Board and staff at Rasmuson Foundation have been getting out and about this summer. Read about some of our activities and visits in this week's blog by President Diane Kaplan.

Kris Norosz

Kris Norosz

The Wrangell Cooperative Association Cultural Center ($450,000 Tier 2; Nov. ’11) celebrated its grand opening July 25. The ribbon cutting marked completion of the second phase of the tribe’s three-part Native cultural revival plan, which included the re-dedication of the Chief Shakes Tribal House last year. The center will be a place for recreating eight sacred totem poles and for teaching Native arts. The Chief Shakes Historic Site and Island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an historic monument. Board member Kris Norosz represented the Foundation at the ribbon cutting.

Board member Aaron Schutt, Sammye Pokryfki and I attended the TCC commemoration.

Board member Aaron Schutt, Sammye Pokryfki and I attended the TCC commemoration.

On July 6, Tanana Chiefs Conference commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the historic meeting of Tanana Chiefs and Judge Wickersham. The 1915 gathering was the first recorded meeting of the tribes and the federal government. It marked the beginning of dialogue between Alaska Native people and the U.S. Government about Native land claims and the federal trust responsibility for Native people.

My mother Eleanor Kaplan and I served up ice cream with Governor Bill and First Lady Walker.

My mother Eleanor Kaplan and I served up ice cream with Governor Bill and First Lady Walker.

Governor Walker used an Alaska Flag Day celebration in Anchorage, July 9, to sign HB44, the Alaska Safe Children’s Act, also known as Erin’s Law. The law requires K-12 schools in Alaska to provide education to students and teachers about child sexual abuse, including how to identify potential signs, symptoms, reporting, and how to work with individuals who have experienced that trauma. The Flag Day celebration was hosted by Alaska Child & Family, originally founded as the Jesse Lee Home. Rasmuson Foundation is named in the bill as a member of an advisory panel to discuss the scope and content of the curriculum. In a fun side of the day’s event, my mother Eleanor Kaplan and I had the honor of scooping ice cream alongside Governor Bill and First Lady Donna Walker.

The Recover Alaska steering committee met July 8 with Dr. Drew Altman, CEO of Kaiser Family Foundation, and Dr. Steve Schroeder, head of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at University of California San Francisco. Schroeder is former president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Both complimented Recover Alaska’s approach and strategies and offered assistance as the initiative moves forward. Jeff Cook represented the Board at the meeting.

Chairman Ed presents Dennis McMillian with a special gift.

Chairman Ed presents Dennis McMillian with a special gift.

Ed and Cathy Rasmuson hosted a celebration in their home July 28, honoring Dennis McMillian on his retirement as CEO of The Foraker Group. The event served double-duty, with a welcome of incoming CEO Laurie Wolf. “Thank you for coordinating the party last night,” Dennis wrote. “Stephanie and I loved our gifts and are now finding the right places for both to be displayed. It goes without saying that none of what I have been able to do, since moving to Alaska, would have happened without you.”

Partner news

Pat Dougherty, Kyle Hopkins and Marc Lester all formerly with the Anchorage Daily News, received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi from the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence in public service journalism for last year’s Recover Alaska “State of Intoxication” newspaper series.

Pat Dougherty, Kyle Hopkins and Marc Lester all formerly with the Anchorage Daily News, received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi from the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence in public service journalism for last year’s Recover Alaska “State of Intoxication” newspaper series.

The Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care and Southcentral Foundation (SCF) announced formation of a strategic partnership to foster collaborations in research, education and practice. Both organizations are committed to improving primary care delivery and creating new approaches to health and wellness. Through its Nuka Institute, SCF will provide training and technical assistance to health providers adopting the Nuka system of care, an Alaska innovation in health care delivery. The Nuka model improves health outcomes at lower cost. Rasmuson Foundation approved a $3 million grant in 2014 to support start-up of the Nuka Institute.

Danielle Larsen, First Alaskans Institute summer intern completed her tenure here. She spent the internship digitizing artist project award files to help create our 10-year retrospective book about the artists and artworks acquired with Rasmuson Foundation funds.

Danielle Larsen

Danielle Larsen


“The most valuable experience I gained over the course of my internship was watching the Rasmuson team at work,” Danielle said. “They used professional networking skills to make connections between people from different backgrounds, which helped make improvements and changes for all who were involved. In my observations over the past few months, these simple networking conversations can lead to ‘out of the box’ moments that can make the difference between what really matters to a nonprofit.”