Rasmuson Foundation board and staff get around. The evidence is plentiful in President Diane Kaplan's September report of summer travels and activities. That's the topic of today's blog. It's a glimpse into our world.

Staff Jeff Baird and Claudia Maria-Mateo, with Stephanie Winters, report for duty as volunteer ushers for kids excited to attend Anchorage’s air show last summer.

Staff Jeff Baird and Claudia Maria-Mateo, with Stephanie Winters, report for duty as volunteer ushers for kids excited to attend Anchorage’s air show last summer.

Rasmuson board members and staff travel frequently throughout Alaska to visit grant recipients, see project outcomes and conduct site visits. The following is a sampling of our activities earlier this summer.

On July 10, Board member Adam Gibbons attended Trailside Discovery Camp’s “birthday” celebration ($15,000 Tier 1, June ’13 – purchase kayaks) and spoke about the value of getting kids outdoors.

On July 26, staff Jeff Baird and Claudia Maria-Mateo helped usher youth from Anchorage’s Mountain View neighborhood onto buses headed to the Arctic Thunder air show on Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER). The bus transportation was sponsored in partnership with The Ted Stevens Foundation so that kids who otherwise might not be able to attend could enjoy the air show.

Board member Natasha von Imhof spoke Aug. 27 at the Providence Alaska Foundation unveiling of the new RT 600 Stepper Ergometer System physical therapy rehab equipment ($25,000 Tier 1, May ’14). Providence submitted the grant request for the cutting edge therapeutic device on behalf of stroke patients and individuals with spinal injuries. The Stepper helps patients receive appropriate care without leaving Alaska.

I spoke July 11 at the grand opening of the new Peterson Bay Field Station dock replacement in Homer. The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (CACS) project ($141,000 Tier 2, Dec. ’12) includes an 80-foot ramp, new floating dock (which allows visitors to walk to shore) and a new passenger van. CACS, based in Homer, is dedicated to fostering responsible interactions with nature and generating knowledge of the unique marine and coastal ecosystems of Kachemak Bay through science-based education and stewardship programs

On July 29, I attended the groundbreaking of Southcentral Foundation’s new NUKA Institute Building on the Alaska Native Health Campus with Foundation Board member Matt Hirschfeld ($3,000,000 Tier 2, June ’14 – construction and start-up operational costs). NUKA Institute will provide training and technical assistance to health providers adopting the Nuka model of care, which has proven to improve health outcomes at lower cost. Like the Dental Health Aid Therapist program, NUKA is an example of Alaska innovation that can be replicated around the state and country to solve one of the biggest challenges of our time: improving health while containing costs.

Adam Gibbons (far right) and I help cut the ribbon at the July 18 grand opening of the new health clinic in the Native Village of Tyonek

Adam Gibbons (far right) and I help cut the ribbon at the July 18 grand opening of the new health clinic in the Native Village of Tyonek

On July 18, Adam Gibbons and I attended the grand opening of the new health clinic in the Native Village of Tyonek ($260,000 Tier 2, Dec. ’12). The village previously received medical and mental health services in two separate residential houses converted into clinic and administrative offices. However, there was not enough room in those facilities for Community Health Aides and itinerant medical services staff. The new facility will be 4,472 sf and located in the heart of the community with ready access to utilities and roads. We also toured the community greenhouse, gardens and farmer’s market powered by Tier 1-funded solar panels.

Staff Sammye Pokryfki and I joined elected officials and other community members June 27 at the ribbon cutting dedication of the new Mat-Su Services for Children and Adults (MSSCA) facility in Wasilla ($495,000 Tier 2, Nov. ’11). MSSCA provides home and community-based services for borough residents with developmental disabilities; families with children experiencing developmental delays or disabilities; child safety; and child development screening.

Staff Ian Dutton and I met Aug. 19 with Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Sullivan met the next day with Board Chair Ed Rasmuson, Sammye Pokryfki  and Ian to discuss fisheries management issues in Alaska. NOAA oversees federal marine fisheries research and regulation. Sullivan serves on the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation board and had heard about our collaboration with NFWF via the Fish & Wildlife Service. She is keen to explore ways we can work together to expand fisheries workforce opportunities in Alaska working with NOAA.

I had the honor of speaking at a welcome reception Aug. 24 for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s two-day Dental Health Aide Therapist program (DHAT) / Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Educational Tour of Anchorage and Bethel. The program has entered its 11th year.

Uanalaska-war-memorial-e1412084603778On Aug. 3, I visited Unalaska and met with Mayor Shirley Marquart and David Gregory. We toured the Museum of the Aleutians, the Russian Orthodox Church and the new war memorial.

Unalaska Mayor Shirley Marquart and Dave Gregory

Unalaska Mayor Shirley Marquart and Dave Gregory

Staff Jayson Smart and Jordan Marshall joined state and community leaders Aug. 4 for a tour of senior housing and senior services facilities in Chugiak, Wasilla and Palmer. The tour culminated in a town hall discussion at the Mat-Su Senior Services Center (formerly the Palmer Senior Citizens Center). The conversation, hosted by the Mat-Su Valley legislative delegation, focused on the Mat-Su Valley’s Aging Disability Resource Center.

Ian Dutton attended the grand opening Aug. 7 of Cook Inlet Housing Authority‘s Coronado Park Senior Village in Eagle River. The facility is part of an ongoing effort to increase the availability of housing options for seniors. This is the second CIHA senior housing project the Foundation has supported in the past.

Sammye Pokryfki attended the Aug. 9 grand opening of the Big Lake Recreation and Community Center($495,000 Tier 2, construction, Nov. ’13).

More from our neighborhood: Grantee News

The University of Alaska Anchorage has selected Nobel Prize winner Jay Shogren as its newest Rasmuson Chair of Economics. Shogren is an environmental economist who was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. Shogren is also an accomplished musician who uses the stage to help connect with his students.

The Herbert P. Schroeder Chair of ANSEP is now fully funded at $4.4 million. As of March 31, 2014, the principal portion of the endowment has grown to $5.2 million. The principal includes $2 million from Rasmuson Foundation (Foundation Initiative, Dec. ’12) plus $2 million raised as a challenge grant. Major gifts came from Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, ASRC Energy Services Inc., BP Exploration Alaska, Chevron, CIRI, ConocoPhillips, CIRI, Udelhoven Oilfield System Services, and Shell.

The Anchorage Museum recently announced that its Polar Lab was awarded a $75,000 grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation. This gift augments Rasmuson Foundation’s award ($495,000 Tier 2, June ’14) in support of the multidiscipline, multi-year series. The series addresses life in the Arctic through exhibitions, education projects, internships, museum collections, and social action projects. It also features artists from Alaska and international locations as researchers of the circumpolar north. Foundation funds will be used specifically for exhibition costs, education programming, collections enhancements, artist residency activities, and other costs associated with artist engagement.

The Sitka Sound Science Center ($491,000 Tier 2, June ’13) announced Sept. 10 that it had been awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation in support of a five-year effort to improve science literacy and increase interaction between researchers and Alaska residents.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has awarded a $2,500 preservation grant to ROSSIA (Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites In Alaska) for work on the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church, Kenai, Alaska. Jayson Smart and I attended a bishop’s blessing at the Kenai site in June  ($555,000 Tier 2, June ’13, for renovation and/or fire suppression at various sites across Alaska, i.e. Juneau, Karluk, Kenai, Unalaska).