For immediate release
Nov. 22, 2022
Contact: Lisa Demer, 907-545-3555 (cell)
Anchorage, AK – In 1955, Rasmuson Foundation’s first grant was $125 to a Presbyterian church for a “motion picture projector.” In November, we committed $1 million to the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula toward a permanent campus, just one of dozens of projects moving forward with Foundation support.
The numbers have changed. Projects are more ambitious. But the Foundation’s commitment to Alaska is as strong as ever.
The Foundation’s board and staff recently approved 30 projects, programs and initiatives totaling more than $16 million. A marketplace in downtown Kodiak, new opportunities for Alaska fishermen and two more seasons of the PBS animated children’s show “Molly of Denali” are among the projects moving forward.
With the recent grant awards, Rasmuson Foundation’s total investment in Alaska communities and people since our 1955 beginnings will top $500 million.
“Alaska’s nonprofits, tribes and local governments work hard every day to help their neighbors and make life better in immeasurable ways. We are so proud to partner with organizations that build clinics to ensure quality health care, that help children grow and thrive with playgrounds and sports fields, that take care of those who are unhoused and can get on their feet with a little support,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO.
At its November meeting, the Foundation board also renewed three long-standing programs including the Individual Artist Awards, with higher grants for artists starting next year.
Big Brothers Big Sisters, a mentoring program for youth, will get trucks to pick up donations. The City of Unalaska’s library will be renovated and expanded. Bean’s Cafe will expand its food production facility.
Gulf of Alaska fishermen will get access to new fishing opportunities by leasing quota shares, less risky and less expensive than buying them. In Kodiak, the Foundation will help complete a new downtown marketplace in a space that will include a large conference center.
Some grants will enhance Alaska’s vibrant arts and culture. In the Individual Artist Awards, Project Awards will increase to $10,000; Fellowships, $25,000; and for the Distinguished Artist, $50,000. Alaska Public Media is receiving support for Alaska Native producers, writers and other creatives to continue with “Molly of Denali.”
The Foundation’s signature Sabbatical Program also will continue and grow, with up to eight tribal and nonprofit leaders getting a chance each year to rest, refresh and reset with paid time away. The Strengthening Organizations program also is continuing.
The Foundation’s board meets twice a year to approve large grants, evaluate ongoing programs and consider new initiatives. The mid-November meeting marked Kaplan’s last regular meeting as president and CEO after 27 years with the Foundation.
About the Foundation
Rasmuson Foundation aims to promote a better life for all Alaskans. 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.