Murdock Trust gets settled in new space at the waterfront

New office space is just the latest investment Murdock Trust had made in the area

Purpose Wall in Murdock Trust's new office
One of the design aspects that really stands out in the Murdock Trust’s new office space is the ‘Purpose Wall.’ The wall includes a compass that shows all of the regions that the Trust serves, photos of some of the Trust’s grantees, the Trust’s values and mission, and the five sectors that the Trust serves. Courtesy of Joanna Yorke

After officially moving into its new space in The Murdock at the Waterfront building in early December, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is continuing its important work from its new home.

“For 44 years, our organization has made this city (Vancouver) our ‘home base’ as our team works to serve and support nonprofits across the Pacific Northwest,” said Executive Director Steve Moore. “When we decided to invest in a new office space, it was critical to us that we identify ways to also partner with those seeking to help encourage economic and business growth in the city of Vancouver. The Waterfront Development was a great example of government leaders, business leaders and community leaders coming together in partnership and thinking, planning and working for the long-term good of the community.”

The Trust took over the seventh floor and a portion of the sixth floor in the new waterfront building. Moore said that in 2015, the Trust had the unique opportunity to sign on as an anchor tenant in the Waterfront Development, and the first tenant in the 655 W. Columbia Way building. Although the new building does offer the Trust a bit more space than they had in their previous building, it also offers them new opportunities after being in their previous space for close to 30 years.

Moore said they put a lot of thought into their investment in the Vancouver Waterfront Development.

“We want any space we call home to reflect the vision of Jack Murdock and the mission and work of the Trust, and by far the best way to view our work is through the work of our grantees,” Moore said. “We want any space we call home to put our nonprofits front and center. Over several years, our team invested considerable time and energy into thoughtfully examining how we could bring the work of our grantees and partners front and center, as well as how we can highlight the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and appropriately honor the heritage of the diverse cultures that call this region home.”

Aspects of the Pacific Northwest and the different cultures in the region can be seen all throughout the Trust’s new office space. Different conference rooms are appropriately named ‘Denali,’ ‘Rainier,’ ‘Hood’ and ‘Cascadia.’ Art and photography showcasing the beauty of the region can also be seen covering the walls of the different rooms and hallways.

One aspect of the Trust’s new space that really goes above and beyond is the “Purpose Wall.” Camille Cotton, grants and communications associate with the Trust, explained that the decorative wall starts with the compass showing all of the regions that the Trust serves. As you move along the wall, visitors will see the Trust’s values followed by photos that show the “reason we do what we do (the Trust’s grantees),” Cotton said.

Light boxes along the Purpose Wall highlight the five sectors that the Trust serves, and the Trust’s mission is also visible on the top of the wall. A video can be seen on the wall as well that tells some of the grantee’s stories.

In just the last decade, Moore said the Murdock Trust has made more than 40 grants to nonprofits serving the Vancouver community, totaling more than $9.1 million. These grants include a diverse array of nonprofits and organizations serving an equally diverse array of communities, including:

High school educator development opportunities at Mountain View, Columbia River and Heritage high schools.

Cultural preservation and education with Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Community engagement and entertainment through groups such as Magenta Theater and the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington.

Community support and service opportunities with NAMI of Southwest Washington, Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington, and Clark County Food Bank.

Artistic infrastructure investment via $650,000 grant to the new Community Foundation for Southwest Washington for the Vancouver Waterfront.

Another reason the Trust decided on this new space was that they wanted to create a space that felt welcoming, open and inviting to the myriad organizations and individuals working to serve the common good of the Pacific Northwest, Moore said.

“We have always made our office available to nonprofits in need of meeting or convening space, and we wanted to ensure that we could carry this commitment forward into the next decades,” he said. “To achieve this, we needed to ensure that we had appropriate facilities to accommodate large groups, as well as flexible spaces to serve multiple groups at one time.”

Also, after spending 30 years in their old space, Moore said they wanted to be sure this new space would last the Trust into the future.

“With that in mind, we wanted to make the appropriate investments and lay the appropriate groundwork so that our physical space and our digital infrastructure could evolve and grow with us to accommodate new technology and staff needs,” Moore said. “Not only is this about ensuring the longevity of the Trust, but this is also an investment in our grantees. Modern technology makes it easier than ever to connect clearly and efficiently with even more groups regardless of their geographic location.”

“The Murdock Trust is incredibly grateful to the hundreds of workers who have been involved in bringing our space to life,” Moore continued. “From laying the foundation and erecting the frame to building out the infrastructure to helping us envision and craft our interior design and furniture.”

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.