Rasmuson Foundation board approves $15 million in projects

Public radio station KYUK in Bethel will receive support for a new radio tower, one of 29 large grants approved in November 2021. Photo courtesy of the Rasmuson Foundation

The largest slate of grant awards in Rasmuson Foundation’s 66-year history will support Alaska projects from Kotzebue to Ketchikan, promoting economic development, recreational opportunities, educational programs for children and more. Included for an award is KYUK, the public radio station for the YK delta region. Their grant will be used to replace its AM radio tower and foundation, which have sunk into the permafrost and become unstable. The radio station connects people whether they are at home, camping or subsisting off the land and river. The area is on the frontline of climate change.

Other awards will improve local parks and help local museums grow their collections. Two new Head Start preschools — one in Shishmaref, another in Knik-Fairview — will be built, in addition to three new public use cabins, all in different areas of the state. In Anchorage, the Alaska Black Caucus will receive support to establish its headquarters.

At its November meeting, the Foundation board committed more than $15 million for 29 awards. Projects include $3 million to continue and expand the Foundation’s Camps Initiative, a pilot program started by the Foundation in 2019 to ensure youth had access to educational, recreational, faith-based and cultural camps. Partners have included The Alaska Community Foundation, the State of Alaska and the Municipality of Anchorage. In 2021, camps-related grants were made to 32 different communities with more than 12,000 kids impacted.

“We have the great privilege to partner with Alaska nonprofits as they take on some of the most pressing challenges. They forge ahead, even in times of great uncertainty. Their Alaska spirit is unwavering,” board Chair Adam Gibbons said.

With a $450,000 award, Alaska Children’s Trust will create a statewide budget and policy center, establishing an Alaska chapter in a network of 42 state-level research and policy organizations. An Anchorage nonprofit, Gamers Sports Travel, will receive $350,000 to help build an indoor baseball and softball center in Mountain View that will serve more than 200 youth a year. After a devastating fire destroyed the Triumvirate Theatre on the Kenai Peninsula, the Alaska Children’s Institute for the Performing Arts will rebuild with the help of a $1 million award.

The Foundation’s largest commitment will benefit the Alutiiq Heritage Foundation to renovate and expand the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository in Kodiak. Multiple funding sources kicked this long-awaited expansion into high gear, with contributions from regional entities Kodiak Area Native Association, Koniag Inc., and a large bequest from a former Kodiak resident and anthropologist. Additionally, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trust awarded $8 million to the museum in October.