Alaskans don't slow down in the winter months and Rasmuson Foundation is no different. In this week's post, CEO Diane Kaplan serves up a sampling of activities, news and events from our world.

Plan4Alaska

The Plan4Alaska Lunch and Learn session in Juneau.

Foundation Board member Jeff Cook and I presented the latest round of polling results from the Foundation’s Plan4Alaska public education effort to the Alaska State Legislature in a full-house Lunch and Learn session, Jan. 20. Both awareness of the budget gap and concern have risen significantly since the Foundation released initial polling data last July on the fiscal crisis. The survey revealed that 83 percent of Alaskans will be less likely to support a legislator who takes “no action” this session to address the shortfall.

On Jan. 11, we announced the largest award in the Foundation’s history – $12 million to the Anchorage Museum for a major expansion. The expansion will add approximately 25,000 square feet to the museum and greatly increase gallery space for permanent and temporary exhibits.

housing summit

Governor Walker at the Housing Summit.

The Governor’s Housing Summit was held Jan. 6 and I had the honor of giving opening remarks and introducing Governor Bill Walker. The summit has been many years in the making and more than 200 housing experts, developers and policy makers from around the state, including the Lt. Governor, most of the Governor’s cabinet and several legislators, attended the event.

Recover Alaska

The Recover Alaska Steering Committee.

The Recover Alaska Steering Committee met on Dec.18 to discuss progress on our overall goal to reduce harms associated with excessive alcohol consumption in the state. The Steering Committee discussed revisions to Title 4, the state statutes that govern sale and distribution of alcohol. Senate Bill 99 and HB 185 were introduced last session. Over the interim, industry stakeholders met to refine the bill and that process continues. Recover Alaska also welcomed Tiffany Hall as the new executive director. She officially started her duties on Jan. 11. Ms. Hall was formerly state advocacy program manager at Providence Alaska.

The Annenberg Foundation hosted arts foundation presidents at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Palm Springs, Jan. 12-13. I joined colleagues including several Ed Tour alumni (Alberto Ibarguen, Knight Foundation, ‘11; Ed Henry, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, ‘13; and Rip Rapson, Kresge Foundation, ’10; and Phil Henderson, Surdna Foundation, ‘09) for discussions on changes in the cultural and arts sector and to explore potential collaborations. The group was convened by Ford Foundation president Darren Walker.

Grantee news

Cook Inlet Housing Authority CEO Carol Gore, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, Daniel George, president of the Mountain View Community Council, and me at the grand opening.

Cook Inlet Housing Authority CEO Carol Gore, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, Daniel George, president of the Mountain View Community Council, and me at the grand opening.

The Ridgeline Terrace housing development and Jewel Jones Community Center in Mountain View (Tier 2, $450,000, Nov. 2013) had their grand opening Jan. 9. Chris Perez and I attended the event. The community center honors Jewel Jones, former Anchorage Community Land Trust executive director. The 70-unit development is a partnership of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Cook Inlet Housing Authority and Trapline/V2. It is now open for rent to seniors and families.

Kaladi Brothers Coffee designated Beans Café and The Children’s Lunch Box for its annual New Year’s Day Giving event on Jan. 1. In total, $197,543 was raised for The Children’s Lunch Box, which includes matching funds from the Foundation (Tier 2, $492,300, 2015), and donations from Kaladi Brothers, GCI, First National Bank Alaska, and Saltchuk.

The Foundation's Jeff Baird Jeff with Lisa Wade, tribal council member of the Native Village of Chickaloon and its director of health, education and social services.

The Foundation’s Jeff Baird Jeff with Lisa Wade, tribal council member of the Native Village of Chickaloon and its director of health, education and social services.

Chickaloon’s new primary health and wellness center in Sutton (Tier 2, $525,000, Nov. 2014) celebrated its grand opening Dec. 17. Jeff Baird and Sammye Pokryfki attended. The two-story, 8,000 sf facility, called the Gathering Place, includes a wellness space, fitness equipment, showers and laundry, in addition to the health clinic.

Board members Kris Norosz, Jeff Cook, and Audit Committee member Bill Corbus joined me and Aleesha Towns-Bain for the Jan. 20 grand opening of the new kitchen at the Zach Gordon Youth Center in Juneau (Tier 2, $50,000, May ’13). The new kitchen is a vast improvement over the old facility and provides a welcoming place for Juneau teens to gather and cook.

Bill, Jeff, Kris and I with Kristy West, retired executive director who spearheaded the Zach Gordon project.

Bill, Jeff, Kris and I with Kristy West, retired executive director who spearheaded the Zach Gordon project.