In 2003, Rasmuson Foundation made its first grants in a project to revitalize Anchorage's Mountain View Neighborhood. This type of focused investment was new for the Foundation. Did it make a difference? Rasmuson Foundation President Diane Kaplan revisits Mountain View through a new evaluation of the Foundation's work in the neighborhood.
In 2003, Rasmuson Foundation began investing time and money in a community redevelopment effort in Mountain View, one of Anchorage’s oldest neighborhoods. The project was not without its challenges; key among them were changes in significant players and politics, and Rasmuson Foundation’s inexperience in this type of grantmaking. We look back at this collection of grants (55 totaling $12.5M during this period) with a sense of appreciation for the many families, business owners and partners who worked for a positive future for the neighborhood.
On November 18, the Rasmuson Foundation Board of Directors visited Mountain View to check in on recent developments. And we couldn’t help but be awed by how far Mountain View has advanced in such a short time. During the last 12 years we’ve seen the addition of the first financial institution in decades – Credit Union 1; the first library in decades; empty warehouses and retail spaces turned into beautiful offices for organizations like Camp Fire and the Alaska State Council on the Arts; a new gallery featuring some of Alaska’s most prominent artists; and a natural science museum. There are community gardens, a new training center for Special Olympics, a ton of new housing and retail spaces, a new mall, and many new restaurants and small businesses.
Several months ago, we contracted The Giving Practice to evaluate our Mountain View revitalization grantmaking and help us understand what we did well and what we might have done differently. We wanted to learn how Rasmuson Foundation could have been a better partner to this effort. We are happy to share our story, warts and all. Many thanks to the numerous champions who, over the past 15 years, put their hearts and souls into improving life in a small segment of our town.
Have you been to Mountain View lately?