For Immediate Release
Contact: Cassandra Stalzer, 907-334-0520

Anchorage – At its July 1 board meeting in Skagway, Rasmuson Foundation directors made financial investments to remember the Foundation’s past and to spur action for the state’s future.

A totem pole to celebrate the Rasmuson Foundation’s connection to Yakutat earned a $57,000 award for the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe. The 12-foot totem, carved by Yakutat master carver Fred Bemis, commemorates the Foundation’s 60th anniversary and represents the relationship between the Rasmuson family, the Foundation and the community of Yakutat. It was the first pole to be raised in Yakutat in recent history.

As promised in a white paper released in early June, the Foundation’s board authorized up to $2 million in total expenditures for a campaign to advance a statewide conversation about the need for a sustainable fiscal strategy for Alaska. The campaign will provide information and resources to help Alaskans weigh responsible options for closing a $3 billion budget gap before the state’s financial reserves are depleted.

The Foundation also confirmed its support for growing philanthropy in Alaska through a five-year renewal of Pick.Click.Give. to bridge the gap between the program’s start-up and self-sufficiency. The Foundation award will support The Alaska Community Foundation in its delivery of statewide marketing and coordination of the program with an award of $1,775,000.

In total, the Board approved 16 Tier 2 grants and initiatives for the following organizations, listed by region.


Chilkat Valley Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Alaska Community Foundation, will receive a $35,000 challenge grant to grow the fund’s permanently endowed assets.

Metlakatla Indian Community will receive a grant of $162,000 to renovate its Head Start playground and facility.

City of Saxman will use its $220,750 grant to expand the Edwin Dewitt Carving Center.

Chilkat Indian Village’s grant of $750,000 will pay for interior construction of Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Heritage Center in Klukwan.

Also in Yakutat, the City and Borough of Yakutat will receive $355,100 for upgrades and repairs to its swimming pool, and up to $325,000 for construction of an accessible community playground.


Set Free Alaska, Inc., an outpatient alcohol treatment facility based in Wasilla, will use its $79,890 grant for marketing and communications.

Bean’s Café’s grant of $492,300 will be used to build a prep kitchen for Children’s Lunchbox in Anchorage.

Alaska State Fair will use its grant of $225,000 to design and build a stage dedicated to Alaska Native performances.


Tanana Chiefs Conference will receive $475,000 to complete the multi-purpose community health building in Tanacross.

Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks will use its $200,000 grant to develop the new Sunnyside Trail.

Boy Scouts of America Midnight Sun Council will receive $190,000 to build a maintenance/storage building at Lost Lake Scout Camp.

Rasmuson Foundation’s Tier 2 program supports large (more than $25,000) capital projects, projects of strategic importance or innovative nature, or the expansion or start-up of programs that address issues of broad community or statewide significance. The Rasmuson Board of Directors considers Tier 2 grants twice a year at its board meetings. Letters of inquiry are required and accepted year-round.

The Rasmuson Board also approved funding of $275,000 for the Philanthropy Advising Initiative to test the feasibility of a philanthropy advising service in Alaska.

Initiatives are developed at the discretion of the Foundation. Applications for initiatives are not accepted.

 About the Foundation

Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband “E.A.” Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.