It's part of the job for Rasmuson Foundation staff to see first-hand the results of investments made by the Foundation. In this week's post, CEO Diane Kaplan recaps staff activities in the field during September, and shares news from grantees.

Rasmuson staff frequently get out and about to visit grant recipients, see project outcomes and conduct site visits. The following is a sampling of our activities in September, and grantee news.

On Sept. 11, Vice President of Programs Sammye Pokryfki and Program Associate Sharity Sommer attended the Metlakatla Indian Community longhouse restoration grand opening ($159,214 Tier 2, Dec. ’12; $19,880 Tier 1 furnishings, Aug. ’14). The pair also visited the Metlakatla library, town hall, Head Start facility, senior center, and wellness center.metlakatla

On Sept. 11, Haines Assisted Living Center held an open house in the new upper floor of its Soboleff/McRae Veterans Village Wellness Center ($499,900 Tier 2, ground floor construction). A grand opening to celebrate the full renovation is scheduled for early 2015.

On Sept. 12, Juneau-based Perseverance Theatre launched its 2014-2015 Anchorage season with a donor appreciation night champagne toast at Sevigny Studio in downtown Anchorage. The group then proceeded to the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts Sydney Laurence Theater for the opening night of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and a discussion with director Carolyn Howarth.

On Sept. 25, The Carol H. Brice Family Center/Thrivalaska Head Start Birth to Five center in Fairbanks hosted a grand reopening family fun night.

The July 2014 edition of Alaska Business Monthly featured a “Mid-Year Economic Outlook: The Great Alaska Comeback” section. I was invited to write about the current state of Alaska’s nonprofit sector. The following is an excerpt:

. . . many organizations are uncertain about their ability to raise matching funds from government and the private sector, and they’re concerned about future levels of operating support. The absence of federal earmarks, elimination of Denali Commission funding for clinics and community centers, and substantial reduction in Alaska’s allocation of USDA community facility funding all play into this. Applications for small equipment and building projects have increased dramatically. Increasingly, Alaska funders are collaborating to look upstream to address system changes that will improve Alaska’s quality of life, focusing on issues like acute housing shortage, domestic violence and child abuse/neglect, excessive use of alcohol, and educational achievement.

Staff and partner newsFood Bank
On Sept. 8, Communications Director Cassandra Stalzer attended the Anchorage Park Foundation re-opening of Ocean View Park and Stephenson Park, both in South Anchorage. Ocean View Park received new play equipment, including the much anticipated zip lines, and accessibility improvements. Stephenson Park was a green park space with few amenities that now has nature-themed treehouse play equipment and several new trees. The combined park improvements represent a nearly $500,000 investment by the Rasmuson Foundation, the Anchorage Park Foundation, Anchorage Parks and Recreation, and the State of Alaska. Neighbors of the park also volunteered this summer to help with the improvements.

On Sept. 11, COO/Vice President Ian Dutton joined other community leaders on a tour of the Food Bank of Alaska. The Food Bank is celebrating its 35th anniversary and recently completed a Tier 1 grant to renovate its shopping and donation room. The photo below gives some sense of the amazing logistics of acquiring, storing and distributing 6.5 million pounds of food each year.

Children's HospitalOn Sept. 3, Executive Assistant Claudia Maria-Mateo brought her son, Joshua, to the Children’s Hospital at Providence. Joshua (photo left), who was celebrating his 5th birthday that day, had asked that his presents this year be donated to children in need. Way to go, Joshua!

On Oct. 1, Dennis McMillian, President and CEO of The Foraker Group, was an invited lecturer at Johnson Center for Philanthropy, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His presentation was based on his book, “Focus on Sustainability: A Nonprofit’s Journey,” and kicked off the school’s strategic leadership seminar series.