Alaska

Philanthropy Northwest Diaries: Alaska On My Mind

06/28/2018

Kiran Ahuja | On a recent trip to Anchorage, after engaging with local philanthropic leaders and learning about Alaska’s unique attributes and challenges, it dawned on me the many lessons funders in the lower 48 can glean from Alaska’s philanthropic leaders. In a geographically large state with a small population, funders wear multiple hats and coordinate easily across organizations to address formidable challenges – including homelessness, lack of affordable housing and healthcare services, access to high-quality P-16 education, workforce development and much, much more.

From this recent visit and in my role with Philanthropy Northwest over the past year, I’d like to share my observations about the unique positioning of philanthropy in Alaska. more »

Swimming With the Funders

10/11/2016

Kesley Potdevin, Momentum Fellow | “Hi! I’m a member of Glacier Swim Club. I’m collecting pledges for our annual Aqualaps fundraiser. This year, I’m swimming 200 laps. You can make a lump sum or pledge a certain amount per lap to support the team. If you pledge 1 cent a lap, you'll donate $2, if you pledge 5 cents a lap, you'll donate $10, if you pledge 10 cents a lap, you'll donate $20.” A few weeks ago, this fundraising spiel suddenly popped back into head after a 12-year absence. I had just accepted a position as a program associate of grants and impact at The Alaska Community Foundation after two years at Rasmuson Foundation, most recently as one of Philanthropy Northwest's Momentum Fellows. While I knew aspects of my job would be similar — helping disperse grant money around Alaska — the process would be dramatically different as I shifted from a private foundation to a community one. But it turns out that all those years of fundraising for my youth swim team had sneakily taught me about nonprofits, long before I knew anything about grants strategies and governance structures. more »

In 10 Years: Philanthropy Funds Journalism

03/08/2016

What are the opportunities and challenges for funding journalism related to your foundation's mission? In this second installment of Next10, our conversation series about philanthropy trends to watch in the next decade, we spoke with Anne Martens of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Cassandra Stalzer of the Rasmuson Foundation about the rise of foundation funding of newspapers and journalists. more »

Reflecting on Racial Equity and Civic Engagement

02/11/2016

Gloris Estrella, Program Associate | When the opportunity to join First Alaskans Institute's “Partners for the Next 10,000 Years … A Racial Equity Summit” arose earlier this month, I literally jumped out of my swivel chair with excitement! After gathering 200 people together in a room, all of us passionate about empowering communities and dismantling hundreds of years of oppression, we were bound to walk away with something like a solution, right? Well, not quite. We need to think more about restructuring the current system that is failing so many. More philanthropists should get their hands on the ground, side by side with the communities they so deeply care about. Join the marches, attend town hall meetings, convene your grantees and local businesses around racial tensions they face, write to your local representatives, audit internal policies and ensure they are equitable and inclusive. In an election year, it's even more imperative that philanthropists be at the forefront of the issues we care about. more »

Experimenting and Experiencing: What We Learned at Local Matters: Alaska + Indigenous Communities

11/16/2015

Lyn Hunter, Senior Program Manager | One of our challenges was understanding ourselves how different this gathering would be and then, of course, communicating it. Guided by our board, our Alaska Native and Native American leaders and allies, and our ongoing commitment to community building in Indian Country, we suspected that we were onto something big. What happened exceeded our wildest expectations. Here are the themes we heard from participants, in their own words. more »

Philanthropy Is... Indigenous Ways of Knowing

10/21/2015

Jeff Clarke, CEO | The fourth stop of our Local Matters 2015 series found us in Anchorage, Alaska with leaders from more than 35 organizations, from Bristol Bay to Washington, D.C. For many, it was a life-changing experience. We were welcomed as guests to First Alaskans Institute's 32nd annual Elders and Youth Conference and to the Alaska Federation of Natives — National Congress of American Indians 4th annual Tribal Conference with state and federal policy makers. We were privy to the inner workings of a 10,000-year-old culture as elders passed on their wisdom and traditions to a new generation of Native voices. Despite more than 220 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, each community was honored and rejoiced equally, and spent a week united in both the challenges they share and the opportunities that lie ahead. more »

Learning by Doing: How Grant Requests Are Teaching Me About Alaska

10/19/2015

Kelsey Potdevin, Momentum Fellow | I wasn't born here, but I've lived in Alaska for most of my life and my mom’s family is from Alaska’s interior. My family’s been in the Northwest for probably over 10,000 years. But I’ve learned more in the past year about how my home state works than I ever did growing up in Alaska, while sharing in the happiness of successful grant requests. Philanthropy is a complicated business, chock-a-block full of seemingly esoteric knowledge you can't learn any other way than doing it. more »

Momentum Fellows: Impressive First Impressions

10/09/2015

Nicole Neroulias Gupte, Communications Manager | I recently had the pleasure of meeting the inaugural cohort of our Momentum Fellowship, Philanthropy Northwest's program aimed at preparing professionals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy. These nine fellows bring a tremendous set of skills and experiences to the table, in addition to their diverse backgrounds. An initiative like this can't solve philanthropy's diversity, equity and inclusion "pipeline problem" all by itself, but as our board member Luz Vega-Marquis of Marguerite Casey Foundation says: "We have to start somewhere." From a communications perspective, the Momentum Fellowship also gives us fresh eyes on the art and business of philanthropy at six Pacific Northwest foundations: Meyer Memorial Trust, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Northwest Health Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, Pride Foundation and Rasmuson Foundation. more »

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