by the Rasmuson Foundation
Aspiring entrepreneurs in Anchorage will gain a place to grow their food businesses. A Southeast community will transform part of a historic cannery into a community gathering space. In the Northwest Arctic region, a youth-led organization will get help furnishing a youth center.
Those are among 25 projects that recently received support from Rasmuson Foundation. A total of $8.5 million in grants and other investments will help efforts from Kiana to Kake.
Anchorage Community Land Trust will receive $1 million to build a food business incubator in Mountain View next door to its Set Up Shop entrepreneur training program. The facility will include four rentable commercial kitchens available 24-7 at pay-by-the-hour and sliding scale rates. Businesses also will have an on-site retail opportunity.
In the community of Kake, located on an island 90 miles south of Juneau, a long-shuttered cannery designated as a National Historic Landmark has already been extensively restored and shored up as an economic driver. In this next step, the Organized Village of Kake — the local tribe — will receive a $450,000 Foundation grant to turn the old Egg Room into a community center, a much-needed year-round gathering space.
“Nonprofits and tribes know both the challenges and the solutions in their communities. These projects will make a meaningful difference in individual lives,” said Gretchen Guess, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO. “We are thankful for such good partners and grantees doing the work of ensuring communities and people thrive and live healthy lives.”
That’s the mission of OPT-In Kiana in the Northwest Arctic Borough. OPT stands for One Positive Thing, and the organization was founded by a 16-year-old to empower other youth. A grant of $176,978 will provide appliances, furnishings and technology upgrades to complete the makeover of the old community building into a youth center.
Other projects and programs receiving support include a pro bono counseling program in Anchorage, Fairbanks library’s new youth room, and therapeutic foster homes in Ketchikan and on Prince of Wales Island.
The Foundation’s board meets twice a year to approve large grants, evaluate ongoing programs and consider new initiatives. A meeting in June was Guess’s first as Foundation president and CEO.