Rasmuson Foundation staff was on the road in the Interior last week, attending two events with the intent of encouraging more applications from Alaska’s rural communities. This work is a continuation of a long-term outreach plan to raise awareness of the philanthropic opportunity within Alaska.

On Monday, March 16, Sammye Pokryfki and Foraker Group CEO Dennis McMillian co-facilitated a three-hour workshop at the Tanana Chiefs Convention in Fairbanks. The Tanana Chiefs Convention is the annual gathering of the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), the traditional tribal consortium of the 42 villages of Interior Alaska. TCC is the nonprofit corporation for the Interior Alaska Native region, and administers health and social service programs for members.

Twenty-five attendees from Interior villages received information about Foraker programs, tips on how to establish relationships with funders, basic fundraising techniques, contact information for funders in Alaska, and an overview of Rasmuson Foundation programs. The workshop included step-by-step instruction on how to complete a Tier 1 application. Participants represented the communities of Fairbanks, Tanana, Tetlin, Circle, Hughes, Alatna, Ft. Yukon, and Grayling.

Four days later on Friday, March 20, Aleesha Towns-Bain attended the Doyon Ltd. annual shareholder meeting in Fairbanks to provide information about the Rasmuson Foundation grant opportunities. Doyon Ltd is the for-profit organization for the Interior Alaska Native region and the annual shareholder meeting is well attended.

The Foundation was the only non-Doyon related agency with a booth at the meeting and information was provided to dozens of Doyon shareholders to take back to their communities. Attendees were most interested in funding for multi-purpose rooms in villages, elder care facilities and awards for individual artists.

The villages in the Interior region are consistently under-represented in Rasmuson Foundation grantmaking. We know that the needs are great as these are some of the most economically challenged communities in Alaska. Prior outreach efforts include board and staff members traveling by riverboat to villages in the region and a past presentation at the Interior Regional Housing Authority conference.