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M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust hits milestones in giving

The Vancouver-headquartered M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust closed out the decade with a bang: It invested $66.3 million in organizations across the Northwest in 2019, the most it’s ever funded in a given year.

The long-standing trust serves nonprofits in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Vancouver, B.C., in the areas of arts and culture, scientific research, health, education and human services — the last being the most-funded sector.

Also, last year the trust passed $1 billion in cumulative charitable giving since its inception in 1975. It was founded by the estate of Melvin Jack Murdock, a philanthropist, investor and co-founder of Tektronix. Fall marked the trust’s largest individual quarter of grant-making.

There isn’t really any particular reason for the distinction, except that nonprofits brought forward a lot of great projects and programs in 2019 that the trust is in the position to fund, said Colby Reade, spokesman for the trust. The number of applications each year tends to be fairly consistent, he added, and includes a mix of familiar faces and groups who have never solicited funding from the trust before.

The most recent round of $18.7 million in grants included about $8.6 million for Washington and $1,394,000 for groups associated with Clark County.

• Columbia Land Trust was awarded $450,000 to acquire forestland around Wildboy Creek, so it can protect the forest and restore the watershed.

• The Tacoma-based NW Furniture bank received $348,000 to add staff to its Vancouver location, which opened last year.

• All God’s Children International, a Vancouver-based orphan care agency, received $268,000 to hire new staff to expand international intervention training.

• Ridgefield’s Cedar Tree Classical Christian School got $250,000 to expand its K-12 campus.

• Shared Hope International, a Vancouver-based nonprofit aimed at ending sex trafficking, was awarded $78,000 for an internship program.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to partner with these organizations that serve the diverse needs of communities across the Pacific Northwest in innovative ways,” Steve Moore, the trust’s executive director said in a news release. “As we prepare to mark our 45th year of service to Pacific Northwest communities, we are excited to continue to identify programs and projects that help ensure every individual and family in our region has the opportunity to flourish and thrive.”

What’s in store for 2020 at Murdock? Funding more projects guided by groups intimately familiar with their communities’ issues and how best to address them.


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