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House Approves 'Endow Alaska' Grant Program Creation

The Alaska House today passed a bill to spur private donations to charitable community foundations, offering a dollar-for-dollar match through a new “Endow Alaska” Grant Program.

House Majority Leader Alan Austerman’s House Bill 290 would direct an annual grant to a lead philanthropic organization who would then offer challenge grants to local community foundations to garner private donations.

“The program is quite simple, but the impacts are potentially profound,” Austerman, R-Kodiak, said. “The result is that state dollars would leverage local giving, for a triple benefit: growing a culture of philanthropy in Alaska communities; improving communities’ self-reliance as a result; and creating a mechanism whereby single-year state funds can create perpetual financial tools to benefit Alaskans.”

Leader Austerman said that through HB 290, existing community foundations, like the Homer or Juneau Community Foundations, could build their asset base and garner more local support, while communities working to establish foundations will have a tool to get them started.

The bill carries a $25,000 cap per community foundation per year, and says no more than five percent of the grant can be used for administrative costs. The program is modeled on two other state programs, in Iowa and Kentucky.

HB 290 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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