Murdock Trust Awards NCNM $220,000 for Helfgott Research Institute

PORTLAND, Ore. (Dec. 10, 2012) — National College of Natural Medicine announced today that it received a $220,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for the renovation of NCNM’s Helfgott Research Institute and Community Education Center. The grant is the largest NCNM has ever received from a private charitable foundation.

An internationally respected leader in natural medicine research and the recipient of a number of National Institutes of Health research grants, NCNM’s Helfgott Research Institute is a non-profit, independent research institute. Its mission is to advance the art and science of natural medicine through the development of rigorous research studies and student education. Through the leadership of Heather Zwickey, PhD, dean of research, the research institute was established in June 2003 with a donation of $1.2 million from Don Helfgott, the co-founder of Inspiration Software, based in Beaverton, Ore.

In addition to the Murdock Trust grant, NCNM has received a number of other sizeable donations for the research building project. The college was awarded a grant of $198,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust; approximately $700,000 from Bob and Charlee Moore, co-founders of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods and noted nutrition advocates and philanthropists; $100,000 from the estate of Violet Beebe of Coeur d’Alene; and $100,000 from the estate of Marjorie A. Gage of Portland. Beebe and Gage were grateful patients of NCNM natural medicine practitioners.

NCNM President, David J. Schleich, PhD, said that NCNM’s rapid growth in recent years is a response to the urgent need for a stronger primary-care model and consumer demand for preventive, natural healthcare options. At the same time, the college is addressing the growing need for evidence-based complementary and alternative medical research education.

Schleich noted, “In 2011 we launched the pilot program of NCNM’s accredited Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research, the only one of its kind in North America. Grounded as it is in over a century of natural medicine clinical care, the innovative program provides our students the opportunity to do hands-on, clinical CAM research that can address intransigent medical, social, environmental or global concerns.” The research institute’s new Master of Science degree program was offered to its first incoming cohort of students in September.

In addition to the Helfgott Research Institute, the new facility features “Charlee’s Kitchen,” a teaching and research kitchen named in honor of Charlee Moore. “The teaching kitchen is a perfect setting for our naturopathic doctors, who are the nation’s primary care experts in nutrition,” Schleich emphasized.

Charlee’s Kitchen will be used for student research, and also for NCNM’s new Food as Medicine community workshops based on the ECO Project model of nutrition and cooking instruction. The Moores—renowned nutritional advocates—have donated $1.65 million to the school since 2010 to support community nutrition programs and research.

The Murdock Trust grant is an outright cash award of $65,000 as well as a conditional 1:1 matching funds gift of $155,000. The college has immediately launched the Murdock Challenge Campaign, which will be completed by June 30, 2014—bringing an additional $155,000 in new funding for NCNM’s research building renovation.

“We are immensely grateful to the Murdock Charitable Trust for its strong vote of confidence in NCNM,” Schleich said. “This significant award enables NCNM to continue to strengthen its roots, building a strong future for its students.”

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created by the will of the late Melvin J. Murdock, co-founder of Tektronix, Inc., an innovative entrepreneurial leader known throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Trust’s mission is to enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by providing grants and enrichment programs to organizations seeking to strengthen the region’s educational, spiritual, and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. In addition to a special interest in education and scientific research, the Trust partners with a wide variety of organizations that serve the arts, public affairs, health and medicine, human services, leadership development, and persons with disabilities.


Founded in Portland in 1956, NCNM is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical school in North America and an educational leader in classical Chinese medicine and CAM research. NCNM offers four-year graduate medical degree programs in naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine, and a Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research degree. Its community clinics provide low-cost medical care throughout the Portland metropolitan area. In addition to the campus-based NCNM Clinic, NCNM practitioners care for approximately 37,000 patient visits per year. Until July 2006, NCNM was known as the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. The name change reflects the diversity of the college’s programmatic degree offerings.

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