About Us

Morrison Knudsen Foundation has provided some special gifts to our
MK communities that immortalize Morrison Knudsen Company,
one of the greatest engineering and construction industry giants in the world.

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  • Morrison Knudsen Foundation funded a Wake Island flag and pole for Veterans Memorial Park (Veterans Parkway). The new flag commemorates the bravery of hundreds of Idahoans who fought against Japanese forces on Wake Island during World War II. On Dec. 8, 1941, U.S. Marines and a group of civilian workers from Morrison-Knudsen Co. building a naval air base on Wake Island were attacked by Japanese forces. Under harrowing conditions, they resisted repeated enemy attacks. On Dec. 23, the Japanese captured the island and survivors were taken prisoner. At the end of the war, the Japanese surrendered the atoll and the American flag flew again. Sadly, 336 men who defended the island -- including 250 civilian MK contractors -- died on Wake or in prison camps.
  • Wake Island flag and pole
  • As Morrison-Knudsen’s Centennial Gift to Idaho, the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center opened in 1990. The Nature Center is a 4.6 acre wildlife park in East Boise along the Boise River, close by the complex that served as the world headquarters for Morrison Knudsen Company and the Boise Greenbelt. The Center (now managed and operated by the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation) features live fish and wildlife exhibits, viewing areas into the water, bird and butterfly gardens, waterfalls, and a visitor's center. Approximately 300,000 people visit the Center each year. Morrison Knudsen Foundation is proud to have been part of such an impressive private and public collaborative effort.
  • The Morrison Knudsen Foundation recognizes the important role of the MK Nature Center to our community, and we continue to support projects to enhance and maintain its beauty. The Nature Center's stream walk and education building provide visitors opportunity to enjoy beautiful Boise River landscapes and abundant wildlife. The underwater viewing windows along the stream walk give visitors a view of native aquatic plants, fish and wildlife that depend on the River for their existence. Many species of fish can be viewed as they swim in their natural stream habitat past the viewing windows that are easily accessible along the walking paths and foot bridges. The Foundation recently funded a roof project and has plans to partner with BSU Construction Management students on bridge and other projects for the Center.
  • In 1990 Morrison Knudsen purchased the Boise depot that had closed its doors in 1981 and renovated it to pristine condition. The Foundation was headquartered at the depot for several years. The original Barkalow Brothers newsstand which had been built when the station opened in 1925 was discovered behind a false wall and was in such good condition that it required little restoration. Other historical exhibits related to the history of rail travel in Idaho and history of the depot graced the walls and alcoves. The Foundation operated the museum and offered it to the public for special events and tours until 1996 when the City of Boise took it over. Thousands turned out in April 1925 for the grand opening as Boise’s first transcontinental train, The Portland Rose, rolled into town. The restoration ensured that the depot will continue to marvel the public as a prominent monument of great historical significance for our community.
  • The Foundation contributed to the Boise River Whitewater Park with funding to help construct the Harry W. Morrison Dam. Of all the many dams that Morrison Knudsen built world-wide under the direction of Mr. Morrison, this would be the first dam that was named to honor the company founder.
  • They shall never be forgotten…Thirteen employees lost their lives at the company offices in The World Trade Center--victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The Foundation initiated an employee fundraising drive receiving overwhelming generous donations from employees. The Foundation matched all the employee donations for a combined total of nearly $170,000 to help the families of the fallen co-workers and others.
  • The Foundation was there to help employees and their communities when disasters occurred. Morrison Knudsen was an international construction engineering company with project offices and sites spanning the globe. Whenever tragedy struck an MK community, fellow co-workers and employees selflessly joined together to lend a helping hand or to make donations. On many occasions, the Foundation was able to match employee gifts to generate impressive funding to help fellow Emkayans and others who fell victim to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the S. E. Asia Tsunami. No longer having an international presence, funding is now focused within the Boise/Treasure Valley community.

Mission Statement

It is the mission of Morrison Knudsen Foundation, Inc. to provide one-time assistance for basic necessities to individuals demonstrating appropriate need in Boise/Treasure Valley,  the location of the Foundation’s origin.  The Foundation also provides a limited number of small grants to 501(c)(3)-qualified organizations.

Demographics (who we serve)

Foundation’s board carefully approves over 250 individual applications each year. Over the past 5 years, the Foundation has provided more than $1 million directly to assist needy individuals with basic necessities. Foundation recipient demographics boasts impressive diversity:

  • Over 50% of the Foundation beneficiaries are disabled
  • 14% are veterans
  • 40% are minorities
  • 60% are single heads of household
  • 25% are elderly

Components to Our Giving Program

There are two components to our giving program:

  • One-time grants to assist needy individuals
  • Grants to charitable, non-profit organizations



Individuals who demonstrate appropriate need are referred to the Foundation for assistance by non-profit agencies and service providers.  Applicants will complete an application and interview process to determine eligibility.  (see LINKS/RESOURSES for referring agencies)


Qualified organizations must meet the following criteria:

  • Be based in and serve the Boise/Treasure Valley community
  • Meet the definition of at least one of the Foundation’s funding categories described below.
  • Deliver effective, high-impact programs with measurable outcomes and have a reputation of achievement known within the community.
  • Able to identify community needs, provide programs or projects with broad community support and demonstrate that it does not represent unnecessary duplication.
  • Provide appropriate recognition and promote the ideals of the Foundation.
  • Show program capability, sound fiscal policies, responsible financial management, and have a competent Board of Directors involved in the Organization.
  • Qualify as a charitable non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service tax code

Foundation Funds 4 Categories of Organizations

(In Order of Foundation Priority)

  •  Health & Human Services – Programs and projects that support health care and human services benefiting former MK employees and other members of the public. Support of local non-profit agencies providing relief to the poor, elderly and disabled or solutions for others who are experiencing crisis or trauma, improves quality of life and thus improves the general well-being in the community where we reside and conduct business.
  • Civic and Community – Good Citizenship requires participation in the improvement and management of community life.  Programs and projects that benefit the public at large by unifying the community, solving problems, and enhancing the quality of life with social activities are important to building the diverse, cohesive, and resilient neighborhoods that we enjoy in the Treasure Valley.
  • Education – Education insures the availability of highly skilled, educated individuals to enrich our community. Better education leads to better incomes and fulfills our hope that families will be able to break the cycle of poverty. Funding high-impact programs that further math, science, environment, communications, and technology help build the workforce of the future.  Innovative, cost-effective life skills and parenting programs, short-term trainings with placement opportunities, and financial literacy projects are of particular interest to us and a good fit to our self-sufficiency, one-time assistance funding criteria.
  • Culture & Arts –   Providing performing and cultural art experiences to underprivileged individuals, especially youth and elderly, or bringing these opportunities to under-served communities is our primary focus in this category.

Funding Restrictions

Grants are NOT eligible if they meet any of the following criteria

  • Not tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)3
  • Located outside Boise, Idaho.
  • Political, labor, fraternal organizations, merchant associations, civic clubs, memberships and political organizations designed primarily to lobby.
  • For individuals, i.e. scholarships, trust funds, sporting events, seminars, contests, sponsorships, travel or related expenses, student trips or tours.
  • Organizations that discriminate for any reason, including race, color, religion, creed, age, sex or national origin.
  • Churches or religious organizations for religious purposes.
  • For books, films, television programs and video production, research or feasibility studies, tickets for contests, raffles or other prize-oriented activities.
  • Organizations whose practices are not in keeping with the  Foundation’s commitment to the business code of ethics.