PUBLISHED: 4:51 PM on Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Foundation awards $11.9 million to Alaska nonprofits
Eight Southeast Alaska groups benefit from Rasmuson Foundation funding
ANCHORAGE - Twenty-nine nonprofits, including eight in Southeast Alaska, that provide a wide range of benefits to Alaskans were selected for a collective $11,971,325 investment by Rasmuson Foundation.

From historic preservation to outdoor exploration, the grantees selected for support have very different goals and missions, but are all similar in the support they engender within their communities.

"These grantees not only do good work and provide much needed services, but they are also well managed by their boards and staff," said Rasmuson Foundation President Diane Kaplan. "They have done their homework in getting community buy-in to their missions and community support for their projects. The Foundation is thrilled to provide assistance to these important organizations that improve the quality of life for people throughout our state."

The nonprofit groups in Southeast that received funding include:

• Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes (Juneau) received $54,930 to improve the Head Start playground in Wrangell by constructing a cover over the existing play equipment. In a community that receives more than 80 inches of rain per year and significant winter snowfall, a covered playground will encourage more children and families to spend time in outdoor play.

• Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council (Ketchikan) received $167,500 to purchase and renovate a building formerly used as a church to house their offices and provide program and gallery space. The spacious, high-ceiling sanctuary will be transformed into a gallery and program area. A larger gallery will allow for installation work, the wrap-around deck can be used for outdoor exhibits, and the original hardwood flooring in the sanctuary is the perfect surface for dance classes. The lower level will be used for classes and meetings, with room enough to allow for messy arts activities.

• Sitka Trail Works (Sitka) received $170,617 to complete the Sawmill Cove Loop Trail system that will wind through a stand of old growth spruce and follow a stream to its source, a 150-foot waterfall, before moving on through a steep valley and past two more waterfalls. The first waterfall and viewing area are designed to be wheelchair accessible. Sitka Trail Works was incorporated to promote the development and maintenance of area trails by retraining and employing displaced timber workers. Originally funded with timber relief monies following the closure of the local pulp mill, the organization retrained 20 workers and built more than seven miles of new trails in the Sitka area.

• Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority (Juneau) received $780,000 to renovate and expand the Klawock Senior Supportive Housing facility on Prince of Wales Island. The project will increase housing units for seniors from 10 to 18, create elevator access to the second floor, and renovate the existing kitchen and lunch room into a "day facility" that can comfortably accommodate additional seniors for meals and socialization.

Other grant awards went to:

• Capital Community Broadcasting, Inc. (Juneau) - $72,888 to upgrade radio equipment and perform tower site work.

• Haines Assisted Living (Haines) - $550,000 for the construction of an assisted living facility.

• Metlakatla Indian Community (Metlakatla) - $150,000 to renovate the Town Hall and improve its energy efficiency.

• State of Alaska - Department of Health and Social Services (Juneau) - $519,150 for the Grantee Partnership Project that will realign grant making and monitoring processes to help DHSS effectively and efficiently serve the residents of Alaska.

The Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband E.A. Rasmuson. The Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.