M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announced it has officially made more than $1 billion in cumulative grants to nonprofits that serve the Pacific Northwest since opening its doors in 1975. Foundation leaders marked the occasion by celebrating the work of the previous 44 years and shared their vision for the nonprofit’s next $1 billion in giving.

“This is an incredibly exciting day in the history of the Murdock Trust,” said Steve Moore, executive director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. “We are humbled by the commitment, dedication and impact we see every day from the thousands of nonprofits with which we have been fortunate to partner over the years. Reaching this milestone is a testament to their service as well as the foresight of Jack Murdock and the hard work of our dedicated staff.”

A vision for the next billion dollars

With assets of nearly $1.3 billion (grown from $91 million in 1975), the Murdock Trust can anticipate granting about $50-60 million per year moving forward (depending on economic factors). As foundation leaders reflect on 44 years of grant-making, they find themselves less focused on past accomplishments and more attentive to the question, “What will the next billion dollars in grants look like? How might we encourage the mission of effective nonprofits to come to life?”

“The path of the Murdock Trust has always been defined by the nonprofits and communities we serve. This will continue to be our North Star as we seek to serve the diverse needs of the individuals, families and nonprofits that call the Pacific Northwest home,” said Moore.

The Murdock Trust makes capacity building grants for specific programs and projects that serve the foundation’s five-state region. While previous grants have supported more than 3,000 organizations, positively contributing to the lives of people in nearly every community around the region, Murdock Trust leaders hope to continue expanding the foundation’s reach in order to partner with even more nonprofits moving forward.

“Our focus is on listening to those individuals and groups that have a direct pulse on the challenges and opportunities in the communities across our region,” said Moore.

Sample grants

Murdock Trust’s board of trustees reviews proposals and approves grants on a quarterly basis to organizations that work in the sectors of arts, education, health, human services and scientific research within the Pacific Northwest. At the most recent grants meeting, the trustees approved 51 grants for a total of $16 million.

A detailed overview of recent grant-making can be found in the Murdock Trust’s annual report, to be published June 27. A small sample of projects that have been recently funded by the Murdock Trust include youth mentorship: Boys and Girls Club of Richland County.

“The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust helped bring the dream of a home of our own to fruition,” said Elaine Stedman, CEO of Richland County Boys and Girls Club. “We are incredibly grateful for their support of our mission to serve youth and families in Richland County.”

One man’s impact

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was founded in 1975 by the estate of Melvin “Jack” Murdock. A lifelong entrepreneur, Murdock co-founded Tektronix with Howard Vollum after completing his service in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. Throughout his career at Tektronix, Murdock helped spearhead initiatives such as flexible hours, employee profit-sharing, community service, continuous improvement and an environment that encouraged open communication with senior leadership that inspired and empowered his team to flourish and thrive.

A passionate aviator, Murdock operated a Piper aircraft distributorship out of Pearson Airfield in Vancouver, Washington, and could often be found flying to various locations around the Pacific Northwest to enjoy the region’s natural beauty. During his life, he launched a charitable family foundation, named for his mother, and regularly engaged in community service with a variety of nonprofit organizations while eschewing the praise and attention that often comes with philanthropy.

Following his untimely death at the age of 53 in a float plane accident on the Columbia River, Murdock’s will directed that his entire estate be utilized to establish a nonprofit foundation to serve individuals, families and communities across the Pacific Northwest by supporting organizations and projects that strengthen the region’s educational, social, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.

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