In this week's blog, President Diane Kaplan summarizes recent activities and news from the Board, staff, grantees and partners.
Maybe it’s the time of the year, but philanthropy is springing up all around.
The Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT) held a benefit Feb. 10 at the Governor’s Mansion. It was the first ACT event hosted by First Lady Donna Walker, honorary chair. Nearly 175 people attended the reception, which raised $51,500. ACT has launched a “Start Small. Dream Big.” campaign that focuses on the positive impact adults can have in children’s lives. In its February e-newsletter, ACT quotes Willie Hensley: “Words are very powerful and children are absorbing what you say all the time, so the right word at the right time could change a person’s life.”
The Pick.Click.Give. campaign is on track to break last year’s records in both number of participants and dollars raised for Alaska’s nonprofit sector. As of today, the campaign had raised $2.95 million. The number of donors has increased 33 percent from last year, and total giving is up by 25 percent. Alaskans have until midnight, March 31, to file for their dividend.
State Sen. Pete Micciche (R-Kenai) has agreed to sponsor legislation to rewrite Title 4, which governs the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. The ABC Board oversees licensing, sale, distribution, and penalties. The code has not had a comprehensive overhaul since 1980. Over time, incremental updates and changing trends have reduced the effectiveness of Title 4. Program Officer Aleesha Towns-Bain has been on the team in a two-year effort with the ABC Board to rewrite the code. The process was guided by a 70-member stakeholder group with representatives from public health, public safety and industry.
Juneau Community Foundation announced $1 million in grant funds available through the Juneau Hope Endowment Fund to support organizations and agencies in the areas of suicide prevention, substance abuse, homelessness, hospice, mental health, and victims of abuse. The application period closed March 2. The fund was endowed by Bill Corbus, a member of the Rasmuson Audit Committee.
Seward Community Foundation’s endowment investment fund, now entering its sixth year, has continued to thrive and grow. At a press event at the Breeze Inn in late January, the foundation announced it will spend more than $120,000 in its 2015 grant cycle on specific projects for Seward area nonprofits.
At The Foraker Group annual meeting in January, CEO Dennis McMillian announced his plans to leave. Governance Board Chair Steve Marshall said Dennis has embraced Foraker’s purpose of strengthening Alaska nonprofits with creative insight and a passion to help the sector become more sustainable and resilient. Marshall noted that Foraker and Dennis have been planning the leadership transition for some time and that the organization is in a good position to grow into the future. Dennis and his wife Stephanie plan to stay in Alaska and he will continue to serve the nonprofit sector and support Foraker through this transition. A nationwide search is underway to identify a new CEO; the process is expected to run through the third quarter of 2015.
In related news, Foraker released its latest economic impact report, which included the observation that Alaska’s nonprofit sector accounts for $6.5 billion in direct expenditures. Of that, charitable nonprofits – or 501(c)(3) organizations – generate $4.4 billion. The remaining $2.1 billion is generated by other 501(c) organizations. The sector employs 39,000 people – 12 percent of the state’s workforce – an increase of 7,000 from 2010. Nationally, the nonprofit sector constitutes 10.6 percent of the workforce.
Sealaska Heritage Institute has moved its offices into the new Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau and is wrapping up construction on the other floors. The building includes the climate-controlled lower story, which will house its archives and collections ($1.25 million Tier 2). The grand opening ceremony is scheduled for May 15. Board members Anthony Mallott and Linda Leary, Graduate Fellow Kelsey Potdevin and I plan to attend.
ArtPlace ($1.5 million Tier 2) has developed a new grant program called Community Development Investments. The CDI program builds on lessons learned through its national grantmaking by exploring what it means to permanently and sustainably incorporate art and culture into the core work of place-based, non-governmental organizations. In January, ArtPlace announced the CDI application process through which six place-based NGOs will be selected. Alaska is one of six regions to be selected for the program. ArtPlace Deputy Director Lyz Crane visited Anchorage and Juneau in January. Former Alaska Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell, now back at her private sector job as principal at research firm McDowell Group, has expressed interest in participating in Juneau’s proposal to ArtPlace. The Alaska project will receive up to $3 million over three years; all funds will come from Outside partner funders.
On Feb. 26, Kelsey Potdevin, Grants Accounting Associate Marian Hunter, Temporary Administrative Assistant Sae Rom and Program Officer Jayson Smart participated in the annual UAA Alumni Association’s “9 in the Spine” indoor golf tournament. Jayson co-chaired the event, which featured putting a golf ball indoors from the Rasmuson Building on west campus all the way to the Library Building on the East side of campus. Net proceeds from the event go to the Alumni Scholarship Fund, which funds approximately two scholarships per college at UAA.
From a grantee
I received a Rasmuson Foundation Project Award at the 2013 IAA Awards Ceremony. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your support; it was truly pivotal in the development of my work and my career as an artist. Last December, the Juneau Douglas City Museum exhibited my new paintings in a solo show. Now I’m bringing my work to the Alaska Pacific University ConocoPhillips Gallery in March. I hope you’ll get a chance to stop by and see what you’ve helped me accomplish. Thanks again for all your support and your interest in my work.
– Constance Baltuck, Individual Artist Award Project Award recipient ’13, Juneau