Senior Program Officer

M.J. Murdock Charitable TrustVancouver, WA

About M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust (The Murdock Trust) is a private foundation supporting the capacity and growth of nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest. From day one, their mission has been to serve individuals, families, and communities across the region, including Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, through grantmaking, enrichment programs, and convenings that strengthen the region’s educational, social, spiritual, and cultural base in ways that are innovative and sustainable.

The Murdock Trust has partnered with more than 3,000 nonprofits serving the diverse needs of the communities that comprise the Pacific Northwest. The Murdock Trust likes to say, “the fruit of our labor grows on the trees of others.” The work they do and any success they may see are directly tied to the tireless work of the individuals and nonprofits with whom they partner. The Murdock Trust supports strategic operations, internal capacity, and capital projects of nonprofits in the region in the following sectors: arts, culture & education; health; social services & civic engagement; scientific research; and civic engagement.

As a “faith-friendly” private foundation, approximately 30% of The Murdock Trust grants are made to faith-based organizations that serve a variety of communities. Several of the Murdock Trust enrichment programs are designed for faith-based individuals and organizations. In addition, some of the convenings hosted by the Murdock Trust are targeted to a faith-based audience or involve faith-based topics. The faith-friendly environment of the Murdock Trust is something in which staff can be silent or participative, where people of faith and those who are not of faith are equally respected.

The Murdock Trust was founded by Melvin J. “Jack” Murdock, co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. in 1975. Jack was an entrepreneur who took seriously his responsibility to invest, both financially and through his time and resources, back into the communities of the Pacific Northwest.

In 2018 the Murdock Trust moved to new offices on the redeveloped Vancouver, WA waterfront that offer meeting spaces to support the evolving needs of the nonprofit and philanthropic communities in the region. In early 2022 the Trust welcomed a new CEO, Romanita Hairston.

To learn more about the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, visit their website

The Opportunity

The Trust is growing its team of Senior Program Officers to support current and anticipated growth in grantmaking.  This is a unique opportunity to join the Murdock Trust at a pivotal moment of growth and positive change. There are openings in two sectors: one with the Arts, Culture & Education team and one with the Social Services & Civic Engagement team.

The Arts, Culture, & Education team focuses on media, performing and non-performing arts, museums, higher education, private and public K-12 education, campus ministries, youth development, and informal education.

The Social Services & Civic Engagement team focuses on community development, ministry, and social services to support low income, children, youth, families, homelessness, immigrants, and refugees.

These positions will work closely with the Trust’s Leadership Team, program, and grant management staff. The Senior Program Officers (SPOs) will work within their respective sector team and report to a Sector Program Director.

As a member of the Murdock Trust Program Team, an SPO is responsible for performing grantmaking activities, including reviewing and analyzing applications, writing funding recommendations and monitoring grant performance.  They will work directly with grantees and build enrichment programs and convenings. SPOs contribute to and implement strategic program plans in conjunction with their sectoral team.

Key Responsibilities

Sector Issue Leadership

  • Work with Murdock Trust leadership and within the Arts, Culture & Education or Social Services & Civic Engagement sectoral team on grantmaking, enrichment programming, and convening initiatives.
  • Build and steward relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Conduct research to inform and define needs and outcomes of their respective sectoral grantmaking, programming, and initiatives.
  • Define and assess impact of programs, and partner with the sector Program Directors to ensure the successful completion of objectives and initiatives.
  • Represent the Trust in sectoral activities in partnership with nonprofit organizations, constituents, peer foundations and sector experts.
  • Ability to facilitate effective and efficient group discussions or meetings.

Grantee Relationships and Grant Application Review

  • Murdock Trust invites ongoing grant requests from the communities they serve. A key responsibility of an SPO is review a high volume of grant applications through in-depth objective analysis of the applicant organization and project to assess alignment with sectoral objectives and Trust guidelines, potential for impact and outcomes, leadership, and operational and fiscal health.
  • Manage the grantee relationship through the assessment and grant period; serving as the primary contact for grant related issues.
  • Conduct site visits with applicant organizations as a part of the grant application review.  Travel up to 25-40% of the time, primarily within the five-state funding region.
  • Prepare internal written reviews for each application that provide an effective summary of the thorough analysis; make recommendations to Trust Leadership and Trustees for grant decisions.
  • Work openly, candidly, and cooperatively with other program staff in arriving at a final recommendation for funding and/or other ways of support.

Grants Management

  • Maintain ongoing communication with grantees.
  • Manage and guide a portfolio of grant contracts awarded and grantee relationships to advance the goals of the sector and provide support/information as needed to program and grants administration staff through completion.
  • Conduct post-grant evaluation and analysis of projects to confirm project viability, compliance with approved budgets, schedules, and resources.

Organization-Wide Initiatives and Representation

  • Uphold a strong commitment to the mission, ethos, and core values of the Trust.
  • Work with team members to identify opportunities for continuous improvement and innovation; implement ways to make programs, processes, and systems more efficient.
  • Engage in training and professional development activities to grow in competency and effectiveness within the role.
  • Facilitate and lead discussions and meetings with a broad and diverse range stakeholders in your respective sector.
  • Attend conferences or workshops for professional development and share knowledge gained with peer staff.

Ideal Candidate

Candidates for the Senior Program Officer role should have a strong interest in supporting the capacity, potential, and growth of social entrepreneurs and nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest. They should have familiarity with and comfort in a faith friendly environment, where faith-based expression and organizations are part of the day-to-day programs and operations.

We seek candidates who bring significant experience in non-profit leadership to inform the Trust’s grantee experience, grantmaking, and program development.  Backgrounds in social services & civic Engagement, arts & culture, or education are particularly relevant and desired.

Given the Trust’s grantmaking focus on supporting nonprofits with strategic operations and capital projects, experience at the executive level of a nonprofit and an understanding of the full scope of nonprofit operations including financial analysis, administration, and governance is critical.

The SPOs we seek will work each day to bring The Murdock Trust’s faith-forward values to life while advancing the grantmaking objectives and the social impact of the Trust’s work, both internally and while representing the Trust externally.

With the implementation of a new structure and programmatic framework underway, successful candidates must demonstrate a high degree of adaptability and flexibility in their work approach. Writing proposals and recommendations features prominently in these roles; a high level of competency in writing is required. Previous experience in grantmaking is a plus. 

Candidates should display comfort working independently and operate with the highest levels of quality, ethics, and confidentiality. Collaboration and strong initiative and follow-through are key to success.

Skills and characteristics that will support success in the role of an SPO include:

Leadership and Team Collaboration

  • Balancing the reliable completion of a high volume of independent work while working collaboratively as a part of a team.
  • Skillfully navigate relationships with internal and external stakeholders at all levels of an organization and representing the Trust in a knowledgeable and credible way in all circumstances.
  • Strategic thinking with the ability to align work with organizational values and priorities.
  • Navigating ambiguity and change with agility and humility.
  • Openness to new or innovative methods and proposals.

Analysis, Writing, and Organization

  • Analyze and synthesize large amounts of complex information; prepare written summaries of analyses suitable for audiences at all levels of an organization.
  • Creation of strong narrative reports, proposals, and recommendations.
  • Managing and prioritize complex projects and assignments.
  • Excellent planning and operational skills.
  • Producing high-quality work, adhering to deadlines.

Relationship and Communication

  • Familiarity and comfort in being in a work environment where diverse faith-based organizations and individuals are present and part of the day-to-day programing and operations; including the ability to objectively analyze faith-based proposals. 
  • Build and maintain relationships with others through multiple forms of engagement.
  • Ability to provide constructive feedback, deliver difficult news, and seek additional information as needed.
  • Exceptional written and effective verbal communication skills, virtually and in-person, using appropriate mediums and tools to share information.
  • Ability to facilitate effective and efficient group discussions or meetings.


  • Minimum of 7 years of experience in sector related field in nonprofits; non-profit executive director experience preferred.
  • Curiosity, resourcefulness, service-orientation, and dedication to lifelong learning, which may be reflected in a bachelor’s degree and additional education.
  • Demonstrated experience in the areas of non-profit management, non-profit financial literacy, assessment of organizational health and readiness, governance.
  • Demonstrated technical acumen including proficiency with workplace technology including but not limited to Microsoft suite.

Salary & Location

The salary range for this position is $147,400-$172,000, commensurate with experience.

This role is based in Portland, Oregon or in Vancouver, Washington. The Trust has a policy of working in-person, in the Vancouver office three days/week, with Mondays a mandatory in person day. 

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust EEO Statement

It is the policy of the Trust to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment, without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, pregnancy, disability, genetics, marital status, veteran/military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by local, state, or federal law. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, recruitment, hiring, placement, promotion, compensation, benefits, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, training, and leaves of absence.  

To Be Considered

The priority deadline for applications has passed. Applicants will receive notification regarding candidacy status by August 21st.

Senior Program OfficerM.J. Murdock Charitable TrustVancouver, WA

GoodCitizen has been exclusively retained by M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to lead this search. For questions, please contact:

Melissa Merritt
Managing Director
Direct: 206.792.4300

Celene Haque Tanner
Engagement Manager
Direct: 206.462.6189

Gabe Sapuay
Senior Associate
Direct: 206.792.4221