Call to Murdock Trust: Stop funding hate groups

By The Beacon | March 16, 2016 10:05am

by Jill Pham |

University of Portland receives funding from outside institutions. This is not news. University of Portland needs the funding.

One of the larger funders to UP is the Murdock Charitable Trust. It is based in Vancouver, Washington. The Murdock Charitable Trust funds many worthy groups, such as: the Boys & Girls Clubs, the arts and institutions of higher education (like the University of Portland).

Since 2012, UP has received $1.8 million from the Murdock Charitable Trust. It has gone toward internship programs, research projects and grants, the renovation of the Clark Library and the Beauchamp Recreation & Wellness Center. The university has benefited from the funding received from the Murdock Charitable Trust.

Unfortunately, the Murdock Charitable Trust has also given funding to hateful groups. Here are some groups that receive funding from the Murdock Charitable Trust:

  • The Alliance Defending Freedom: an extremist organization co-founded by James Dobson, who has suggested that AIDS is one way God punishes the LGBT community for immorality and has supported gay conversion therapy. The ADF has helped draft SB 1062 in Arizona, which would have allowed businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community on the basis of religion. They were granted $250,000 by Murdock in 2012.
  • The Freedom Foundation: an extremist organization that has launched an all-out assault on working families in Oregon and Washington state. The Freedom Foundation is funded by out of state billionaires who want to keep wages low, eliminate paid sick leave and slash crucial funding for quality education. They were granted $240,000 by Murdock in 2015.
  • The Discovery Institute: Leading staff members have questioned the existence of climate change and its founder, George Gilder, has called gay marriage “an absurd concept … a lie.” They were awarded $375,000 by Murdock in 2015.
The Murdock Charitable Trust states that its grants are intended to “enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest.”  If this is the case, then why do they fund hate groups?

So what does this have to with UP?

The University’s mission statement includes: “We value the development of the whole person. The University honors faith and reason as ways of knowing, promotes ethical reflection, and prepares people who respond to the needs of the world and its human family.”

The University’s strategic plan for 2011-2016 intends to create “a community that demonstrates service and leadership for the common good.”

Blessed Basil Moreau “called upon his followers to teach their students not only how they might live, but also how they might make a living.”

Neither of those statements aligns with the messages of the hate groups that receive funding from the Murdock Charitable Trust. Murdock’s funding toward these hate groups does not align with the University’s values.

We are not asking UP to turn down the money. That is not practical, nor is it our goal. We just hope that Murdock does not intend to buy our silence by providing us these grants.

We call on the UP administration to urge the Murdock Charitable Trust to end their funding for these organizations that undermine the values of UP and larger Pacific Northwest communities.

For more information on supporting the campaign to stop the funding of hate groups, visit

Jill Pham is a senior social work major and can be reached at