Education & Economic Possibility

Helping Alaskans create their best futures

One of our founders, Elmer Rasmuson, said a community that invests in itself is a healthy community. That remains true even today. Innovative supports for local entrepreneurs, partnerships to bring fast internet to all communities and enriched educational programs all speak to our mission of promoting a better life for Alaskans.

53Headstart centers and preschools renovated, since 1989
$4.5 millionIn grants to improve early childhood centers

Closing the digital divide across Alaska

Too many Alaskans lack fast internet. Online activities that some of us take for granted — applying for Social Security, having a telehealth appointment, or even reading the news online — may be out of reach without broadband. With the State of Alaska and nonprofit partners, we helped to develop a plan to close the digital divide from Adak to Wrangell and ensure access to virtual opportunities for work, healthcare, training and education.

Additional impact areas

Supporting entrepreneurs

Back in 2003, we awarded $5 million to create Anchorage Community Land Trust, at that time our biggest grant ever to an organization that didn’t yet exist. It has evolved and grown to provide support in the neighborhoods where it is most needed. Through its Set Up Shop small business program, more than 250 entrepreneurs in Mountain View, Spenard, Fairview and Muldoon have received training, technical assistance and often access to capital. Now open: a sweet shop, a fusion restaurant, a counseling center and many other new businesses.

Economic development

In Southeast Alaska a partnership is aiming for a $100 million endowment to support a sustainable economy through a variety of projects addressing food security and restoration of salmon runs, management of healthy forests and small scale tourism, among other areas. Organizers say tribes, conservation interests, Alaska Native corporations, rural communities and industry groups are pursuing goals of “collective well-being, sustainable economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and natural resource management.” The Seacoast Trust fund launched in 2021.

Path to science and technology careers

A program to improve career opportunities for Alaska Native individuals in science, technology, engineering and math reaches 2,500 students a year, from kindergarten to graduate school. The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program goes beyond core government responsibility for K-12 education with hands-on exploration for the youngest students, academies that can take students from ninth grade to a bachelor’s degree in five years, fellowships for Alaska-grown Ph.D students and more. We are among more than 100 funders and partners.

Good start for Alaska children

In the Bering Strait village of Shishmaref, a new Head Start center replaced two old buildings, one without running water. In Anchorage, a childcare network, thread, built a statewide database for families seeking information, licensing regulators and policymakers. Quality early childhood programs speak directly to our mission of promoting a better life for Alaskans.

Creations by the people: Unleashing the innovation of Southeast Alaska

Spruce Root is creating opportunity for small businesses in Southeast Alaska.

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Set Up Shop: ‘People bring us their dreams’

Entrepreneurs and neighborhoods benefit from Anchorage Community Land Trust’s small business program.

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