Rasmuson Foundation today announces the departure of a key team member heading to a leadership position as arts and cultures program director at Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Jayson Smart, a senior program officer, has worked at Rasmuson Foundation since 2010. He has focused his Alaska work around innovative programs in arts and culture, as well as education.
“Jayson has been a tremendous colleague to us all,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation President & CEO. She called the news of his departure “bittersweet.”
Robyn Hollingshead, Managing Program Director at Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, said his background in the arts, experience with large-scale programs and Alaska knowledge will make a difference at MACP.
His passion for the arts started during the early days of the University of Alaska Anchorage Concert Board, for which he was the first manager. Before working for the Foundation, Smart served as deputy director of the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services.
At Rasmuson Foundation, his work reached beyond the arts to include efforts with the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) and Anchorage Park Foundation.
“In both examples, I’ve seen transformative work that has directly impacted individual livelihoods and community well-being,” Smart said.
He holds two UAA degrees: a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in public education. He chairs the board of directors for the Anchorage Concert Association and is on the leadership team of 90 percent by 2020 seeking to improve Anchorage high school graduation rates.
The vision of the Rasmuson family in creating the Foundation, and work of all who have served as Board members, continue to inspire him.
“They have set a standard for philanthropy in Alaska that will live on in perpetuity,” Smart said.
His last day at Rasmuson Foundation is today, March 6. The Foundation is conducting a national search to replace him.