President’s report April 2015

Diane Kaplan, President and CEO

Several committee meetings were held to discuss revisions to Title 4, Alaska’s alcohol statutes, before the legislature adjourned. Senate Bill 99 was introduced by Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Kenai), and its companion House Bill 185, was introduced by Rep. Bob Herron (D-Bethel). These revisions are a key strategy of the Recover Alaska initiative, and are characterized as one of the largest, most complicated bills presented to the legislature in many years. It is expected that both bills will be considered during next year’s legislative session.

Tackling underage drinking

Cassandra Stalzer, Communications Director

“But everybody else is doing it.”

It’s rare the parents who haven’t heard that from their resident teenager. But it’s more than just a rite of passage in high school. Young peoples’ perceptions of what their peers are doing play a significant part in how they justify risky behaviors.


According to social norms theory, people’s behavior is strongly influenced by their perceptions of the attitudes and behaviors of their peers. In Alaska, most teens choose not to drink in a typical month. Most Alaska teens think they do.

The Alaska Wellness Coalition (AWC) is kicking off a media campaign today to reduce and prevent underage drinking among youth by providing Alaska teens with information about healthy norms. The campaign is informed by

Thank you Rie Munoz

Diane Kaplan, President and CEO

In the entryway to the Elmer Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks is a massive mural painted by Rie. It depicts the missionaries of Alaska and contains the most wonderful representation of young Jenny Olson (later Rasmuson) arriving in Yakutat, Alaska, to begin her missionary work.

munoz mural

Elmer and Mary Louise Rasmuson with a mural by Rie Munoz. Jenny Rasmuson is depicted in the lower left corner of this painting, which hangs in the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Some years ago, while searching (unsuccessfully) for a flattering photogragh of Jenny for a Foundation project, I remembered that image. (Many of the Rasmuson family’s historic photos were lost in the 1964 earthquake.) I reached Rie through her good friend, artist Diana Tillion, and asked her about the source material for her depiction of Jenny. I believe she said something like, “Are you kidding me? That was 20 years ago. I don’t have a clue.”

A few years later, I had the opportunity to meet Rie in Juneau. She had been selected to be the 2007 Rasmuson Distinguished Artist, the most significant artist award made annually by the Foundation. We hosted a reception for Rie at the Baranof in Juneau, her longtime hometown. I had the honor of standing with her many friends and family to see her recognized as an Alaska original, an Alaska treasure.

Her brilliantly colored paintings of Alaska life are iconic. I especially have always loved the paintings of regular people and their activities in rural Alaska where Rie spent part of her time over the years.

We have lost a wonderful part of Alaska life this week. Happy sailing, Rie Munoz. Thank you for bringing joy into Alaska lives through your unique talent and vision.

George Cannelos says: April 10th, 2015 at 7:06 am
Diane, When I deplaned for the first time in Alaska in 1975 at the Juneau airport, I was greeted by Rie's large mural of Tlingit dancers. A few weeks later I was dispatched over to Tenakee Springs where we held our business meeting in the bath. Rie had just painted her first "Ladies in the Bath at Tenakee", one of my favorites. Then, as I began traveling in rural Alaska, she painted "Ptarmigan Telegraph". Over the years, as I fell in love with the state and its people, Rie's images were always there, somehow proceeding me or following me. I always associate life in village and rural Alaska with her work. Sail on, indeed! George Cannelos . READ MORE
Ira Perman says: April 10th, 2015 at 1:52 am
Thank you for remembering Rie Munoz. I met her a few times over the years and I always smile when I look at her watercolor paintings of life in Alaska as she saw it. By coincidence, I just ran into the photograph above on the state's VILDA website. I found it while searching for information on the Comity Plan - a plan led by Sheldon Jackson in the late 1800's to divide the territory of Alaska into exclusive geographic areas for the mission work by the many denominations of the day. The impact of the Comity Plan and the mission work that followed is evident across Alaska to this day. READ MORE
Tags: , ,

Just 38 hours left

Rasmuson Foundation

PCG041 Time is TickingMidday on Friday, Pick.Click.Give. passed the $3 million mark in the amount of charitable donations pledged by Alaskans. This is exciting not just because were 24% higher in revenue than this time last year, but the number of Alaskans participating in the program had grown by 32%.

Alaskans should take pride in the fact that Pick.Click.Give. has one of the highest participation rates of any philanthropy campaign or “giving day” across the country. On an average day, more than six percent of filers are choosing to share a little with a nonprofit organization important to them.

Research shows that Alaska has risen from last place among all the states in charitable giving. The 30,078 individuals that participated in Pick.Click.Give. as of Friday are one big part of that movement.

There are about 38 hours left to file. If you haven’t already, please join those making Alaska a better place through charitable giving.

President’s report March 2015

Diane Kaplan, President and CEO

Maybe it’s the time of the year, but philanthropy is springing up all around.

Willie Hensley is featured in a spot from ACT.

Willie Hensley is featured in a spot from ACT.

The Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT) held a benefit Feb. 10 at the Governor’s Mansion. It was the first ACT event hosted by First Lady Donna Walker, honorary chair. Nearly 175 people attended the reception, which raised $51,500. ACT has launched a “Start Small. Dream Big.” campaign that focuses on the positive impact adults can have in children’s lives. In its February e-newsletter, ACT quotes Willie Hensley: “Words are very powerful and children are absorbing what you say all the time, so the right word at the right time could change a person’s life.”


The Pick.Click.Give. campaign is on track to break last year’s records in both number of participants and dollars raised for Alaska’s nonprofit sector. As of today, the campaign had raised $2.95 million. The number of donors has increased 33 percent from last year, and total giving is up by 25 percent. Alaskans have until midnight, March 31, to file for their dividend.


Using data to understand alcohol’s impact

Rasmuson Foundation

Most of us have heard the term junk science. In the same category, there’s bad data. At a five-day fellowship in data journalism, reporters from news organizations across the state learned to discern data quality, and how to use data accurately and effectively in their reporting on alcohol-related issues.
10540634_10152569118917644_950908066914890852_n-1The training, Jan. 5-9 at the University of Alaska Anchorage, was sponsored and organized by the Alaska Press Club, with funding from the Recover Alaska Media Project Fund at the Alaska Community Foundation (ACF). Recover Alaska Media Project is a partnership of ACF, Alaska Children’s Trust, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Providence Health & Services Alaska, Mat-Su Health Foundation, Wells Fargo and Rasmuson Foundation.


A breather for rural leaders

Rasmuson Foundation

fresh perspectiveLeaders of nonprofits and tribal organizations in rural Alaska take note – there’s a new opportunity for you to refresh and recharge.

Rural Leader Getaway, an initiative of The Alaska Community Foundation (ACF), will award 10 round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines to anywhere the airline flies. Alaska Airlines donated the tickets. The online application and guidelines are here.


mary l jones says: March 12th, 2015 at 4:41 am
awesome! i'm sure there are tribal administrators who truly and deservingly need a getaway and see a bit of this amazing world we live in. whoever thought of this "fresh perspective" for a hard working rural community worker, you are one of a kind. thank you rasmuson foundation. READ MORE

Making Science More Accessible

Ian Dutton, Vice President

“In this bewildering world we have to decide what to believe and how to act on that. In principle that is what science is for.” So wrote Joel Achenbach in a Feb. 12 op-ed in the Washington Post. The same weekend, I happened to attend the annual American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference – one of the largest global gatherings of scientists, with some 10,000 participants.

The conference theme was Innovations, Information and Imaging. Science and technology are being transformed by new ways to collect and use information. Progress in all fields of science is increasingly driven by the ability to organize, visualize and analyze data. I was eager to see how new advances in visualization technologies is making complex science more accessible.

Brenda Moore Beyers says: February 28th, 2015 at 4:04 am
Evidence in Action Training March 20, 2015 from 1pm-5pm Distance-delivered in Anchorage, Bethel, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, and Seward CEUs: 4 NASW Continuing Education credits will be offered for participants (no additional charge). NASW-Alaska Chapter approval for CEUs for this offering are pending the completion of the application process. Title of event: Evidence in action: How to get best practices into real world settings Date/Time: 3/20/15 from 1pm-5pm Locations: Anchorage with video conferencing sites in Bethel, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, and Seward Cost: $15 registration fee, 4 NASW CEUs offered to participants at no additional cost. Description: Oscar Fleming, from National Implementation Research Network, is coming to Alaska to conduct a workshop on research-based steps for implementation of evidence based practices (EBPs) in schools and community-based human services. The goal of EBPs is to integrate clinical expertise, scientific evidence, and client/caregiver values in high-quality services reflecting the needs and choices of students, clients, and families. This workshop will help participants know how to effectively implement EBPs within their organizations, at every step, so they are sustainable. This interactive workshop will include a description of the Active Implementation Frameworks and a discussion of common challenges in the use of evidence based practice. Finally, attendees will develop action plans for applying the framework in their practice and within their organization. You must be able to attend at one of the listed video conferencing sites to participate, as the training will be very interactive with small group facilitation and work at each site. Because of this, no internet or telephone options are available for this training. Locations: Anchorage: UAA Center for Human Development, 2702 Gambell St Fairbanks: Trust Training Cooperative office, 615 Bidwill Avenue, Suite 300 Bethel: Consortium Library, 420 State Highway, Bethel, AK 99559 Homer: Location TBD Seward: Seward Library, 239 6th Ave Seward, AK 99664 Juneau: Location TBD Registration Info To register, follow this link: This event is being sponsored by the Alaska LEND Without Walls program (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and other related Disabilities). Learn more about LEND at READ MORE
Tags: , , ,

President’s report January 2015

Diane Kaplan, President and CEO

While the holiday season did give us a chance to catch our breath, November and December were fairly busy. The following is a sampling of recent activities and grantee news.

Alaska State Senator Anna MacKinnon and Chairman Ed debrief following a discussion about housing construction gridlock, Dec. 18. Also pictured: Alaska State Senate President Kevin Meyer, CIHA's Carol Gore, and AHFC's Bryan Butcher.Alaska State Senator Anna MacKinnon (Fairclough) and Chairman Ed debrief following a discussion about housing construction gridlock, Dec. 18

State Senator Anna MacKinnon and Chairman Ed debrief following a discussion about housing construction gridlock.

Board Chairman Ed Rasmuson, Alaska State Senate President Kevin Meyer and I co-hosted a discussion Dec. 18 with Anchorage legislators, bankers, housing developers, and Housing Anchorage partners to identify ways the Legislature can help relieve housing construction gridlock. They highlighted remedies the state could enact:

  • preserve AHFC housing funding;
  • clarify and make technical improvements to current law; and
  • provide capital support for housing development infrastructure.

At the Transition Team Conference (from left): me, Cindy Roberts, Elsa Sargento and Susan Ruddy.

Board member Jeff Cook and I were among the 250 Alaskans invited to participate in the Governor’s Transition Team Conference. As a member of the infrastructure team, I introduced several key priorities of Housing Anchorage. From left: me, Cindy Roberts, Elsa Sargento and Susan Ruddy.


John Castles says: February 12th, 2015 at 6:47 am
I love your reports on everything that is going on in Alaska. Keep up the great work! READ MORE
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dementia and the book of mom

Rasmuson Foundation

Mary Katzke is executive director of Affinityfilms, Inc., an Anchorage-based, nonprofit, social issues media production company. Her recent film, “Backing Out of Time,” tells the stories of five families caring for parents who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. In this guest post, she reflects on making the film and learning from those she met.

Guest post by Mary Katzke

Janet and her mom, from the documentary film Backing Out of Time.

Janet and her mom, from the documentary film “Backing Out of Time.”

In the months since our documentary “Backing Out of Time” was finished, I have been devoting time to “Book of Mom.” It includes my favorite photos and memories; basic information about where to find important papers; the names of friends I trust for big decisions; and a list of things that bring me joy and comfort – fresh orange juice, terrific coffee, chocolate, a room with a view and down comforters.

I hope my son never has cause to open “Book of Mom.” But I also know it will be a big help to him should I be among the one out of nine adults over 65 – actually, it’s one out of six women – who will develop Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.