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

Juneau –  Today Governor Sean Parnell, Alaska Senate President Charlie Huggins, and Co-Chair of the Alaska Joint Veterans Caucus Rep. Steve Thompson joined Rasmuson Foundation to announce the creation of a new fund to benefit programs and services for Alaska’s women veterans. The Women Veterans Fund is endowed with $500,000 from Rasmuson Foundation in honor of Mary Louise Rasmuson, former board member, 20-year U.S. Army veteran, and the fifth director of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC).

The announcement took place inside the Speaker’s Chambers at the Alaska State Capitol, with the Governor’s Veteran Advisory Council, the Alaska Pioneer Home Board, the Alaska Army National Guard Chief of Staff and State Command Sergeant Major, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs leadership, and veteran members of the Alaska legislature in attendance.

“Heroism knows no gender,” said Governor Sean Parnell. “Mary Louise not only opened the door for women to serve in this nation’s military, but she also made equity a key focus of her administration of the WAC.

“Unfortunately, there are still unique challenges that women veterans face. The Women Veterans Fund will provide a source of support to address those challenges for the heroes who choose to call Alaska home.”

Earnings from the fund, which is permanently endowed at The Alaska Community Foundation, will be granted to support the programs of the Alaska Veterans Organization for Women (AVOW), a program of Anchorage YWCA. (Like AVOW on Facebook here.)

“Alaska has more than 8,500 women veterans, which is the highest per capita population of female veterans in the nation,” said Senator Charlie Huggins, himself a retired Colonel and 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army. “We invite all Alaskans to show their support for women veterans by making contributions to this fund.”

Staffed by volunteers, AVOW was created in 2011 to support women veterans through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment. Through monthly meetings, an annual retreat, and peer connections, AVOW addresses tough issues like the guilt women feel when leaving their families to serve, military sexual trauma, and a lack of some veterans services for women.

AVOW was founded by Vanessa Meade, who served during the First Gulf War as a military police officer in Iraq.

Contributions to the Women Veterans Fund are tax-deductible and can be made by contacting The Alaska Community Foundation by phone at 907-334-6700 or by email at

About the Foundation
Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband E.A. Rasmuson. The Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.


Video: Sen. Lisa Murkowski Veterans Spotlight featuring Vanessa Meade

Photos: Mary Louise Rasmuson