The events of 2020 have upended routine ways of working, but even in this unsettled time, new opportunity emerges. We have reopened our small grant program, known as Tier 1, to fund emergency needs of nonprofits, local governments and tribal organizations. Complete applications must be in hand by Nov. 30, so don’t delay. Awards of up to $10,000 for either operational or capital needs will be made in December.

Interested organizations should click here to learn more and apply.

Priority will be given to organizations experiencing an emergency. Both operational and capital needs will be considered.

This new opportunity marks the latest shift in grantmaking in response to the events of 2020 that define this time like no other. Near the start of the pandemic, plummeting assets led us to pause routine grantmaking including for small grants. Based on needs we saw in the community, we awarded a limited number of targeted Tier 1s.

Awards have supported:

  • Technology needs. During a work-at-home time for many, we provided small grants to 20 organizations to support purchase of laptops, digital platforms and other technology for online work and programming. These small grants totaled $160,000. Here is a list of recipients.
  • Underserved communities. Attention on racial disparities and injustice exploded with the killing of George Floyd. In response, the Grants Committee approved a shift in strategy to provide small operational grants to organizations focused on social justice and/or serving communities of color. Many organizations serving Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities have never received a Foundation grant. Some don’t have physical offices, so don’t have the same needs for capital dollars as some larger nonprofit organizations. This shift provided a path to our small grants to organizations that largely have been unserved. Staff researched potential grantees, then invited those selected to apply through a streamlined system. Awards to 26 organizations totaled $285,200. Recipients are spread around Alaska, and some are new grantees for the foundation.  Here is a list of recipients.
  • Emergency needs. This is the current opportunity and again, applications will close Nov. 30. Priority consideration will go to eligible organizations that have tried for emergency help from other sources but didn’t receive it. Those previously explored avenues could include AK CARES, the statewide privately funded relief effort; the Coronavirus Nonprofit Relief Fund partnership between the State of Alaska and The Alaska Community Foundation; and the Paycheck Protection Program. Applicants will need to provide updated organizational information and financials, as well as short narrative descriptions of the proposed project or the current situation, other sources of funding considered, and how the project is expected to improve the community. APPLY HERE.

These adaptations in our small grant program represent just part of our refocused 2020. Our board approved reallocating $2 million to our COVID-19 response to meet immediate needs, created a project to distribute PPE to organizations, and supported other efforts to fill unmet needs such as matching grants to local governments that support arts and culture organizations.

We are a supporter and organizer of AK Can Do, the privately funded statewide COVID-19 relief fund, and we have adjusted our spending on homelessness to respond to the pandemic. Between the special fund and redirected funds, we have invested more than $2.5 million in COVID-19 relief so far.