It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us all. Jobs lost. Shops closed. Many worrying about rent, mortgages, utility bills, childcare. Concern for mounting numbers of people who are ill.  

And as the headline on The New York Times story by reporter David Streitfeld proclaimed on Friday, “A New Mission for Nonprofits During the Outbreak: Survival.”

Our work continues in new ways. Like so many of you, we’ve gone virtual to keep everyone safe. We have postponed hosted events or changed them to online. Our physical office is closed. But we remain only a phone call, an email, or virtual meeting away. Reach out at 907-297-2700 or info@rasmuson.org and we will respond as quickly as we can.  

For grantees, we recognize this challenging time may make it hard to meet grant objectives. Contact your program officer if you have concerns. We will work with you. 

With close partners like The Alaska Community Foundation, Mat-Su Health Foundation and United Way of Anchorage, we are getting aid to organizations and families. We have helped to seed a COVID-19 fund at The Alaska Community Foundation to assist organizations with $100,000 and made a challenge grant to the United Way, for the Anchorage Cares fund to help struggling individuals, agreeing to match donations up to $25,000. 

We are taking a hard look at our programs and operations. In this time of uncertainty, we are building out multiple financial scenarios. Already we are reducing where we can. We will share more soon on that. 

With a municipal election on April 7 in our home city of Anchorage, and the Legislature in recess, we continue to advocate for the needs of nonprofit organizations and Alaska families.  

We have set “go, no-go” dates for key programs and events for 2020. We need to delay and take a different approach to the judging of the Individual Artist Awards. We are shifting our usual in-person gatherings of Outside artists and art experts who review applications to a virtual panel process. We already have selected our 2020 Distinguished Artist through a separate process completed before the pandemic. We expect to make that exciting public announcement in mid-April. 

In Alaska, we take seriously the meaning of community. We wall off from the virus yet need connection more than ever. We glimpse new ways of seeing each other as we zoom through meetings. We email, we chat, we hug with our eyes. 

Let’s all keep supporting — and protecting — each other. We will find our best way through, together. Please reach out to us with information, ideas, concerns and suggestions.