M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust


Making life better for individuals, families and communities across the Pacific Northwest is a distinctly human pursuit

Our talented executives, program managers and administrative staff work together to manage and implement Murdock Trust programs and activities every day. And we also rely on the valuable contributions of senior fellows, adjunct faculty and staff, visiting scholars and fellows, interns and advisors to help carry out our mission. We’re proud to introduce the entire Trust team to you.


John W. Castles
John was named Trustee on September 15, 1995, to succeed his late father, founding Trustee, Jim Castles. After careers in commercial banking, investment management and angel investing, John currently enjoys volunteering with several nonprofit organizations and coaching their leaders. He has served as a founder, director or officer of numerous emerging companies in the Pacific Northwest. His passions include his family – wife, Sarah, two grown sons and daughters-in-law plus three grandsons and one granddaughter – flying and tennis. He has been a pilot, an interest he credits to Jack Murdock, who took him flightseeing as a young boy.
Jeffrey T. Grubb
Jeff Grubb has been a Trustee at the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust since 2010. He retired from corporate life in 2017 after 35 years in financial services working for Progressive Insurance, U.S. Bank, U.S. Trust and Wells Fargo. He has also served on the advisory board of several private companies. In addition to his business career, Jeff has been active in nonprofits, currently serving as secretary of Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette. He is a former chairman for the Oregon Young Presidents Organization, Social Venture Partners Portland and the Portland Angel Network, and vice chairman for the Oregon Symphony. He has also served on boards of the Portland Art Museum, the World Affairs Council of Oregon, Junior Achievement, the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, Vision Fund Rwanda, and the Palau Foundation for World Evangelism. Jeff is a graduate of Stanford University with a B.A. in economics and an MBA. Jeff and his wife, Sandy, enjoy spending time with their three adult sons, two daughters-in-law, three grandsons, and two granddaughters.
Jeffrey D. Pinneo
Jeff came to the Trust in 2016 following his retirement as president and CEO of Medical Teams International. Previous to Medical Teams International, Jeff served 29 years with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, nine years as president and CEO of Horizon. In addition to his corporate and nonprofit leadership experience, Jeff has served on a number of boards and advisory committees, including Seattle Pacific University School of Business, Washington State University School of Business, Pacific Continental Bank, and the Seattle Hospitality Group.
Lynwood W Swanson Ph.D.
Trustee Emeritus
Lyn was named to the Board on August 25, 1987, to succeed founding Trustee Paul Boley. He has a wide background in research and in academic teaching and administration. From 1968-1973 he was academic dean at Linfield College. From 1973-1987 he was associate professor, then professor, of applied physics at Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology in Beaverton, Oregon. From 1987-2002 he was CEO and chairman of FEI Company in Hillsboro, OR, which he founded in 1971. Lyn is the recipient of many honors, including the Howard Vollum award; the Outstanding Scientific Contribution Award as Scientist of the Year; and the NASA New Technology Award. He holds 12 patents and has written extensively on technical subjects. Dr. Swanson received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from University of California/Davis in 1959 and his B.Sc. in physics and chemistry from University of the Pacific in 1956.

Senior Leadership

Romanita Hairston
As Chief Executive Officer, Romanita oversees all program activities of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. An accomplished team builder, convener, and leader, Romanita draws on more than two decades of experience in the nonprofit (World Vision), for profit (Microsoft), philanthropic (Murdock Trust), and board service (Global Women, India Partners, Urban Alliance, Urban Impact, Impact Latin America) sectors to help steward the mission of the foundation. A graduate of the University of Washington, Romanita earned her MBA from Eastern University.
Elmer Huh
Chief Investment Officer
Elmer leads the investment team and works with the Trustees in managing the Trust’s investment portfolio. Previously Elmer held various financial advisory roles with EY, Barclays Capital, and Morgan Stanley. Elmer graduated with honors from Columbia University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, an M.S. in Industrial Engineering, and an M.B.A. in international finance. Elmer has served on the board of a number of nonprofits and other organizations focused on strategy, sustainability, and leadership development.
Mike True
Chief Financial Officer
Mike brings a rich understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities present for nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest. A Certified Public Accountant who previously served as the CFO for the Historic Trust of Fort Vancouver before assuming the role of President and CEO, Mike graduated from George Fox University with degrees in accounting and business administration. Prior to his time with the Historic Trust, Mike served on the accounting staff at Moss-Adams and has also served as a board member and chair with Leadership Clark County.
Dana Miller
Senior Program Director for Grant Programs
Dana is responsible for providing leadership and oversight for the Trust’s grant programs and associated processes. As an investment officer in a regional bank, he earned credentials as a registered securities representative and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). He then spent 21 years as a senior administrator for three different private liberal arts colleges in Kansas, Ohio and Oregon, gaining extensive experience in development, marketing and communications, and admissions. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in higher education administration, and has been privileged to serve on several local nonprofit boards and professional associations.
Kimberly Thornbury
Senior Program Director for Enrichment Initiatives
Kimberly leads the enrichment arm of the Trust, overseeing work to strengthen and build nonprofits, including board training and development, leadership, fundraising, and convenings. Kimberly spent over 20 years as a Vice President for two private liberal arts colleges, most recently The King’s College in NYC. Her executive experience covers crisis management, student affairs, marketing, strategic planning, change theory, and developmental coaching. She received her Ph.D. in higher education administration and has been a widely published author, frequent speaker, and organizational consultant. She has served on both local and national boards and mentored dozens of young professionals who now serve in business and nonprofits across the country.
Colby Reade
Director of Communications
As Director of Communications, Colby is responsible for facilitating conversations between the Trust and the community. This includes amplifying the work of grantees, engaging in discussions of philanthropy and connecting potential fund recipients with grant application resources. Colby began his career in communications in the early 2000’s and brings to the Trust a unique blend of expertise working with national brands, such as Microsoft, Avangrid Renewables and JELD-WEN, as well as several nonprofits, including Willamette Valley Development Officers, REACH CDC and SMART. A proud alum of the University of Oregon Honors College and Portland native, Colby loves giving back to the organizations that make the Pacific Northwest thrive.
Kelvin Harrington
Director of Technology and Information Management Systems
In his role, KT strategically oversees all technology needs for the Trust, a job which ranges from long-term strategic planning and collaboration with partners to day-to-day support and management of Trust resources. KT joined the Trust with a degree in computer information science from the University of Minnesota and an extensive IT career across organizations such as American Express, IBM, and TSYS. Most recently, KT held an executive position with B2Gnow, the nation’s leading diversity software that helps governments and corporations streamline and improve their supplier diversity programs. In addition to his work, KT is passionate about mentoring student athletes as a basketball coach and serving the organizations and communities that make the Pacific Northwest thrive.
Moses Lee
Senior Director, Scientific Research & Enrichment Programs
Dr. Lee, senior director for scientific research and enrichment programs, handles proposals and directs enrichment programs in scientific research at universities, research institutes, and private colleges. He also often handles education, environmental conservation, and health-related proposals. Dr. Lee was the Rose J. Forgione professor of chemistry at Furman University for 16 years and Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences at Hope College for eight years. Dr. Lee maintains an adjunct professor appointment and an active research program at Georgia State University, where he develops potential treatments and vaccines for cancer, parasitic, and viral diseases. He has served in various capacities at the Trust, Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement, Petroleum Research Fund (PRF), National Science Foundation (NSF), and other scientific foundations. Lee holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Guelph in Canada, and he has published close to 200 scientific articles and two books, filed 11 patents, and gave over 350 presentations.
Jill Lemke
Senior Director Training and Capacity Building
Jill enjoys working personally with nonprofits as they apply for grants from the Murdock Trust and oversaw the Partners in Science program from 2014-2018. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology and has done extensive graduate work in counseling psychology. Jill taught science and math at the college and high school levels in Texas, New Mexico, and Michigan, and served as a medical residency program administrator in Virginia. Jill has served on high school and other nonprofit boards, and has volunteered with several nonprofit groups and organizations.

Program Directors

Terry Stokesbary
Adjunct Program Advisor
Terry helps provide leadership and guidance around a variety of special projects for the Trust, building on his more than two-decades of service as a Program Director. Prior to the Trust, Terry spent nearly 25 years working in a national, faith-based organization where he held several positions. A good deal of his time was spent in the areas of training and strategic growth initiatives. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science, and welcomes opportunities to work with individuals and organizations in a variety of areas, including organizational growth and leadership development.
Rudy Carrasco
Program Director
Rudy Carrasco has invested his entire professional career serving the community. Following his graduation from Stanford University, Rudy held roles with the Harambee Christian Family Center and Partners Worldwide before joining the Murdock Trust team. A widely-published author and frequent keynote speaker, Rudy has a natural gift for helping organizations identify the most efficient and productive use of their resources. As a Program Director, his time is focused on working one-on-one with applicants and grantees as they walk through the application process.
Lorin Dunlop
Program Director
Lorin came to the Trust with a diverse background in the arts, education and criminal justice. She began her career in grants administration in Washington, D.C. before moving to Oregon. As a program director for the Trust, Lorin works primarily with arts and cultural organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a double major in art history and international affairs, and studied abroad at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. Lorin has been involved in the nonprofit community for almost 20 years and is an active volunteer in her community and parish.
Pauline Fong
Program Director
Pauline joined the Trust in 2016 after over 20 years serving in the nonprofit space, working with young adults and leaders, with extensive experience working cross-culturally (both domestically and overseas). Pauline is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley, holds a master of arts degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Organizational Change and Leadership through the University of Southern California. She is a frequent speaker and trainer. In addition to her work as a program director with nonprofit leaders in the grants process, Pauline directs the Trust’s Women in Leadership Program.
John Franklin
Program Director
John joined the Trust in October 2012 as a program director. He spent 32 years on the staff of Young Life, his last four serving as the senior vice president for the western division. John has been involved with numerous nonprofits in the Northwest and is a frequent speaker and consultant with organizations around the country. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon and earned his master’s degree at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Jan Kennedy Ferguson
Adjunct Program Advisor
After 20 years as a program director, Jan retired from her daily role with the Trust and now serves as a program advisor. A former business owner in Portland and Gresham, she has wide experience as a volunteer and on nonprofit boards in Oregon and Washington. She provides expertise to the Trust in the arts, education, and health and medicine. Jan is the general editor of the highly acclaimed Messages series produced by the Trust.
Kim Newman
Program Director
Kim brings a unique perspective on STEM education following several years molding young minds at both private and public institutions, most recently at Camas High School where she taught biology and technology. A participant and coach for several years in the Partners in Science Program, Kim also helped lead the “Camas Girls’ in STEM Conference.” A graduate of Stanford University (where she was also a standout on the women’s basketball team), Kim went on to earn her Masters degree from George Fox University.
Jeremy White
Program Director
Jeremy brings an extensive background helping create partnerships between community and faith-based organizations, corporate groups and government agencies through community engagement, diversity and inclusion support and thought leadership. A graduate of Princeton University, Jeremy began his career at The Brookings Institution and went on to hold roles with Prison Fellowship Ministries and Unique Learning Center as well as serving as Director of Outreach for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under George W. Bush.
Kit Gillem
Adjunct Program Advisor
Christopher (Kit) Gillem joined the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust in 1998 where his nonprofit portfolio included Arts & Culture, Environmental, and Nonprofit Support Organizations across the Pacific Northwest. He has served on the Philanthropy Northwest board (including president in 2008-2009), has been a presenter at the Council on Foundations annual convening and other regional conferences and is a regular trainer and facilitator for regional grantmakers and numerous non-profit support organizations. Kit retired from full-time service at the Trust in 2016 and is currently assisting the program staff with special assignments and projects. Prior to working at the Trust, he spent 20 years in the non-profit sector as executive director and program manager of conservation and science education organizations.

Grants, Technology & Communications Staff

Francesca Cruz
Grants Manager Assistant
Francesca is a recent college graduate from Western Washington University with a major in Cultural Anthropology. It was in college where she became involved in civic engagement which further exhilarated her plans on attending law school and later writing policies in various fields. When Francesca is not managing our reception area and supporting our administrative team, she loves spending time with family, reading, and baking while watching The Great British Baking Show.
Marybeth Stewart Goon
Senior Grants Manager
Marybeth provides assistance to the senior program director. She is responsible for managing the grants database and associated processes, overseeing and coordinating final stages of proposal review, and developing and coordinating awards materials. She also provides special assistance in developing materials and implementing focused grants programs; managing and coordinating science panels and adjunct staff in review processes and program development; and working on special projects and institutional research. She is a longstanding Murdock staff member—since 1989—and is a Grants Managers Network member. Before moving to the Northwest, Marybeth earned a bachelor of music education degree from the Ohio State University. She has taught both privately and in public schools, and has performed in community orchestras and small woodwind ensembles.
Jason Lee
Grantee Relations Manager
Jason joined the Trust in 2014 and provides grants guidance and educational resources to our nonprofit partners. His work directly supports the assessment of strategic projects and grant initiatives, the coordination of external and panel reviews for scientific research proposals, and the development of the grants management system. Jason has spent more than 18 years serving a variety of nonprofits domestically and overseas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theatrical production at the University of California, Santa Cruz that led him to several professional theater companies through the Bay Area. His focus then expanded to strengthening system structures while serving as an educator at the Beijing Language & Culture University and as programs director for Firefly, a youth development organization for emerging youth leaders.
Stefanie Narhi
Executive Assistant
Stefanie serves as the executive assistant to the chief executive officer, and also provides administrative support to the Trustees and the senior leadership team at the Trust. She joined the Trust in 2012 after working 17 years at a nonprofit in Portland, Oregon, where she gained extensive experience in nonprofit business administration, development, and event planning.
Conner Peckham
Business Systems Analyst
Conner provides support and leadership for the strategic use of technology and communications systems to achieve the mission of the Trust. He is the technical administrator for the Trust’s grants management and enrichment business systems, manages the Trust’s website and audio-visual systems, and serves as a member of both the communications and technology teams. Conner received his bachelor of science degree from Warner Pacific University in business administration and social science, and his M.B.A. in nonprofit management from University of Portland.
Amy Winegardner
Events & Hospitality Coordinator
Amy helps lead all internal and external events for the Trust, including scheduling, logistics and hospitality. As many of you know, Amy is far from a new face around the Trust. She has more than sixteen years’ experience in event planning and coordinating in the private sector, including seven years as manager to one of our preferred caterers for seven years where she helped coordinate large events for the Trust, such as Founder’s Day. She enjoys volunteering at her children’s school whenever possible, spending time with her family, and hosting family gatherings.
Sarah Ruckle
Assistant Program Coordinator for Enrichment
Sarah provides administrative, organizational, and execution support for all Enrichment programs at the Murdock Trust. Recently a Marketing Administrative Assistant at Medical Teams International, Sarah began her career in the region as an Oregon Fellow with the Trust. Sarah graduated from the University of Virginia with a double major in Religious Studies and Youth and Social Innovation.
Amy Dickerson
Program Coordinator for Enrichment Initiatives
Amy oversees the logistics and coordination for all Murdock Trust Enrichment Initiatives, as well as many of our convenings and gatherings. She began her career at San Diego State University with roles serving and supporting students in various campus programs before moving to Portland where she worked in Residence Life at University of Portland. She then proceeded to Concordia University where she oversaw the Office of Service Leadership. Amy graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University before earning her Masters in post-secondary education with a specialization in student affairs from San Diego State University. Building on an extensive background in cultivating service learning opportunities for students across a diversity of backgrounds, Amy brings great knowledge related to helping create positive impact within the nonprofit community and a commitment to volunteerism that will help serve and shape a variety of programs at the Trust.
Jenna Watson
Communications Assistant
Jenna provides strategic administrative and editorial support to the Communications team at the Trust. A recent graduate of Wheaton College, Jenna holds a degree in English Literature, though she is interested in a variety of disciplines thanks to her liberal arts education. At Wheaton, Jenna served on research teams for nonprofit organizations and workplace equity through a fellowship program, which encouraged her to pursue work in nonprofit communications. In her free time, Jenna enjoys reading, hiking with her sisters and exploring the Portland/Vancouver area as a new resident of the Pacific Northwest.
Jenni Burkholder
Receptionist and Administrative Assistant
Jenni provides countless partners and guests with their first impression of the Trust as she manages our front desk and a variety of administrative responsibilities supporting work across our team. Her professional background includes administrative and constituent-engagement roles with the Morgan Hill Unified School District, Visiting Angels, and Informix Software/IBM. A graduate of OSU, Jenni earned her Master’s at George Fox.
Camrynne Six
Grants Manager
Camrynne joins the Murdock Trust after an extensive career overseeing operations in the educational space. As Grants Manager, Camrynne works directly with nonprofits to support them through the grant application and administration process. A graduate of Northwest Nazarene University with a degree in business administration and finance, Camrynne most recently served as the Director of Operations for St. Stephens Academy.

Investment & Finance Staff

Tammy Bjorkman
Investment Administrator
Tammy provides administrative support and is the main point of contact for initial requests to the Trust’s investment team. She has more than 25 years of experience as administrative support in the medical, social service, and conservation fields. In addition, Tammy has many years of event planning experience and helps with the coordination of Murdock events. She does volunteer work for the local chapter of the Audubon Society and much of her free time is spent assisting and advocating for adults with developmental disabilities.
Julie Cieloha-Whitney
Investment & Finance Advisor
As an Investment and Finance Advisor, Julie advises on the foundation’s finances, investments, and accounting, building on her near 30 years of service with the Trust, including her role as CFO from 2005-2018. Prior to joining the Trust in 1991, Julie worked in audit services for Deloitte, where the Trust was a client. From 1979 to 1987 she worked for Jantzen Inc., performing various accounting and payroll functions. Julie holds a B.S. in accounting from Portland State University and is an inactive CPA. In keeping with the Trust’s mission of sharing of ideas and networking with individuals and organizations, Julie volunteers with finance and budget committees for nonprofits and the government.
Megan Keim Smith
Administrative Services Coordinator
Megan brings a collaborative background in financial data analysis, business processes, data management and professional services to the Trust. Megan’s role includes grants administration, human resources and project management. Her competence has been shaped through her work in large and small scale businesses. Outside of her professional life, she enjoys giving to her community through delivering meals, volunteering in a wide capacity at her children’s school and enjoying a variety of outdoor adventures with her family and friends.
Jim Martin
Chief Investment Officer Emeritus
Before transitioning to his emeritus role, Jim led the investment team in managing the Trust’s investment portfolio for 30 years, wherein he made recommendations to the Trustees based on a simple, yet effective, investment philosophy that encompasses a long-term strategy, and above all else, building relationships with world-class investment managers. Before coming to the Trust in 1987, Jim was an audit partner at Deloitte. He shares his expertise with many organizations and serves on several investment committees. Jim also has a Registered Investment Advisory practice and in 2010 was named Small Foundation Manager of the Year by Institutional Investor.
Mark Pyatt
Investment Officer
Mark works directly alongside our chief investment officer to provide investment recommendations to the trustees. He is primarily responsible for investment manager research, evaluation, analysis, and reporting. Prior to joining the Trust, he worked for a small investment advisory firm serving individuals. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in economics from Oregon State University. Mark has had the opportunity to tutor college finance students and high school students, and to serve as a leader and committee member for Young Life.
John Jokela
Senior Accountant
John joins the Trust having an extensive career in senior leadership and fiscal roles on business teams in nonprofit, faith-based and government sectors, including elected office. John brings nearly a decade of experience overseeing the financial records of the Blandin Foundation as well as more than seven years of grant compliance work for the Department of Community Services with Clark County. He has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1992 and holds a M.B.A. in finance and risk management. In his role with the Trust, John supports financial reporting, operational transactions and investment accounting.
Shannon Hendricks
Investment Associate
Shannon plays an essential role in supporting our Investment team across a variety of areas, including research and data analytics. Shannon joined the Murdock Trust in the Fall of 2020 as an Oregon Fellow, supporting a variety of areas of our mission before focusing her efforts on our investment work. Shannon earned her degree and MBA at the University of Notre Dame where she was also a Division-1 soccer player.

Adjunct Staff

Steven G.W. Moore
CEO Emeritus
Steve retired as CEO of the Murdock Trust in 2022 after 16 years of exemplary service. In his current role, he provides counsel and support to Romanita and the Trust Leadership Team. Prior to the Trust he served in senior leadership positions at Asbury Theological Seminary, Baylor University, Seattle Pacific University, Texas Tech University, and Texas Tech Wesley Foundation. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is a widely published author and frequent speaker at colleges, universities and conferences.
Jay Barber
Senior Fellow
President emeritus of Warner Pacific College, Jay has joined the Murdock Trust as senior fellow, working with capacity building enrichment initiatives. In this role, Dr. Barber assists in the Essentials of Development seminar, a program that serves to help small organizations develop their fundraising programs and structures. Prior to serving as Warner Pacific’s president, Dr. Barber was vice president of development for Oregon Health and Science University. He has consulted with many nonprofit organizations throughout the Northwest and is a highly respected leader and educator. “Dr. Barber is well known in the Northwest, having served in leadership roles in several outstanding organizations. Numerous leaders have been influenced by his example and his teachings. We are truly fortunate to bring his expertise and experience to serve the nonprofit community of the Northwest,” said Steve Moore, executive director of the Murdock Trust.
Steve Garber
Senior Fellow
Steven Garber is a teacher of many people in many places, serving for many years as the Senior Fellow for Vocation and the Common Good for the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The author of several books, including Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good, his most recent is The Seamless Life: A Tapestry of Love and Learning, Worship and Work. One of the founders of the Wedgwood Circle, he continues to serve as a consultant to colleges and corporations, facilitating both individual and institutional vocation. A husband, a father and a grandfather, he has long lived in Virginia, near Washington DC, living a life among family, friends, and flowers.
Lawrence Ho
Senior Fellow
After completing graduate work at the London School of Economics and teaching law in Beijing, China, Lawrence returned to the Pacific Northwest where his legal practice focuses on strategic philanthropy in corporate and family foundations. He sits on several family foundation boards in North America and Southeast Asia. Lawrence has a keen interest in cross-cultural leadership and development, and has an extensive background in intersection of humanitarian, social justice, and the faith-arts. Lawrence has been privileged to be part of China’s charitable law development and also has a heart for countries such as North Korea and Myanmar. Lawrence has passion for next generation leadership and the challenge for organizational change as nonprofits adapt to survive and thrive. Lawrence and his wife, Dr. Angela Lee, started one of Western Canada’s largest medical clinics based in Vancouver, B.C.
Ron King
Senior Fellow
Ron is a senior fellow at the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and has extensive experience in both the business and nonprofit sectors. For twenty years he led Western Family Foods as its CEO. As well, he has held a number of leadership positions on nonprofit boards. King graduated from Washington State University and the Stanford Executive Program. He and his wife, Pam, reside in Cedar Mill and have two adult daughters.
Sharon Daloz Parks
Senior Fellow
A Senior Fellow at the Whidbey Institute, where formerly she was a member of the founding board and has served as Associate Director and Faculty, Dr. Sharon Daloz Parks also serves as principal at Leadership for the New Commons. Prior to moving to the Northwest, for sixteen years she held faculty and research positions at Harvard University in the schools of Divinity, Business, and the Kennedy School of Government. She teaches at Seattle University in the Executive Leadership Program at the Albers School of Business, speaks and consults nationally in higher education, religion, and business and is the recipient of five honorary degrees. A former invited presenter at the Trust, Sharon will focus her time as a Senior Fellow in a variety of areas, particularly leadership development, mentoring and strengthening civil discourse.
Verne Sedlacek
Senior Fellow
Verne comes to the Trust most recently from Commonfund, an institutional investment firm that delivers solutions for strategic investors within both the nonprofit and pension investment communities. He has a wealth of experience with nonprofits and for-profits, and will serve as a professional resource to assist in the fulfillment of our mission. Update January 2022: We are sad to share that Verne passed away in December of 2021. Find more detail here: https://murdocktrust.org/2022/01/remembering-verne-sedlacek/
Norm Smith
Senior Fellow
Norm is president emeritus of The Ford Family Foundation (Roseburg, Oregon), which he joined in 1997 as its first CEO; and he is a senior fellow at the Trust. His careers include 13 years as an executive with AT&T (Law and Government Affairs) in Portland, Denver, and San Francisco; 11 years of law practice in Portland and Washington, D.C.; and three terms as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives. He is a member of the Oregon and Colorado Bar. Norm is a fourth generation Oregonian and a graduate of Northwestern University in Illinois and Willamette University College of Law in Salem. He is the past chair of the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust, and is currently a charter member of the board of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation (past chair) and the Vice Chair of the San Juan Island Community Foundation. Norm and his wife, Kathy, reside in Roseburg, Oregon, and have one son, Spencer. The Smiths enjoy fall boating in the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands, winter respite in Rancho Mirage, California, car touring and world cruising together.
Kent Thornburg
Senior Fellow
Among his many appointments at Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Thornburg is a professor of medicine and the director of the Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness and Interim Director of the Knight Cardiovascular Institute. He holds the M. Lowell Edwards Chair in the Department of Medicine. He currently leads a team of research scientists who are studying how a mother influences the development of the fetal heart. Dr. Thornburg also serves at the Murdock Trust as an advisory member on panels and roundtables, and as an advisory review expert. As senior fellow, he advises the Trust on science-related projects with particular attention to promoting health in the Pacific Northwest.
John Van Zytveld
Senior Fellow
John came to the Trust in January 1996 as senior program director. He provided advice on the grants program to the program directors and the executive director, and personally handled proposals involving scientific and medical research. John has a Ph.D. in Physics, and prior to coming to the Trust, he spent 28 years as professor of Physics at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Van Zytveld was recently awarded the Summer Undergraduate Fellowship Endowment in partnership with Calvin College to honor his many years of service as the senior program director of the Murdock Trust. He lives in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, Carol. They have three grown children.
Deborah Wilds
Senior Fellow
Prior to retirement, Dr. Wilds served as the president and chief operating officer of the College Success Foundation (CSF). CSF’s mission is to inspire underserved, low-income students to finish high school and to provide them with the supports and scholarships they need to graduate college and succeed in life. Dr. Wilds also worked as a senior program officer for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led efforts for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, Gates Cambridge Scholars, and Washington State Achievers Program. She also oversaw the early college initiative creating 250 new early college high schools across the country. Dr. Wilds has a Ph.D. in education policy, planning, and administration from the University of Maryland at College Park; an M.S. degree from Howard University; and a B.S. degree from California State University, San Diego.
Jerry Calhoun
Senior Fellow
Jerry built a career spanning more than three decades in the Human Resources sector, serving in roles for Boeing, Bristol-Myers and the Ronald Reagan Presidential administration. In addition to his work in the HR field, Jerry has also held teaching positions with the University of Washington Business School. A graduate of Seattle University, Jerry earned his MBA at UW. In addition to representing the Trust at events, conferences and convenings, Jerry will bring his unique background and expertise in corporate philanthropy to help the Trust better facilitate partnerships and programs with organizations in the business community.
Victor Sheldon
Visiting Fellow
A retired Navy Chaplain, Victor served various Navy and Marine Corps units around the world for over 32 years, including a tour on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon and later in Africa. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity School for Ministry, and a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. Victor will provide the Trust with valuable insight regarding outreach to Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and First Responders by nonprofits and faith based organizations. Victor has worked extensively in the area of resiliency and has established networks throughout the military and academia.
Katherine Gottlieb
Senior Fellow
Katherine served Southcentral Foundation as President and CEO for more than 30 years. She is faculty of the Harvard Medical School since 2015, she has won several awards such as the 2015 Harry S, Hertz Leadership Award presented by the Foundation for Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, she is a 2004 MacArthur Genius fellow, she has two honorary doctorates one from Alaska Pacific University and one from the University of Alaska. She owns Katherine Gottlieb Strategies, LLC, working with global and local leaders in redesign, mentorship, and improvements of healthcare and cultural approaches. As a Senior Fellow, Katherine will provide valuable support to the Trust in our convening work as well as critical insight into the current needs of Native communities, communities in Alaska and the healthcare sector and how we can continue to offer meaningful support.
Squire Broel
Visiting Scholar
A graduate of Seattle Pacific University, Squire has brought the invisible and visible worlds together for nearly 30 years through his art. A gifted sculptor, Squire honed his craft alongside renown contemporary artists from across the country, creating works that have been exhibited around the world. Through his work as a Visiting Scholar, Squire will help inform and support the Trust as we seek to partner with and support arts organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Shannon Mayer
Visiting Scholar
Shannon is a Professor and Chair of the Physics Department at the University of Portland, where she has served on the faculty for 19 years. Passionate about advancing the mission of faith-based higher education and the sciences, Shannon will help support the Trust in a variety of projects and convenings related to the interplay between science and faith. The co-editor of a recent collection of essays by University of Portland faculty about transformative university teaching titled: Awaken the Stars: Reflections on what we really teach, Shannon holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Oregon State University and a B.S. in Physics from Pacific Lutheran University.
Katie Wise
Graduate Research Fellow
Katie brings a uniquely valuable professional background to the Trust. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling after building a successful career in corporate training and leadership, most recently serving as Director of Operations for Community Leadership and Development Inc. in Billings, Montana. A graduate of the University of North Texas, Katie will bring her organizational leadership skills and familiarity with the needs of nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest to help support our Enrichment team across a variety of programs.
Christopher Caudle
Christopher is a recent graduate of Life Pacific University, graduating with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration on marketing. Starting this Fall, he will be pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Portland Seminary – George Fox University, with a biblical studies concentration. This summer he will also be a licensed pastor through the Foursquare denomination, having been a recommended pastor as of last Spring. He has worked groundskeeping for two years and was a part of the student leadership team at LPU having organized/led bible studies for students and several kinds of ministry events for the school.
Bart Hadder
Adjunct Program Advisor
Bart Hadder is in the third-third season of life after retiring as a program director for the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust where he served for many years. He currently serves as a consultant, offering counsel and guidance to the Trust and grantees in the Idaho region with a specific emphasis on youth organizations such as camps and schools. Prior to joining the Trust, Bart had a 28-year career as a science educator, teaching at the middle school, junior high and high school levels eventually becoming the district science coordinator at a large urban school district in Oregon. Bart has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in biology education from Portland State University. He and his wife, Jackie, recently moved to Boise, ID to be near their two adult children (and mostly to be near their two young grandchildren).
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