Steve Moore, CEO of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, has announced his retirement next year, capping a career of major growth during his 15 years in charge.
Under Moore’s leadership, the trust, headquartered at the Waterfront Vancouver, invested more than $720 million in more than 4,000 grants to nonprofits. The Murdock Trust will launch a nationwide search to find his successor.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then,” he said.
In the mid-1990s, Moore became acquainted with the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust while he worked at Seattle Pacific University; he successfully applied for a $1.25 million grant from the trust for a library. The grant allowed the university to build a library, which “turned out fantastic,” Moore said.
Moore then started to become more involved with the trust by joining listening sessions and work on proposals.
The Murdock Trust began after Tektronix’s founder, Melvin J. “Jack” Murdock, died in 1971. He left about $80 million to the trust, and that’s grown to a $2 billion endowment.
Today, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust gives grant money to organizations in five Pacific Northwest states with the goal of strengthening the region’s educational, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.
“I appreciated the way that the trust seeks to help particular sectors: education, food banks, arts and culture organizations or zoos,” Moore said. “The trust always seeks to serve an entire sector and connect people that work in them.”
Moore said he always enjoyed attending the trust’s annual Founder’s Day, on the last Friday of June. It’s a day when grantees from the past year meet at the Waterfront Vancouver to celebrate.
He recalls a moment from the most recent Founder’s Day in 2019, before the pandemic. The director of the nonprofit called Literary Arts, Andrew Proctor, approached Moore and said that during the event, he’d met someone from a food bank in Idaho and someone from a small historical museum in rural Washington.
Moore recalls Proctor saying, “From the literary arts perspective, this is like being in the midst of an incredible library.”
That sort of collaboration is what Moore loves about the trust and “what helps our communities thrive,” he said.