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Sunriver Nature Center expansion among Murdock Trust grant recipients

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has released its report on summer 2020 grants totaling $12.2 million to Northwest nonprofits, including a $250,000 grant to the Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory for a project to expand its science education programs.

The project involves new construction and renovation, according to the trust, whose news release continues below:

In many ways, it feels like 2020 just will not give us a break.

We’ve all discussed at length the unprecedented challenges this year has brought to our communities. As summer faded to fall, we were struck with yet another once-in-a-generation tragedy as the Pacific Northwest was ravaged by wildfires that caused destruction on a scale we’ve not seen in decades. Lives were lost. Homes and businesses were destroyed. Entire communities were decimated.

Yet in the face of painful moment after painful moment, we find reason for hope and optimism. As every new challenge has arisen, no matter how daunting, we have seen individuals and organizations lining up on the front lines to address it in ways that serve the common good of their community.

  • Fire fighters and first responders rushing into harms way to serve and protect individuals and families.
  • Providing shelter and emergency supplies to those forced to evacuate.
  • Researching new vaccines and treatments for a deadly virus.
  • Safely serving meals and providing to those who are hungry.
  • Putting their own lives at risk to treat the sick.
  • Collecting and sharing food with families who have lost income.
  • Identifying ways to continue to offer safe facilities for vulnerable children and families.
  • Finding innovative ways to keep educating and inspiring children and families in days of social distancing.

The resilient spirit of the Pacific Northwest and the commitment of individuals and families throughout our communities to stand up and contribute to the positive change we so desperately need is heartwarming and inspiring. We see this in innovative collaborations, like the partnership between ecologists and fire practitioners studying firefighting behavior at Sycan Marsh. We see this as communities have rallied to connect and bring resources to families in need through the My NeighbOR effort. We see this as our friends at the Foraker Group bring together business and nonprofit leaders to share strategies to move the nonprofit sector forward.

Our team recently had the opportunity to see this spirit on display as our board reviewed our most recent collection of grant applications, including dozens of incredible nonprofits finding innovative and sustainable ways to serve the diverse needs of our region. 

At this meeting, our Trustees approved 65 grants totaling $12,252,138 to nonprofits serving Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and across the Pacific Northwest. We have pulled a few example stories below and you can find a full list of these grants here.

As we enter the final weeks of 2020 and prepare for a season of generosity and giving, we are hopeful for the future and eager to see what other ways individuals across our region can help partner and contribute to the common good.

To our newest grantees, our existing partners and all organizations and individuals that are tackling the difficult work of supporting individuals and families throughout our region so that all communities have an opportunity to flourish and thrive, we say THANK YOU!

- Steve Moore

Executive Director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust


  • Children and adults in Alaska will receive increased mental health support as Alaska Behavioral Health (formerly Anchorage Community Mental Health Services) expands and renovates its facility.
  • The expansion of Camp K by Camp Fire Alaska will increase its ability to serve youth and teens while also improving the camp’s infrastructure to reliably serve future campers for generations to come.
  • The Church of Love, a vibrant community gathering space, will be significantly renovated by Cook Inlet Housing Authority, increasing accessibility and strengthening the space to serve for generations to come.
  • New equipment purchased by University of Alaska Fairbanks will help researchers gain increased precision in their work to better understand oceanic ecosystem productivity.



  • Patients with serious illnesses and their families will have increased access to housing following the construction of the new Harold & Carmen Poulsen Legacy Housing space within the Great Falls medical corridor.
  • Reach Out and Care Wheels will add a new Executive Director, helping expand its efforts to provide wheelchairs to those in need.
  • New staff at Trust Montana will help steward properties and secure affordable housing and community assets for generations to come.


  • Camp Ukandu will be able to offer more children diagnosed with cancer and their families a true summer camp experience through the introduction of new staff.
  • More girls will have the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship as the Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington add new staff.
  • In4All will hire new staff to help serve and support more students of color and students living in poverty.
  • Preteen and teen girls in Lane and Linn Counties struggling with trauma and behavioral health challenges will receive increased support as Ophelia’s Place adds staff.
  • New staff at St. Mary’s Home for Boys will help the organization help prepare young men to flourish and thrive after graduating high school.


  • Students will have access to new equipment and training programs following a grant to Black Pilots of America.
  • A new gymnasium built by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County will provide increased programming offerings for children and teens in Granite Falls.
  • Vulnerable, at-risk and underserved youth will receive increased support as the Center for Children and Youth Justice adds new staff.
  • New administrative technology will help College Success Foundation serve more underrepresented, low-income students as they seek to graduate high school, graduate from college and transition to a successful career.
  • New staff at the Feiro Marine Life Center will help accelerate plans to expand its work and programming.
  • Stolen Youth will add new staff, allowing the organization to increase its programs combatting human trafficking.
  • The Woodland Park Zoo will update and expand their highly popular Northern Trail exhibit, serving more children and families.

Pacific Northwest

  • Interfaith Youth Core will hire new staff to help bring a message of unity and collaboration to the Pacific Northwest.

About M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The Murdock Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. Since its inception in 1975, the Trust has awarded more than 6,700 grants totaling more than $1 billion. For more information, find the Murdock Trust on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagram and on our website.

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