For Immediate Release on December 9, 2011
Contact: Candace Winkler, The Alaska Community Foundation, 907-264-6702

Community philanthropy initiative expanded

December 9, 2011 - Anchorage, AK -  The Alaska Community Foundation and Rasmuson Foundation announced today the extension of a collaborative initiative designed to grow philanthropy in communities across Alaska.

The Community Asset Building Initiative was launched by both ACF and Rasmuson Foundation in 2007 and led to the establishment of five funds serving the Chilkat Valley, Talkeetna, Petersburg, Seward and the Kenai Peninsula. With Friday's announcement, ACF officially begins its process to identify three to four more Alaska communities interested in this approach to local philanthropy.

These community funds are officially referred to as “affiliates” of ACF. Affiliate communities benefit from The Alaska Community Foundation’s oversight of fund investments and expertise in community-based philanthropy while retaining local control of fundraising, goal setting and grant recommendations.

Overseen by local advisory committees, the existing five affiliates have grown from inception to permanently endowed funds with more than $3.7 million in assets as of September 2011. ACF affiliates use their grant making capacity to fund projects important to the community. In Talkeetna, for example, the Jessica Stevens Community Foundation Fund awards grants to local projects like Talkeetna Build A Plane, which purchases inoperable small aircraft for local high school students to rebuild. The project helps students gain useful mechanical skills while connecting them to the culture of
their aviation-centric town.

“We are very excited to be taking the next step with this initiative and to have the opportunity to see it work for more Alaska communities,” said Candace Winkler, president and CEO of The Alaska Community Foundation.

Community funds also provide a vehicle for residents to support the growth and development of their communities through bequests and other giving. In Seward, for example, a local man named Tony Rollo left $2 million to the Seward Community Foundation Fund in his will when he passed away in late 2010. “Without the presence of the Seward affiliate, that gift probably wouldn’t have happened,” Winkler said.

Rasmuson Foundation is contributing $2 million in support of the expansion over the next three years. “Community philanthropy is about building financial assets and more,” said Diane Kaplan, president of Rasmuson Foundation. “Developing and managing a community fund builds community leadership and connects neighbors as they identify local priorities and solutions. Our partnership with ACF is an effective, cost-efficient model for meaningful community-based philanthropy.”

ACF and Rasmuson Foundation are beginning the work of reaching out to local leaders across Alaska to identify communities interested in establishing an affiliate fund. Visits to candidate communities will take place early in 2012, with the formal application process following later in the spring.

For more information on the Community Asset Building Initiative and to explore establishing an affiliate in your community, contact The Alaska Community Foundation at 907-334-6700.

Established in 1995, the Alaska Community Foundation manages more than $50 million in assets and grants approximately $5 million a year to charitable projects and nonprofit organizations across the state. ACF is comprised of more than 280 component funds and endowments, including the Seward Community Foundation Fund, the Alaska Disaster Recovery Fund, the Anchorage Schools Foundation Fund, the Alaska Children’s Trust
Fund and many others. ACF’s mission is to grow philanthropy and connect people who care with causes that matter. The foundation helps individuals, organizations and communities create charitable vehicles that – like the Alaska Permanent Fund – provide financial resources to improve the quality of life in Alaska now and forever.

Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband "E.A." Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.