How Does M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Divide Its Giving Across the Pacific Northwest?

Montana is among the state where Murdock grant money flows. photo: Hope Dorman/shutterstock

Montana is among the state where Murdock grant money flows. photo: Hope Dorman/shutterstock

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is one of the biggest funding forces in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s become most well-known for supporting science research and education within the state of Washington. However, this funder awards grants more broadly in the arts, health and human services, education and science sectors, and its geographic interests span the entire Pacific Northwest, as well as Alaska and Montana. 

Let’s take a look at Murdock’s latest grants and how much it's been giving in each state to get a more complete picture of foundation's giving.

To close out 2017, Murdock announced over $17 million in 87 new grants to serve the Pacific Northwest. This was a big year for the funder, a record-setting one in which it awarded over $57 million via 300 grants.

A full list of Murdock’s most recent grants is available here, and the grant breakdown by state for this grant cycle looks like this:

  • Alaska grants: $848,000
  • Idaho grants: $900,000
  • Montana grants: $2,191,000
  • Oregon grants: $3,713,500
  • Washington grants: $7,395,500
  • National grants: $2,774,000

Clearly, Washington nonprofits are coming out on top, but groups in other Northwest states are definitely on Murdock’s radar, as well.

To benefit Alaska and the Northwest as a whole, Murdock supported HOPE International to open a new Northwest office, the Conservation Fund for restoration of the Eklutna River habitat, and Young Life’s Camp Malibu in British Columbia. In Montana, this funder awarded grants to the RiverStone Health Foundation Clinic, Child Bridge, and Mountain Home Montana to advancethe groups’ health and child support services.

Meanwhile, it's given recent grants focused on health and children in Oregon. The Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East, Central City Concern, and the I Have a Dream Foundation of Oregon all received Murdock support recently. Finally, Murdock funding in Washington has touched on the arts, environmental conservation, and children. Washington grantees include the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Ryther Center for Children and Youth.

The foundation is highly interested in collaboration. In a recent foundation blog post, the staff discussed its involvement in the Oregon Impact Fund, which was established with money from 23 donors and receives matching donations from the Oregon Community Foundation. Topics of interest for this particular collaboration are affordable housing, job creation, education, access to healthcare, and natural resource management. The funder is also involved in collaborations in the sciences to drive innovative breakthroughs. This is a trend that we expect to see more of with this funder in 2018.

Murdock actually discourages project funding requests under $50,000 due to the time-consuming nature of the application and evaluation process. It also rarely funds grants for ongoing operations, for the continuation of existing projects, or for urgent needs. However, Murdock is a very good foundation to come to for your capital project, equipment, technology, and capacity building needs in the Northwest. Learn more about Murdock grant opportunities here.