Innovia Foundation receives Murdock Trust grant and hires new staff

Posted on May 30, 2018


Innovia Foundation receives Murdock Trust grant and hires new staff

SPOKANE, WA, May 29, 2018 — Innovia Foundation recently received a $234,500 multi-year grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, Washington, to develop a research and community impact program. Innovia Foundation will conduct research and analysis to shape ideas and inform priorities for new programs, partnerships, and advocacy that support vibrant communities in the Inland Northwest.

To carry out this mission, Mason Burley will join the staff as Director of Research & Community Impact. Burley comes from a position as Senior Research Analyst at Premier, Inc., where he has conducted research into the healthcare system, developed grant submissions, and presented research proposals. He holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D from Washington State University, concentrating on health policy and administration, nursing, and psychology. Burley’s prior experience includes twenty years as a research associate at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, where he gained experience in multiple policy areas.

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.

Innovia Foundation has also hired three other staff members in roles related to strategy, grants, and marketing.

Aaron McMurray joins as Chief Strategy Officer. He holds a Ph.D in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University and has extensive experience in leadership, consulting, and fundraising roles. Most recently, McMurray served as Vice President & Consultant in the Fundraising Management division of Ruffalo Noel Levitz. He also spent three years as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Relations at Warner Pacific University, and five years as the Director of Alumni & Parent Relations and Annual Giving at Whitworth University.

Alicia Heiser will serve as Grants Program Associate. She recently completed her Political Science and International Relations degree at Gonzaga University, and her previous experience includes a research fellowship at Innovia Foundation, a position as global ambassador for International Studies Abroad, and an internship at World Relief.

Nathan Quick is joining the staff until August as a summer Marketing Fellow, creating content for INWCF’s website and social media platforms. He has one semester remaining before completing his B.A. in English Literature from Whitworth University.

Founded in 1974, Innovia Foundation serves 10 Eastern Washington counties and 10 North Idaho counties to foster vibrant and sustainable communities in the Inland Northwest. The community foundation currently manages over 500 funds valued at more than $120 million and has awarded $65 million in grants and scholarships since its inception, positively impacting thousands of lives in this region.

For more information on Innovia Foundation and its work in the Inland Northwest, contact Lauren Nissen, Operations Manager, at 509-624-2606 or at