutional support. Proposals will be reviewed by an independent panel and presented to the Trustees for approval. Note: the panel will be instructed to review each proposal in light of the program essentials; however organizations may adapt the essentials or include additional requirements as appropriate to their organizations.

Three models of internship experience are available within Vision and Call. An organization is expected to thoughtfully choose a model or models and the number of interns that match its projected need and capacity. An explanation of each model follows:

Full-time Summer Internship

  • Offers organizations the opportunity to design a short-term program, typically about 10 weeks. Because the time is short, the program should be carefully designed to offer a blend of conversations regarding vocational direction, a significant ministry experience, skill training, and an introduction to an organization and its employment opportunities. The Trust stipend for this model is up to $4,000 per intern.

Part-time Internship

  • Encourages a program length of nine to twelve months, which will probably parallel the academic year. Often this model targets college seniors who are willing to commit 15-20 hours per week to an organization. Responsibilities and expectations must be clearly defined so that students may appropriately manage their schedules. The Trust stipend for this model is approximately $700-$800 per month.

Full-time Internship

  • Encourages a program length of nine to twelve months. Typically these interns are recent college graduates or of similar ages that are willing to spend a “gap-year” addressing issues related to their vocational direction. Many of these interns will have demonstrated a strong interest or passion for the work of an organization. The Trust stipend for this model is up to $5,000 per quarter. A quarter that is shorter than three months should be pro-rated within the proposal’s budget.

An organization should request support for at least two interns per year (a total of four for each two-year grant period), but no more than six per year (a total of twelve for each two-year grant period). While the specific number is left to each organization; its ability to manage the proposed number of interns is important to this equation.

Flexibility is a key characteristic of the program; as a result, creativity and adaptability to fit an organization’s unique setting are welcomed and desired.


If approved, organizations are expected to provide a project advisor who will work with the Trust on all details concerning the program, and conduct a rigorous selection process for prospective interns. In turn, the Trust will provide financial support, advisor training, access to a regional network of peers, coordination of a weekend retreat, and a variety of resources that could be used within each program. By applying to the program, the organization accepts the responsibility to:

  • Make every effort to commit to the program for the six-year period and sustain the program beyond Trust support.
  • Track and report on interns for a five-year period, providing Trust staff with updated contact information.
  • Complete all reports, which include progress and final reports as well as surveys and evaluations, and ensure that interns complete their reports and surveys.
  • Participate in Trust events (i.e. training and the Intern Retreat). The Trust will cover the cost of registration fees associated with the Intern Retreat; however each organization is responsible for all expenses associated with travel to the retreat.
  • Make a concerted effort to place interns within their organization or to assist interns to take appropriate steps to seek positions within other organizations or the marketplace.

Outcomes and Assessment

It is important to understand that the Trust will assess four major outcomes and will expect that participating organizations assist Trust staff outside evaluators to gather the proper information. The four outcomes are as follows:

  1. Young adults gain a greater understanding of their vocational calling and have cultivated the capacity to live out their commitments.
  2. A significant number of young leaders pursue positions and involvement with Christian nonprofit organizations and are equipped with foundational ministry skills.
  3. Organizations understand and are committed to an apprenticeship model of learning and the importance of developing young leaders in order to sustain organizations.
  4. A growing number of organizations have developed a sustainable commitment, independent of Trust support, to the development of young leaders through an apprenticeship model or learning.

Budgets and Funding

Proposals encompass a two-year grant period that usually includes two separate intern cohorts – 2022-23 and 2023-24. The budget is designed to establish a clear budget for each cohort. An accounting of expenses will be required with each progress report and final report. Funding for each program involves a cost-share arrangement between the Murdock Trust and the applicant. The Trust will provide basic funds for intern stipends and a program management payment of 10 percent of the stipend that could be used for hard costs such as payroll taxes or miscellaneous expenses. The organization’s cost includes intern management indirect costs (supervision, training, and administration), training, program, and travel to the Intern Retreat. At its own discretion, an organization may provide an increased stipend, housing, tuition, or other features to enhance its program. In addition, interns may be asked to raise some funds toward their program.

Please take care in presenting a program that is sustainable with a reasonable budget. As mentioned, Vision and Call is a competitive program. If approved, it is possible that organizations will not receive the amount of Trust support that it requested. Therefore, it is very important that an organization complete the section of the application that requests specific information concerning the Preferred Number of Interns and the Minimum Number of Interns.


Contact us at visionandcall@murdocktrust.org or 360-694-8415

“There is something particularly powerful and poignant about the ‘twenty-something’ years, harboring, as they do, both promise and vulnerability. Young adults embody critical strengths and yet remain dependent in distinctive ways, upon recognition, support, challenge, and inspiration. Not only the quality of individual young adult lives but also our future as a culture depends in no small measure upon our capacity to recognize the emerging competence of young adults, to initiate them into big questions, and to give them access to worthy dreams.”

            Sharon Daloz Parks, Big Questions & Worthy Dreams
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