Explore the history of Rasmuson Foundation and Alaska.

1900
1901

Jenny Olson arrives in Alaska.

1904

E.A. Rasmuson arrives in Alaska.

1905

E.A. and Jenny marry in Yakutat.

1909

Elmer Rasmuson is born in Yakutat.

1910
1912

Alaska receives territorial status.

1916

Rasmuson family moves to Skagway.

1918

E.A. Rasmuson assumes leadership of Bank of Alaska, saving it from failure.

1940
1943

Elmer Rasmuson leaves career with Arthur Andersen to become president of the Bank of Alaska.

1945

Nation's first anti-discrimination act enacted in territory of Alaska through activism of Elizabeth Peratovich. Alaskans now honor her with Elizabeth Peratrovich Day every Feb. 16.

1949

E.A. Rasmuson dies; Elmer continues bank leadership.

1950
1955

$3,000 gift from Jenny Rasmuson establishes Rasmuson Foundation.

1959

Alaska becomes a state.

1960
1960

Merger makes what was by then National Bank of Alaska into the state’s largest bank.

1960

Early grants were small, as shown in this 1960 memo from Elmer Rasmuson.

1961

Elmer Rasmuson marries Mary Louise Milligan, who goes on to serve 45 years on the Foundation board.

1964

Good Friday Earthquake devastates Southcentral Alaska.

1966

Jenny Rasmuson dies, leaves the bulk of her estate to the Foundation.

1967

Prudhoe Bay oil discovered.

1970
1971

Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act enacted.

1976

Alaska Permanent Fund established through constitutional amendment; Elmer Rasmuson becomes first chairman.

1980
1980

Alaska Legislature repeals state personal income tax.

1989

Exxon Valdez oil spill puts world attention on Alaska.

1990
1995

First employee, Diane Kaplan, begins at the Foundation. Here, Diane is pictured at her fifth anniversary at the Foundation.

1997

Foundation leads first tour of Alaska for Outside grantmakers. Many elements of that first tour continue to this day.

1997

Judy Rasmuson, Cathy Rasmuson and Lile Gibbons join Rasmuson Foundation board. Cathy is vice chair.

1999

On his 90th birthday, Elmer Rasmuson gives away $90 million: $50 million to the Anchorage Museum and the rest to the Foundation.

1999

Deal reached by Rasmuson family to sell National Bank of Alaska to Wells Fargo.

2000
2000

Elmer Rasmuson dies, leaves most of his $400 million estate to the Foundation.

2000

Ed Rasmuson becomes Rasmuson Foundation board chairman.

2000

Foundation launches grant programs that remain today: Tier 1 for small awards and Tier 2 for those over $25,000.

2000

Foundation awards $700,000 to help start The Foraker Group to strengthen the nonprofit sector.

2002

Foundation helps launch Dental Health Aide Therapist program.

2003

Creation of Anchorage Community Land Trust with $5 million award to revitalize Mountain View.

2003

$2 million challenge grant for Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program building; Foundation commitments now top $14 million.

2003

Start of $20 million, 10-year Foundation initiative to put focus on arts and culture.

2004

Support for workforce, family and senior housing begins; total investment now tops $34 million.

2004

Foundation board authorizes Pre-Development Program to support sustainable right-sized capital projects.

2004

Effort to improve Anchorage parks and trails begins with $400,000 award to create Anchorage Park Foundation.

2005

First sabbaticals awarded to give nonprofit, tribal and local government leaders a break; 92 sabbatical awards to date.

2005

Initiative begins to create local affiliates of The Alaska Community Foundation and increase giving across the state; 11 local funds now exist.

2005

The first Rasmuson family members from the next generation join the board: cousins Adam Gibbons and Natasha von Imhof.

2005

Foundation board approves $900,000 to create Pick.Click.Give., an easy way for Alaskans to share their Permanent Fund dividend with nonprofits.

2006

Rasmuson Foundation and 3 other funders launch United States Artists to support outstanding creative individuals. Tlingit carver Tommy Joseph, whose work is pictured here, became one of the first USA Fellows in 2007.

2008-2009

Foundation assets plunge by 40 percent during Great Recession; grantmaking impacted.

2009

Alaska celebrates 50 years of statehood.

2009

Recover Alaska initiative begins with goal of reducing harm from alcohol.

2010
2012

Mary Louise Rasmuson dies, leaves $42.5 million to Foundation.

2012

Rasmuson Foundation crosses threshold of $200 million in grantmaking to improve life in Alaska.

2015

Foundation turns 60, awards largest grant in its history, $12 million for Anchorage Museum's new wing.

2015

Launch of Plan4Alaska campaign to educate the public about state budget.

2015

Another next generation family member joins the board, Jay Gibbons.

2018

Foundation and 10 other funders respond to magnitude 7.1 earthquake with emergency grants to 49 nonprofits.

2019

$40 million investment into solutions for homelessness begins with Foundation and three partners.

2019

Foundation crosses threshold of $400 million in grantmaking.

2020
2020

Foundation commits $2 million to help Alaska respond to COVID-19 pandemic.

2020

Rasmuson Foundation celebrates 65 years.