Rasmuson Foundation 2018 Annual Letter

Engaging grantmakers

Visiting grantmakers gathered in 2018 with students from the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program. (Photo by Sam Towarak)

By plane, boat and train, we convene with Lower 48 grantmakers

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    2018 Grantmakers Tour Supporters

  • Alaska Airlines
  • The Alaska Community Foundation
  • Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
  • Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
  • Alaska Native Heritage Center
  • Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program
  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
  • Alaska Railroad
  • Anchorage Community Land Trust
  • Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and Mara Kimmel
  • Anchorage Museum
  • Arctic Slope Native Association
  • Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
  • Bethel Community Services Foundation
  • BP Exploration Inc.
  • CIRI Foundation
  • City of Napaskiak
  • City of Yakutat
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Cook Inlet Housing Authority
  • Cook Inlet Region Inc.
  • Cook Inlet Tribal Council
  • Ed and Cathy Rasmuson
  • ExxonMobil Alaska
  • First Alaskans Institute
  • The Foraker Group
  • Former Gov. Bill Walker and Donna Walker
  • Iḷisaġvik College
  • Iñupiat Heritage Center
  • Koahnic Broadcast Corporation
  • Kuskokwim Wildlife Adventures
  • KYUK
  • Former Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and Toni Mallott
  • Mat-Su Health Foundation
  • Municipality of Anchorage
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • Senator Dan Sullivan
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski
  • Southcentral Foundation
  • State of Alaska
  • Sven Haakanson
  • Tundra Women's Coalition
  • U.S. Arctic Research Commission
  • United Way of Anchorage
  • Wells Fargo
  • Willie Hensley
  • Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation

A tête à tête with a U.S. senator. Coffee with tribal leaders. Conversations with whaling captains and heads of corporations. A visit to the most diverse ZIP code in the United States, Anchorage’s Mountain View neighborhood. We connect philanthropists from the Lower 48 to the Alaska that most Alaskans never get to see. Every year since 1997, the Foundation has hosted a weeklong jam-packed tour that melds two of our guiding principles: partnership and leverage, encouraging others to give. Welcome to our Grantmakers Tour. Through it, we connect Outside grantmakers with local leaders and corporations to learn about and invest in Alaska.

We work with locals to showcase our challenges, our solutions and our vision. Partners represent varied sectors — healthcare, housing and social services; arts, culture and education. We travel by plane, boat and more to put grantmakers in the room with Alaskans doing the hard work. Nonprofit leaders take a train ride with philanthropists of shared interests. Guests see how culture and higher education weave together in rural Alaska, the relationship between the oil industry and state revenue in Prudhoe Bay, and life in small villages like Napaskiak. Industry sponsors support the work. Months of planning allow it to happen.

We have hosted dozens of foundation leaders. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and Pacific Northwest’s M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust are among those that have sent representatives multiple years. Maurine Knighton, arts program director for Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, said her experience on the 2018 tour informs her philanthropic practice. “One of the most important things that I gained was a much deeper appreciation for the people here, for the ingenuity, for the inventiveness and for the spirit.”

Rasmuson Board Room

Foundation Chairman Ed Rasmuson addressed grantmakers and staff during the 2010 tour.

The tour and regular spinoffs bring results: an estimated $115 million to Alaska from alumni foundations over the years. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently awarded $500,000 to Alaska Public Media to support coverage of rural health care challenges. Doris Duke Charitable Foundation designated $1 million for R.O.C.K Mat-Su to promote healthy families. The tour also puts Alaska on the philanthropic map. Our isolation necessitates innovative solutions. Money alone doesn’t do it. The right people must come together at the right time. The tour stands out as one way we try to fulfill our founders’ vision of improving lives in Alaska.

$115 million In investments from tour-generated connections
160 Participants on tour since 1997
93 Number of outside foundations and funders that have participated so far
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