Annual Letter

Annual Letters

2015 Letter To Alaskans

Dear Alaskans,

When my grandfather and former Bank of Alaska President Edward Anton Rasmuson died in 1949, the Bank’s board meeting minutes noted that he never thought of money as having any value for its own sake. His mission in life had been not only to help local Alaskans “develop their businesses,” but also to demonstrate “personal responsibility for moral and spiritual leadership” wherever he went.

Annual Letters

2014 Letter to Alaskans

Dear Alaskans,

My father, Elmer Rasmuson, noted in a 1993 speech that “we live in a changing world.” Indeed, Rasmuson Foundation is in the business of change — specifically the type of change leading toward increased opportunity and a better quality of life for Alaskans.

Annual Letters

2013 Letter to Alaskans

Board members Ed Rasmuson, Cathy Rasmuson and Anthony Mallott at last Spring's re-dedication of the Chief Shakes Tribal House in Wrangell.

Board members Ed Rasmuson, Cathy Rasmuson and Anthony Mallott at last Spring’s re-dedication of the Chief Shakes Tribal House in Wrangell.

Benjamin Franklin once famously remarked that, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Truer words are hard to come by.

Annual Letters

2010 Letter to Alaskans

A guiding principle for Rasmuson Foundation is reflected in one of my father Elmer’s sayings: “A community that invests in itself is a healthy community.” His philosophy manifested itself in both his professional and philanthropic pursuits. As a banker he expected people to invest their own money in their homes and businesses before they asked him to provide a loan.

Annual Letters

2009 Letter to Alaskans

Almost 50 years ago, Alaska’s Southcentral communities of Valdez, Seward, Kodiak, and Anchorage were rocked by the largest earthquake ever recorded in North American history. The powerful quake temporarily liquefied soils, destroyed homes, structures and streets, disrupted electric and phone service, ruptured water, sewer and gas lines, and created a 400-mile-an-hour tsunami that reached shores as far away as California and Hawaii.

Annual Letters

2008 Letter to Alaskans

In the opening chapters of his memoir, “Fifty Miles from Tomorrow,” lifelong Alaskan Willie Hensley recounts the challenges and pleasures of living a traditional Inupiat childhood north of the Arctic Circle in territorial Alaska. Winters on Kotzebue Sound are nine months long, the sun barely edges above the horizon, and the wind can lash so hard you cannot safely step outside.

Annual Letters

2007 Letter to Alaskans

Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie once observed, “You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he be willing to climb himself.” While the vernacular shows its age, the principle, as valid today as it was 100 years ago, is at work behind some of Rasmuson Foundation’s major initiatives in 2007.

Annual Letters

2006 Letter to Alaskans

A Chinese proverb states, “One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.” Clearly, there is important work underway today in Alaska’s communities that will provide benefit to Alaskans far into the future. Here at the Foundation, we work with “communities of location” such as Homer, Wrangell, or Unalaska; “communities of need or identity” such as artists, ethnic groups, seniors or youth; and “community organizations” such as Urban League or Anchorage Faith and Action Congregations Together (AFACT).

Annual Letters

2005 Letter to Alaskans

When my grandmother Jenny, and my father Elmer, began the Foundation through a declaration of trust 50 years ago in 1955, they did so both out of concern and with purpose. They believed that by assisting Alaskan non-profit organizations addressing basic needs, special circumstances, the arts and education, the Rasmuson Foundation would contribute to healthy, enriched and productive lives for Alaskans of all ages.

Annual Letters

2004 Letter to Alaskans

Like most people, I maintain a healthy skepticism about statistics. When encountering them, I can’t help but think about the statement popularized by Mark Twain, who said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Despite my skepticism, there is one statistic that never fails to pleasantly surprise me each time I see it: individuals give over 80% of all money donated to U.S.

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