Tier 1 Grants

Note: The Foundation has temporarily paused grantmaking. Tier 1 applications submitted by Aug. 31, 2023, will be decided by the end of November 2023. No new Tier 1 applications will be accepted until mid-2024. Read more here.

This program primarily supports small capital projects, vehicle purchases and technology upgrades for eligible Alaska organizations, including 501(c)(3) nonprofits, tribal organizations and local governments. More than 200 requests are received each year. The maximum Tier 1 amount is $25,000, with the average award at $16,000.

What is a Tier 1 grant and how do I get one?

Tips For Your Application

The Ask.

First-time grantees are encouraged to apply for a Tier 1 before seeking a larger award. These grants do not need matching dollars though community support is recognized.

Know what you need.

Think through why the current situation is not ideal and how a grant will help. Be specific.

Know what we fund.

Rasmuson Foundation funds buildings, equipment, furnishings, technology, vehicles, park improvements and similar projects. We generally do not fund salaries, operational expenses, one-time events, or areas of government responsibility such as roads and K-12 schools.

Know your organization.

Be prepared to share information on your history, mission, services, finances and board.

All about Tier 1 awards

Organizations must be actively working in Alaska. Eligible organizations will either be an established 501(c)(3) (and classified as “not a private foundation”), or a local or tribal government. Faith-based organizations may be eligible if their project has broad community impact. For nonprofit organizations, the 501(c)(3) status should have been obtained at least one year prior to the date of application, and at least one completed fiscal year of financials should be available. Individuals are not eligible for Tier 1 grants.

Capital projects
Projects that include, but are not limited to, building construction and renovation, furnishings, appliances, vehicles, technology upgrades, medical, sports or scientific equipment, musical instruments, library collections (books and A/V), etc. For projects that do not fit within these examples, please consult with Rasmuson Foundation program staff.

Creative works
On a limited basis, the Foundation will also consider creative works, with a nonprofit or local government sponsor. Eligible activities include Alaska-focused film and documentary projects, studies/reports, books, exhibits and other cultural projects. Successful applications demonstrate a strong Alaska-specific context, significant community impact and a well-developed distribution plan, if applicable.

Contract labor
Applicants can request support for these areas.

Not eligible 
Rasmuson Foundation generally does not fund: projects associated with core government functions such as roads, utilities and public safety; K-12 education; general program operations; administrative, indirect or overhead costs; deficits or debt reduction; endowments; scholarships; one-time events; fundraising events; sponsorships; or reimbursement for items already purchased.

Yes. We are a relationship-based Foundation and applicants are encouraged to contact staff prior to submitting their request. We want to help you be successful. Connect here

No new applications are being accepted at this time. A temporary pause in grantmaking will allow us time to improve our systems. Applications will reopen in mid-2024.

Tier 1 applicants may request up to $25,000.

Tier 1 awards most frequently range from $5,000 to $18,000. In order to support as many of Alaska’s charitable organizations as possible, the Foundation generally awards only one Tier 1 grant per organization, per 12-month period. Applicants are encouraged to consult with Rasmuson Foundation program staff prior to submitting a Tier 1 application.

Many successful applications for Tier 1 grants do include multiple funding sources such as local contributions, other grants or organizational savings. However, so long as the applicant can demonstrate strong community financial support of its overall operating budget, there is no matching fund requirement for a Tier 1 grant project.

Applications are evaluated based on the budget, scope of work and expected outcomes of the project. Applications are also evaluated for the organization’s track record, fiscal and management capacity, an active board and experienced staff, sources of financial support, the project’s benefit to the organization and the community it serves. The Foundation places a priority on organizations in which all board members contribute financially. That expectation does not apply to local governments including tribal governments.

We ask grantees to write a few paragraphs telling how their project went. What worked? Any challenges? How did the grant impact your organization? Access the online reporting form here. We also love to share photos and videos of projects so please include images as separate files if you have them.

The final report for any previous Tier 1 grant must be received before a new application will be considered for funding.

If your project is declined, you may call a program officer to discuss it. A project that has been declined will not be considered again. However, you may submit an application for a different project at any time.

Additional Resources

Alaska’s one-stop resource center

The Foraker Group is the statewide support organization for Alaska nonprofits with courses, consultations and guides. Get help with audits, board development, fundraising, communications and more.

Strengthening Organizations grants

Explore grants that support leadership and organizational development awarded through our partner, The Alaska Community Foundation.

Impact Stories

Little things make a big difference

OPT-In Kiana: They got a small grant for a four-wheeler to pick up freight at the airport, move items between buildings, make meals accessible to youth and shuttle people back and forth to the airport. Lately it was…

Read More

Shifting gears after disastrous winter storm in Haines

Chilkat Valley Community Foundation steps up after devastating Haines mud slide.

Read More

Nurturing souls and feeding community at Bread Line

Bread Line and Stone Soup Café in Fairbanks offers healthy meals, jobs, and social supports.

Read More

Sharing food, sharing knowledge

Calypso Farm and Ecology Center is a working farm and educational center that teaches others how to live off the land.

Read More

Skiku gets kids making tracks

Their goal is to get Alaskans, particularly Alaska kids, skiing. Skiku combines the Iñupiaq word for ice, siku, with ski.

Read More