Mike True to step down from The Historic Trust

President, CEO will take on position of CFO with the Murdock Trust

Mike True

For Mike True, president and CEO of The Historic Trust (previously the Fort Vancouver National Trust), moving onward to a new position as Chief Financial Officer for the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust feels a bit like graduating.

In his 12 years at The Historic Trust, True has worked on a host of preservation and property management projects for historic buildings in the city, including significant restoration at Providence Academy and the West Barracks at Fort Vancouver. But the opportunity to work for the Murdock Trust means he can accomplish similar objectives on a much larger scale, True said.

“I’ve worked on some great projects,” True said. “I’ve loved working for the Trust. It’s bittersweet to leave, but this is an opportunity to move on to something great.”

True started at The Historic Trust in 2006 as the CFO, after working with Moss-Adams as a member of the group’s senior accounting staff. He has degrees in accounting and business administration from George Fox University.

During his tenure at The Historic Trust, True helped restructure the financial platform and redevelop the organization’s mission and strategic plan. He also worked to build aviation-based STEM programs for youth at the Pearson Field Education Center and has expanded other community outreach efforts.

He took over as president and CEO in October 2014, and has continued to expand The Historic Trust’s profile, said chairman Stacey Graham.

“We are grateful for Mike’s creativity, tenacity and leadership as president and CEO for the past three years,” Graham said. “With his help, the board of directors has repositioned The Historic Trust for the future, expanding our efforts in the areas of education and outreach, and historic preservation and property management.”

The board plans to launch the search for a new president and CEO in the coming months. True also plans to remain at The Historic Trust for a few months as well before the transition, he said.

“I think late summer or early fall they’re going to take some time to really dig into the search,” True said.

The move also won’t take True all that far from his old home. The Historic Trust has a long history working with the Murdock Trust, both are based in Vancouver and both are relatively close to each other in the city.

“Their offices are about two blocks south of the Academy, and in a few months they’ll be moving to the Waterfront, so it’s really not far for me,” True said. “The Murdock Trust is a very high-performing organization. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for me to learn and contribute.”

The Murdock Trust, founded after the death of Tektronix founder Melvin Jack Murdock in 1971, started with a $90 million donation from his estate. Since then, it has dispersed about $900 million. The Murdock Trust is focused on encouraging scientific research, arts, culture, education, health and human services through nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest. It operates mostly in the five states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

True will replace Julie Cieloha-Whitney, who plans to retire as CFO at the end of the year. The two will work together for a few months while True gets up to speed.

“We have had the pleasure of working with Mike and getting to know him as we have partnered on several programs and initiatives,” Cieloha-Whitney said. “He is a gifted leader, thoughtful colleague and friend.”

Steve Moore, executive director of the Murdock Trust, said he’s excited to have someone with True’s background come on board.
“In addition to being an expert in his field and a community leader, Mike will bring fresh insight to our work as a former grantee and nonprofit head,” Moore said. “We are so pleased he has agreed to join our team.”

True said he’s thrilled to be able to work with such a prominent organization, and he’s excited to get started on new projects.

“It’s my goal to be a resource and to help the leadership,” True said. “To be part of an organization that’s investing in our communities will be a great privilege.”