Today is an exciting day to be part of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. As you may have heard, this morning we announced that we have officially awarded more than $1 billion in grants since our foundation opened its doors in 1975.
As our team reflects with deep gratitude on the impact of our work over the last 44 years and begins with enthusiasm our plans for the next billion in grants to be invested in the coming years, I find myself with a single message for the Vancouver community.
We are grateful to the myriad of partners across Vancouver and Southwest Washington who have collaborated with us on business needs and philanthropic initiatives. We honor those who volunteer and give generously to serve the needs of our community and beyond.
We are grateful to our nonprofit and community partners who have provided counsel, guidance and support as we have worked to serve the diverse array of individuals, families and communities across the Pacific Northwest.
But most of all, we are grateful to this community for exemplifying the benefits we all can reap through collaboration and community building.
Research has shown that communities thrive when unconventional coalitions are formed — groups that might not cross paths, either because of ideological differences or because their work rarely overlaps, and yet come together to address a common issue. These conversations can be challenging, but they also ensure success by securing buy-in from all relevant stakeholders.
This is a process that Vancouver, more and more, is embracing. The recently opened Waterfront Development represents a unique result of input from government, business and community members. Though still far from a conclusion, government and community leaders’ desire to come back to the table to discuss the Columbia River Crossing suggests a willingness and a desire to hear from and serve a diverse array of stakeholders in a meaningful way.
As we seek to address the complex challenges of diverse housing needs, homelessness, mental health, addiction and education, it will require more of us to set aside our perceived social or political differences in order to collaborate on solutions that serve the common good.
We know that there is much important work to do. Our team is already thinking about how we will invest the next billion dollars in grants we will make over the coming years, some of which will go to organizations and nonprofits right here in America’s Vancouver, Clark County and the Southwest Washington region. We know that we cannot effect positive change on our own. We need creative partners, thoughtful collaborators and dedicated leaders who are willing to find pathways to join together to help ensure that we are serving the common good.
We are grateful to those who have already shown a willingness to take part in this process, and we urge all of our elected officials, business leaders, nonprofit partners, educators, faith-community representatives and individual community members to join in productive, collaborative discussion as to how we can help ensure that every resident of Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest has the opportunity to flourish and thrive.
Mike True is CFO of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.