by Ana Hoffman
The Trustees of Bethel Elkartaa Settlement Trust (BEST) approved a beneficiary distribution equal to $4.08 per unit share to be payable in December. For over thirty years, Bethel Native Corporation (BNC) paid shareholders an annual dividend totaling over $13,000,000 in payments. From 1987 until 2017, dividends were paid from BNC to shareholders equaling over $11,000,000 in distributions.
In 2018, BNC shareholders established the Bethel Elkartaa Settlement Trust to ensure tax savings for the corporation and tax free distributions to the beneficiaries. This 2020 distribution with over $715,000 in payments will mark the third annual beneficiary distribution and total over $2,000,000 in payments from BEST.
The annual distribution amount is determined by a dividend formula based on a five-year average performance. All 2,000 shareholders of BNC are also beneficiaries of BEST. The annual distributions have a significant impact on the local economy since the majority of the shareholders still reside in and around the Bethel area. The corporation also remains headquartered in Bethel with operations in Alaska and the Pacific coast.
The Bethel Native Corporation Board of Directors serve as Trustees of the Bethel Elkartaa Settlement Trust. Ana Hoffman serves as the President/CEO.
Elkartaa is a Yup’ik word meaning: to settle in place.