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M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust

December 2010

The mission of the Vancouver, Washington-based M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is to enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by providing grants and enrichment programs to organizations seeking to strengthen the region's educational, spiritual, and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. The Foundation Center asked Murdock's executive director, Dr. Steve Moore, to talk briefly about what the organization is learning from the efforts it is undertaking:

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Question Which of the Murdock Trust's endeavors are you finding to be especially educational for your work at this time, and are there opportunities for other grantmakers to become involved with these efforts?

Answer "We are very much of a learning organization and believe that experience and interactions bring new insights and perspectives every day. Two special initiatives have been particularly helpful in recent months. First, a special initiative for nonprofit support organizations in each state in our region has provided a steady stream of vital information and insight on what changes are occurring in the nonprofit world because of the economy and the increasingly complex challenges and needs facing individuals, families, and communities. Second, our emerging leader intern program has provided a wealth of insight into young adults just coming out of college, the need and desire for places to serve in thoughtful, meaningful ways, and the deficit in most organizations to either welcome or mentor them into the organization.

"Our program directors and staff crisscross our region conducting site visits and meeting with nonprofit and community leaders, and are bringing back a mosaic of stories that help put the emerging future a bit more into perspective. We have been fortunate to have other funders join us in expanding these efforts and helping us think about them. Currently some other regional foundations are planning to replicate some of these efforts in other parts of the country. That forces us to think about the DNA — the heart — of what these initiatives are, and allows others to think about replication in a style and form that is most appropriate for the context and setting they serve."

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