The community foundation was established in Haines in 2008.

The community foundation was established in Haines in 2008.

Throughout Alaska there are local organizations called community foundations that raise funds to support local nonprofits. Recently, representatives from two statewide philanthropic organizations met with the community foundation in Haines to talk about upcoming changes to their partnership.

“The work the Chilkat Valley has done in this community is remarkable,” says Nina Kemppel, CEO of the Alaska Community Foundation. “Some of the grants that they’ve given out have really made and amazing impact and we just hope to support them in their efforts to continue to grow and continue to make a really lasting difference in the community.”

The Alaska Community Foundation works closely with the Rasmuson Foundation to support development on a local level. The Community Asset Building Initiative is a partnership between the two organizations that began in 2008. They work with nine affiliate community foundations around the state providing back-end help like technical assistance and training to assist local fundraisers in growing. They help community foundations raise funds and distribute grants from those funds. And, the Rasmuson Foundation provides money to match local donations.

Now, they’re reviewing the best ways to foster growth in communities around the state. They came to Haines to meet with the Chilkat Valley Community Foundation. Kemppel says they are moving into a new phase of the program.

“The next phase involves relying more strongly on the great work that the local community foundations do across the state,” says Kemppel.

Sammye Pokryfki is the Senior Vice President of the Rasmuson Foundation. She says they’re not planning to make many huge changes.

“To me the biggest difference I think now is that each of the community foundation affiliates is at a different stage of development,” says Pokryfki. “And so what we hope to do is help them build on the strengths that they have that are unique to them.”

Kemppel says with that in mind, they’re working to make the partnership more flexible to adapt to the needs of individual communities.

“So that we can actually design the right strategy for Chilkat Valley that works for them and motivates them and incents them and all the things that they do and do well, and then allow for the same kind of flexibility for some of our other affiliates that have very different dynamics,” says Kemppel.

They will be introducing support for the addition of part-time staff members to help with local operations. And, they will provide operational endowments with the goal of making the individual organizations sustainable over time.

Last year, the Chilkat Valley Community Foundation distributed $18,000 in grants to 14 organizations.

Pokryfki says local affiliates do not necessarily need their help to be successful.

“The truth is that the work that’s being done here will likely happen with or without Rasmuson Foundation’s involvement,” says Pokryfki. “But we believe so strongly that it’s the right thing to do that we want to invest in that and help to make it even better.”

The stop in Haines is the first. Kemppel and Pokryfki are meeting with affiliate communities around the state like Petersburg, Ketchikan and Sitka to discuss what’s coming.