Pause in operations was a chance to reflect, refine, and recalibrate.

ANCHORAGE – Rasmuson Foundation is expanding grantmaking programs to increase award sizes, expedite award schedules, and broaden eligibility for grant-funded projects.

The Foundation’s Tier 1 grants will increase from $25,000 to $35,000. The new Community Support grant will support requests between $35,000 and $250,000. The rebranded Legacy grants, which replace Tier 2 grants, are intended for requests that exceed $250,000. Individual Artist Awards will return in early 2025, with program details to be released later this year.

“Our mission is to empower Alaskans to help each other,” said Rasmuson Foundation President and CEO Gretchen Guess. “The program changes reflect the Foundation’s focus on making resources accessible and responsive to the needs of Alaska-based nonprofits, government entities, and Tribal organizations.”

Rasmuson Foundation has a robust history of funding a wide variety of projects and causes across Alaska, including the arts, health care, economic development, language and cultural preservation, and housing, among other community priorities.  Since 1955, the Foundation has funded nearly 11,000 projects with more than $533 million.

A pause in most grantmaking activities in January 2024, concurrent with board-led strategic planning, allowed the organization to assess and improve its internal processes to ensure that the nearly 70-year-old family foundation is well-positioned to serve Alaska communities and nonprofits for decades to come.

“We have grown rapidly in recent years and decided to make a strategic pause in giving to reflect, refine, and recalibrate,” said Chris Perez, vice president of programs for the Foundation. “The changes are intended to bring greater transparency and flexibility to our core programs, so our partners are well-supported in a variety of ways as they carry out their important work serving and supporting Alaskans.”

More information about the grant programs can be found below. 

Tier 1 grants

Tier 1 is a core program of the Foundation, known for fast funding of capital needs. In addition to a 40% increase in the maximum award size, the program now allows organizations to apply up to 15% of an award toward programmatic or administrative costs. More than 175 of these grants are awarded yearly in communities across the state. Tier 1 grants will provide up to $35,000 per project and the application period will start on Aug. 15. This is a rolling grant program, and applications are accepted throughout the year.

Community Support grants

The new Community Support grants are intended for requests between $35,000 and $250,000. Capital requests will be reviewed and approved quarterly, while non-capital requests will be reviewed twice a year. Grants of this size do not require an invitation to apply, and eligible organizations can access the application starting Aug. 15.

Legacy grants

The Legacy grant program is closely aligned to the former Tier 2 in its grant size, application process, and review schedule. Intended for requests of $250,000 and more, this funding supports the programmatic and capital needs of eligible organizations.  A letter of inquiry is required and selected applicants may be invited to submit a full proposal. Organizations with an immediate need are highly encouraged to contact a program officer as soon as possible, which may be done online through a scheduling link.  

Submitting an application

Applicants at any level are encouraged to connect with Foundation program officers in advance of submitting their request. Program officers provide guidance throughout the process and can help an organization understand whether a project qualifies for funding and how to best prepare an application. Meetings with program officers can be scheduled online.

“Elmer Rasmuson often said, ‘helping others is an Alaska tradition’ and we’re proud to live up to this tradition and to support others in the community who are doing the same,” Guess said.

The new programs and schedule were approved by the Rasmuson Foundation board of directors at its June meeting in Kenai.

Important dates:

  • July 9: Letters of inquiry for Legacy grants will be accepted.
  • Aug. 15: Tier 1 and Community Support grant applications open.
  • Early 2025: Individual Artist Awards application open.

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