As we settle into fall our calendars fill with different activities. It sometimes seems like the busiest season of all, and it's no different here at Rasmuson Foundation. In this week's post, President and CEO Diane Kaplan reviews news and activities from our world.
We have been taking the Foundation’s fiscal education campaign all over Alaska. Chairman Ed Rasmuson, Jordan Marshall and I recently gave presentations on it to the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, Institute of the North, Commonwealth North, Coastal Villages Region Fund, Alaska Bankers Association, Covenant House Alaska, and a UAA public policy class. We have also done several primetime television news interviews. We presented at the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention and Board member Aaron Schutt led a panel discussion there. A dozen more presentations are scheduled for the coming months. Legislative consultant Laurie Herman is helping guide the campaign and Strategies 360 developed a comprehensive campaign plan.
The September 2015 issue of Alaska Business Monthly featured an in-depth profile of Doyon Limited and its President and CEO, Rasmuson Foundation Board member Aaron Schutt. “We’re a very rural state,” Aaron said. “I have an awful lot of respect for people that choose to reside in our rural communities.”
Referring to Doyon’s flagship company, Doyon Drilling, Ltd., Aaron told the magazine “A lot of our most successful businesses are on the oilfield, and instead of chasing things like Bakken shale or other discoveries, we’ve chosen to grow our business in an area in which we understand the market, clients, conditions, and we have specialized equipment, and so we feel like we’ve had a great opportunity here in the state to continue to grow. . . Activities outside of Alaska are the next step.” Congratulations to Aaron and Doyon!
Congratulations to Board member Linda Leary who was appointed president of Fairweather, LLC and the Deadhorse Aviation Center, LLC. The appointment comes close on the heels of the launch of her entrepreneurial endeavor, FisheWear, apparel and gear for women. Great news all around.
Trustees and staff from The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust visited Alaska, Sept. 12-16, in celebration of Murdock’s 40th Anniversary. The Murdock contingent visited the Anchorage Museum, Southcentral Foundation, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Alaska SeaLife Center, Camp Fire Camp K, Alaska Christian College, Ionia, Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, Covenant House, Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center, and Silver Salmon Camp.
Jilkaat Kwan Heritage Center ($750,000 Tier 2, July ‘15) received a $107,000 grant from the Surdna Foundation for its Chilkat Cultural Landscape Exhibit. The new grant allows the heritage center to commission six original artworks for its Cultural Landscape exhibit. Surdna is an Ed Tour participant (Phil Henderson, Ed Tour ’09) Lani Hotch (IAA Project Award, June ’10) is lead artist for the project.
Haa Aaní Community Development Fund ($375,000 Tier 2, June ’14) has been awarded $144,000 from the U.S. Treasury for technical assistance. The funds will support two full time equivalents for its Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). More good news for Haa Aaní: grant funding of $650,000 is in process from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation via The Nature Conservancy. And HAACDF’s Path to Prosperity Program is receiving the International Economic Development Council Silver Award for the Business Expansion and Retention category for the region. This is a highly competitive international award, which recognizes the world’s best economic development programs.
Jayson Smart and I – along with others – made the cover of the Anchorage Park Foundation brochure celebrating inclusive playgrounds in Anchorage. Anchorage now has six inclusive playgrounds. The photo was from the ribbon cutting at Cuddy Family Midtown Park, the first playground in Anchorage to be retrofitted for children of all abilities.
Before making his historic trip to Alaska this summer, President Obama’s White House staff contacted Rasmuson Foundation asking about public-private partnership projects worthy of national attention. The president announced two items the Foundation brought to his attention.
• Bridging the gap between Native communities, conservation science, and natural resource management. A multi-entity collaboration announced $1,035,200 in funding to support advisor positions – known as refuge information technicians – at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Collaboration partners are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and Rasmuson Foundation. The collaboration also funds internships for young Alaska residents attending ANSEP with the hope of opening the door for rural village residents to obtain, and for students to aspire to, professional careers in fish and wildlife management in Alaska and nationally. The net result of this system change would be a win-win for the federal government and local communities. While this particular project is relatively modest in scale, it could prove to be a catalyst for the next generation of natural resource managers in Alaska. The initiative supports the Administration’s Generation Indigenous initiative, which focuses on improving the lives of Native youth through new investments and increased engagement.
• Investing in neighborhood revitalization in Anchorage. ArtPlace America’s announcement of its $3 million investment in the Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA), a tribal housing authority in Anchorage, that works in close partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to create empowered communities of opportunity. ArtPlace is a partnership of 15 foundations, including Rasmuson, Bloomberg, Ford, Knight, Kresge and Rockefeller, eight federal agencies, and six banks that work to position art and culture as a core sector of community planning and development. The ArtPlace grant will enable CIHA to incorporate artists and designers into neighborhood revitalization planning and development in Anchorage, which is part of $18 million in investments in place-based organizations across the country.
The Alaska Community Foundation hired Jason Grenn as its new Pick.Click.Give. program manager. Grenn has worked in marketing and communications for Anchorage Concert Association and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. He’s a life-long Alaskan who brings a wealth of marketing and social media expertise with him to PCG.
Congratulations to Kodiak Community Foundation, which in early September opened its first cycle of competitive grants. KCF, an Affiliate of the Alaska Community Foundation, is seeking applications from nonprofit and tribal organizations that are located in or serve the Kodiak Archipelago.
Mat-Su Health Foundation recently announced Margaret “Marg” Volz as the 2015 recipient of its “Bertie” award – the Bert Hall Award for Commitment to the Health of the Community. The Bertie is presented annually by the Mat-Su Health Foundation Board of Directors to an individual who consistently exemplifies commitment to improving the health and wellness of people in the Mat-Su Borough.
Thank you for your continual support of ANSEP throughout the years. It’s through your support that I was recently able to successfully defend my dissertation and now will graduate with a Ph.D. in civil engineering. Though there are just a few Alaska Natives with doctorate degrees in engineering today, I want to help make many more in the future that will solve the engineering challenges facing the state. What started as one student in 1995 now has grown to 1,500 and by 2020 we plan to double the number of students in the ANSEP pipeline. Thank you for all you have done, your help is making a better future for all Alaskans. – Matt Calhoun, ANSEP graduate
Receiving this [2014 Rasmuson IAA Fellowship] has been a transformative experience in my artistic career. Prior to this grant period, I’d been watching my interest in illustrating children’s books wane and looking towards textile art as a distant possibility, because of the intense time commitment I feared I’d never be able to produce more than one piece here and there. The Artist Fellowship Award allowed me the focused time to investigate, hone and produce the work in cloth and stitch that felt vital to me as an evolving artist, and learn how best to present it in a way that felt authentic to my relationship with this craft. Without this gift of time and validation, I wouldn’t have achieved all that I was able to this year. For this, I am very grateful. – Amy Meissner, textile artist