Rapid Response

Stepping up in a crisis

We encourage nonprofits, tribes and municipal governments to prepare for emergencies. Yet sometimes, the unexpected is bigger than anyone could have predicted. When critical needs threaten vital operations and the well-being of valuable programs and services, we can help.

2,100Households in remote communities that received shipments of cleaning kits early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
49Nonprofits that received quick support through the Alaska Disaster Recovery Fund after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in 2018.

Tailoring relief in a pandemic

In 2020, as the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 ripped through our state and world, our board created a $2 million response fund to help those whose lives were turned upside down. We directed support to child care so essential workers with children could do their jobs. We awarded technology grants to help nonprofits and tribal groups pivot to virtual operations. We supported relief grants for artists and emergency grants for organizations. With partners, we created the AK Can Do fund to get private dollars to the most pressing needs, fast. When we learned that personal protective equipment was in short supply, we launched a project to acquire, store and distribute PPE all over Alaska. We wouldn’t have wished the pandemic on anyone, but it exposed inequities and helped us connect in new and needed ways.

Cora Ablowaluk, Teller city clerk, is seen on Feb. 1, 2021. She is responsible for distributing household cleaning kits in the community. (Photo courtesy of Cora Ablowaluk)

Additional impact areas

To Alaska, with love

When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, a small Anchorage nonprofit, New Chance Inc., stepped up to help hundreds flee the war and resettle in Alaska. No one had done anything like this, but New Chance, affiliated with the Ukrainian-led New Chance Christian Church, raised millions and negotiated the complexities of immigration law to get people to safety. We helped launch the relief effort with an initial $25,000 for documents, food, housing and other basics, then awarded $150,000 for flights, matched by our partner, Weidner Apartment Homes.

Shaking, then remaking

A magnitude 7.1 quake on Nov. 30, 2018, hit Southcentral Alaska hard, damaging buildings, rippling roads and disrupting events. We joined with partners to coordinate a response. A survey determined needs: child care, building repairs, replacement of lost ticket revenue. Eleven major funders and dozens of individuals and small businesses pitched in more than $690,000. Some 49 nonprofits received grants. Among those getting help: the Mat-Su’s Set Free Alaska, a treatment organization; Anchorage-based radio station KNBA; and Eagle River’s Family Outreach Center for Understanding Special Needs, or FOCUS, which serves children and adults with disabilities.

Water crisis in Southwest Alaska

On Jan. 16, 2021, a fire destroyed the washeteria housing the water system in the Kuskokwim River village of Tuluksak. The community needed help to ensure water for handwashing, hygiene, laundry and drinking. We stepped up with $100,000 to help the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. leverage funds for temporary and permanent solutions.

A mudslide in Haines

Record rainfall on Dec. 2, 2020, in the Southeast Alaska community of Haines sent a massive, 600-foot-wide swath of saturated hillside through a residential area and into Lynn Canal. It was the largest and most tragic of numerous landslides, burying a home directly in its path, killing two. Chilkat Valley Community Foundation quickly established an emergency response fund and became a key partner in the recovery effort. We supported its effort with a $25,000 grant.

Shifting gears after disastrous winter storm in Haines

Chilkat Valley Community Foundation steps up after devastating Haines mud slide.

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In a pandemic, we came together to supply Alaska

This project supplied Alaska with masks, gloves and cleaning supplies in the pandemic’s early days.

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