The Pick.Click.Give. program does more than the obvious — making it simple for Alaskans to donate to charitable and educational nonprofits as they file online for their Permanent Fund dividends. Shane and Carolyn Iverson use it to teach their children about philanthropy.
“We started involving our kids when they were old enough to understand what community, charity and kindness mean,” Shane Iverson said.
Around PFD filing time, the Iversons talk to their kids about various organizations and then let them decide which ones they’d like to give to.
“Obviously, there are lots of really deserving nonprofits in Alaska,” he said. “We live in Bethel and are deeply intertwined with our community. So, we like to give to organizations we know. The kids are just super into it as they learn what these nonprofits do.”
Created by the Alaska State Legislature in 2008, donations can be a little or a lot, including entire PFDs. Among the program’s 642 eligible nonprofits are organizations addressing hunger, addictions, domestic violence, homelessness, mental health, suicide prevention, animal welfare, search and rescue and much more.
As of 2022, the program has raised $32,736,503 in donations, according to Jessie Lavoie of the Alaska Community Foundation, which took over management from the Rasmuson Foundation in 2015. In 2022, if every Alaskan had donated just $25, that alone would have raised $18,424,750.
Among Pick.Click.Give.’s hundreds of beneficiaries are:
• The Alaska Innocence Project, which works to identify, investigate and exonerate people wrongly convicted in Alaska.
• The Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which helps eliminate barriers to employment, community participation and quality of life as the only statewide training and resource center. It also has a residential program, where participants can learn, not just white-cane orientation and mobility, but everything from cooking to managing finances.
• Family Promise Mat-Su, an interfaith nonprofit addressing an overwhelming number of homeless families in a borough the size of West Virginia.
• Identity Inc., whose mission is to support Alaska’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities through advocacy, education and connectivity, as well as supporting parents of LGBTQ+ youth.
• Iḷisaġvik College Foundation in Utqiaġvik, which provides post-secondary academic, vocational, and technical education steeped in Iñupiat culture, language, values, and traditions. Students can work towards an academic degree, a vocational or industrial certification, or towards a greater knowledge of Iñupiat culture and worldview.
• The Last Frontier Honor Flight, which transports Alaskan war veterans to Washington D.C. to visit memorials honoring their services and sacrifices at no cost to the veterans.
Keeping it local, the Iverson kids have their favorites, including Tundra Women’s Coalition, a safe place for women and children; Bethel Winter House, which houses unsheltered people; Bethel Friends of Canines; and Bethel Search & Rescue.
“Kids are so empathic at certain ages,” their father said, “so they are really into giving donations.”