Rasmuson Foundation would like to thank the many thousands of Alaskans who joined The Alaska Giving Coalition in taking a giant leap of faith. The Coalition believed, as we do, that our friends and neighbors, if given the opportunity, would happily share a portion of their annual Permanent Fund Dividend with organizations dedicated to making our communities stronger. Together with partners both known and anonymous, you have proved this hypothesis true. How can we be so sure?

Because as of midnight, March 31, the closing deadline for filing 2009 PFD applications, well over 5,000 individual Alaskans took the time to fill out the optional online PFD Charitable Contributions Program form, also known as the Pick Click Give. This collective action means approximately $545,000 will head to the Alaska nonprofit community this fall. That’s over a half-million dollars put to good use at a time when the need is the greatest.

True. The organizations must wait, just as you do, for the October distribution. Yes. It is possible someone who made a donation might become ineligible for their dividend because of garnishments. Correct. This year’s list of qualified organizations may only be half as big next year’s (the agency application period is open through June 15). But we’re pretty confident we can say the 2009 numbers are unlikely to change much between today and when the cash reaches the charitable organizations, community foundations, or campuses of the University of Alaska who made up the list of designated beneficiaries.

So to whom besides the 5,163 individuals do we extend our gratitude? We would like to thank:

The volunteers at the Alaska Giving Coalition and the teams of communications and development professionals who helped shape the breadth and content of Pick Click Give outreach;

The staff and contractors at The Foraker Group who delivered high-quality outreach tools and information to Alaska’s nonprofits through both traditional and nontraditional vehicles;

The United Way of Anchorage who provided invaluable insight and guidance into the complex mechanisms of distributing donations to multiple agencies;

The Alaska State Department of Revenue and its technology team, both internal and contracted, for its graciousness and professionalism in implementing the law on a short timeline;

The Alaska State Legislature and Governor Sarah Palin (extra kudos to bill sponsor Representative Bill Thomas) who supported the legislation and encouraged constituents to participate;

The Nerland Agency for its creativity, flexibility, and market savvy; and

The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, ConocoPhillips and BP who, by joining with Rasmuson Foundation in underwriting the cost of outreach and implementation, allowed the State of Alaska to offer Pick Click Give online at zero fiscal impact to the state treasury.

The greatest credit, however, is due to the individual organizations who reached out to existing and prospective donors. We applaud the countless variations of announcements – from online links to newsletter articles to Pick Click Give logos added to email signature blocks. These efforts helped spread the word about the important work being done across the state on our behalf day in and day out. It was inspirational to see this grassroots outreach effort because it highlights the verve and creativity that exists in and among our nonprofit community of friends.

Three years in the making, three months online, and three cheers for Pick Click Give!