For Immediate Release
Contact: Cassandra Stalzer, 907-334-0520
Anchorage – Recover Alaska, a statewide collaboration of funding organizations, today announced a $154,000 award to Anchorage Daily News to support a year-long journalistic investigation of the staggering human and financial costs of alcohol abuse in Alaska. The award is made through the Recover Alaska Media Project Fund at the Alaska Community Foundation. Initial contributors to the fund include the Alaska Children’s Trust, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Providence Health & Services Alaska, Mat-Su Health Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation and Wells Fargo.
The Daily News is the state’s largest and only state-wide newspaper. Its website, adn.com, is the most visited news site in Alaska. The collaborative will underwrite the costs for a photographer and reporter to spend a year documenting the many facets of the use and toll of alcohol on Alaska communities.
“We believe supporting journalists in an in-depth exploration of this subject will change Alaska’s conversation about alcohol,” said Elizabeth Ripley, executive director of the Mat-Su Health Foundation. “Not only will the series pull together a full picture of the social costs of alcohol abuse, but it will also look at prevention and treatment programs that show promise.”
Alaska’s alcohol addiction fuels some of the country’s highest rates of incarceration, homelessness, suicide, rape, accidental death, domestic violence, and child abuse and neglect. When polled last year on the state’s top health issue, Alaskans ranked use and abuse of alcohol as number one.
The Recover Alaska collaboration was born of the realization that a large portion of foundation, public and nonprofit assets are dedicated to alleviating suffering caused by alcohol abuse. Recover Alaska is an attempt to refocus attention upstream — on prevention, public policy engagement, and communications — to educate Alaskans about the extent of the problem, promote a shift in social norms, and build public will to seek change.
“Too many people view alcohol as an ‘us and them’ proposition,” said Jeff Jessee, CEO of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. “When really, Alaska’s alcohol problem is widespread and impacts every community. Finding a way to have a positive culture shift on alcohol will require effort from all of us.”
About Recover Alaska
Recover Alaska draws together a wide range of partners for high-level systems work to align concurrent efforts and implement common measures of success. Lead funding partners for Recover Alaska are the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Mat-Su Health Foundation, State of Alaska-Department of Health and Social Services and Rasmuson Foundation.