Tier 2 Grants

Note: We have temporarily paused grantmaking. Tier 2 and PRI proposals that already have been received will be considered and decided on by December 2023. No new proposals will be accepted until mid-2024. Learn more here.

This is the Foundation’s large grant program, providing awards of more than $25,000 — usually significantly more. Funds can support capital projects such as new and renovated buildings, projects of demonstrable strategic importance, and innovative solutions to issues of broad community or statewide significance. Tier 2 projects must demonstrate long-term benefits or impacts and must be initiated by an established organization with a history of accomplishment. Please review past awards for an overview of the types of projects funded by the Foundation.

What is a Tier 2 grant and how do I get one?

Tips for grantees

Start small.

A Tier 2 grantee has generally completed one or two Tier 1 grants of $25,000 or less. This indicates to the Foundation that the organization is well-positioned for a successful large grant.

The Ask.

We recommend talking with a program officer before submitting a Letter of Inquiry. We are here to help! Selected organizations then are invited to submit a full proposal in advance of a board meeting.

Enlist partners.

You will likely need mulitple funding partners for large-scale projects such as new or renovated buildings. The Foundation requires at least 50% of the total project budget secured or pending before we make a commitment.

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, or areas of government responsibility such as roads and K-12 schools.

Must haves.

Be prepared to share information on your history, mission, services and leadership. Organizations must generally have current financials including clean audits and nonprofits must demonstrate 100% board giving to qualify for a Tier 2 award.

All about Tier 2 Awards

Tribes, nonprofits and local governments. The Foundation accepts proposals from high-performing, Alaska-based 501(c)(3) organizations classified as “not a private foundation” under section 509(a) of the tax code. Tribes, cities, boroughs and faith-based 501(c)(3)s also are eligible to request support for projects that provide broad community benefits such as a library, health care facility or cultural center. In most cases, an organization will have successfully completed at least one Tier 1 project before being considered for a Tier 2 request.

Grants can support capital projects such as new and renovated buildings, projects of demonstrable strategic importance, and innovative solutions to issues of broad community or statewide significance.

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

Applicants can include shipping, installation and labor costs in proposals.

Applying for a Tier 2 grant is a multi-step process. The first step is a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), which can be sent without invitation, although all applicants are encouraged to discuss project ideas with Foundation staff before sending the LOI. If the Foundation is interested in the project based on the LOI, the organization will be invited to submit a Tier 2 full proposal. Review of Tier 2 LOIs can take up to 90 days. Organizations will be notified by email when a Letter of Inquiry has been received.

After a Tier 2 full proposal is invited, staff will review and follow up with the applicant for a site visit. This can take up to nine months, depending on application completeness and project readiness. Once proposal review is complete, the Rasmuson Foundation board will consider the proposal at its June or November meeting. In most cases, a previous Tier 2 grant must be closed before a new application will be considered for funding.

We have temporarily paused grantmaking to allow time to improve our systems. Until mid-2024, Tier 2 and PRI proposals that already have been received will be considered and decided on by December 2023. No new proposals will be accepted until mid-2024.

Applications are evaluated on criteria including but not limited to: the organization’s track record, fiscal and management capacity, an active board and experienced staff, sources of financial support and 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.

Site visits are required for Tier 2 proposals and typically involve key staff and board members from the applicant organization. A site visit provides Foundation staff the opportunity to meet with an applicant to discuss the proposal in-depth. It also gives Foundation staff the opportunity to view the applicant’s facility or location for future developments.

The Foundation is rarely the first, the largest or the only contributor to any Tier 2 project. The Foundation expects the community in which the project is located will provide significant financial support.

The Foundation will consider requests for major capital projects when the following have been demonstrated:

• Strong, committed local cash support is in place.
• The board and key staff have supported the project and/or organization financially.
• The site has been secured, and permits are in place.
• Plans have been completed.
• A budget has been developed.
• If applicable, a fundraising plan is in place.
• Government funding has been requested and/or committed, if that funding reflects a significant portion of the project budget.
• Applicant is able to demonstrate that the project is sustainable.

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.

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

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