NOTE: Gretchen Guess will start at Rasmuson Foundation on Tuesday, Feb. 28. 

For immediate release
Dec. 16, 2022
Contact: Lisa Demer, 907-545-3555 (cell)

Anchorage, AK – Rasmuson Foundation is pleased to announce our new president and CEO, Gretchen Guess — a former Alaska state legislator, school board member and health care executive. The Foundation board this week unanimously approved Guess’s selection.

As the leader of Alaska’s largest private funder, Guess will return to the place of her roots after nearly a decade in Florida and Washington state.

“Alaska has always been my home,” she said. “This state has a special way of touching the heart and inspiring people to build or overcome the impossible.”

Guess is a born-and-raised Alaskan who grew up in a family dedicated to public service. Her father was a speaker of the state House. Her mother served on the Regulatory Commission of Alaska overseeing public utilities. Guess attended Chugach Optional Elementary and Steller Secondary School and has a bachelor’s in economics from Carleton College in Minnesota and a master’s in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester.

Guess started her professional life working for the Knowles administration and Alaska Communications. After retiring from the state Legislature, Guess spent 15 years in health care management and leadership including six years in planning and development with Providence Alaska.

In the Alaska House and Senate, Guess represented Fairview, Russian Jack, Northeast Anchorage and Mountain View, for which she still has a special love. She also served on the Anchorage School Board before leaving Alaska in 2013.

A months-long search led by a board committee and an executive search firm generated a large field of exceptional candidates from Alaska and around the country, board Chair Adam Gibbons said.

“It was gratifying to receive that kind of interest from so many different kinds of people with different backgrounds and experiences,” he said. “The more we talked about Gretchen’s philosophy and how she works with people, the more it resonated with the board. We knew we found the right person.”

Guess will serve as only the second CEO in the Foundation’s history. Diane Kaplan, the Foundation’s first employee and the president and CEO since 2001, is leaving at the end of the year. Guess will start Feb. 28. Until then, Sammye Pokryfki, the Foundation’s former senior vice president, will serve as interim CEO, beginning Jan 1.

“I will work with the board, staff and our many partners to continue the Foundation’s legacy of making life better for Alaskans,” Guess said.

About the Foundation

Rasmuson Foundation’s main funding areas are health care; the arts; organizational and community development; human services; and solutions to homelessness. Affordable, accessible broadband is a new area of interest.  The Foundation was created in 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson, a Swedish missionary, to honor her late husband, banker E.A. Rasmuson.