M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

OVERVIEW: This funder mostly supports science research and education, but also health, human services, and arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest. Letters of inquiry are accepted throughout the year.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, education, health and human services, science research

IP TAKE: This is a great funder to know in the Pacific Northwest for all types of nonprofits. Grants here are pretty large, almost always over $50,000, and there’s significant support for Christian leadership.

PROFILE: Based in Vancouver, Washington, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust funds projects and programs that enrich life in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. It was established in 1975 to benefit these Northwest states through grants and enrichment programs.

Melvin J. “Jack” Murdock was the co-founder of Tektronix, Inc., and his will directed three trustees to establish a charitable trust in his name. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived a good portion of his life in Washington, and had many customers in Alaska, Idaho and Montana.

Areas of interest are arts and culture, education, health and human services, and science research. Science and technology are at the heart of Murdock's giving, but it also funds a wide range of community and faith-based organizations in the region, especially those that focus on youth.

The trust gives strategic projects awards for mission-focused projects, capacity building and infrastructure. Initiatives mostly touch on scientific research and education. Murdock likes requests for strategic projects above $50,000. A list of prior grants can be viewed here.

The grant application process begins with a letter of inquiry; there are no deadlines for submission. The funder will typically respond within three weeks of receipt. Completed letters can be addressed to the senior program director for grant programs, Mr. Dana Miller, and submitted to loi@murdocktrust.org.

The trust also supports enrichment programs for nonprofit executives and community leaders, many of which have a Christian leadership angle. Examples of programs include conferences, convenings to spark dialogue, and small group training sessions for nonprofits.

At the time this profile was written, there were 10 program officers on staff. The endowment of the trust is over $1 billion, and around $850 million has been given out through grants and programs to date. A good resource for grantseekers is a resource page called Writing Great Grants. Learn more about how the Murdock Trust provides financial resources to regional nonprofits on the How We Invest page.

General questions can be directed to the staff at 360-694-8415 or via email at info@murdocktrust.org. Keep up with their News and Thoughts from the Road pages.

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