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Alaska Grantmaking

Contributions by the community


Pie chart of grants made to Alaska organizations in 2012 by category.

Trends in Northwest Giving

In Alaska, grantmaking by community foundations more than doubled, up 111% to over $6 million. However, overall giving to the state was down by $15 million. This decline is slightly skewed by reporting methods, which capture the total amount of multi-year gifts in the year of their award. Additionally, nine funders located outside of Alaska significantly decreased their giving to the state. Public benefit organizations received more than $40 million in grants in 2012. The largest grant in the category was also the largest overall grant to the state—$11.9 million to the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, a nonprofit utility, by The Denali Commission. In total, the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative received 28% ($15.8 million) of all funds to the public benefit category. Grants allocated to renewable and clean energy, energy assistance and energy education or advocacy efforts composed 20% (nearly $25 million) of all grantmaking to the state.


  • Total giving by 44 organizations: $122,218,002
  • Median grant: $6,824
  • Number of grants: 1,737
  • Change in giving from 2010:1 -20%


1Changes in funding are based on data from 35 funders who gave in 2010 and 2012.


Top 10 Grantmakers to Alaska, 20122

  1. The Denali Commission (AK)
  2. Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AK)
  3. Rasmuson Foundation (AK)
  4. Tanana Chiefs Conference (AK)
  5. Campion Foundation (WA)
  6. Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (CA)
  7. ConocoPhillips (AK)
  8. The Alaska Community Foundation (AK)
  9. Arctic Native Slope Association LTD (AK)
  10. Alaska Conservation Foundation (AK)

2Giving by Alaska Native Regional Corporations is not within the scope of this report; we want to acknowledge that the list of top 10 funders and the overall contributions to the state would differ considerably if this data were included.


Every two years, Philanthropy Northwest collects, codes and analyzes data on foundation and corporate giving to nonprofits located in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Because Form 990 schedules and funder reporting cycles are often not in sync with the calendar year, we analyze data from two years prior to the report year; for example, this 2014 report includes grant data from 2012, while our 2012 report includes grant data from 2010, and so on.

Trends in Northwest Giving uses grant data from several sources: Philanthropy Northwest members, national foundations who give to the Northwest, IRS Form 990s, foundation websites and the Foundation Center. Our findings represent a sample of the more than 3,000 foundations in our region.


How do we collect and code the data?

  • We actively reach out to nearly one thousand Northwest-based foundations and corporations, regardless of Philanthropy Northwest membership status.
  • We partner with the Foundation Center to collect data from the top funders to our region, regardless of their location.
  • We prioritize collecting data from the same foundations year over year so we can offer a robust analysis of trends over time.
  • We code our data according to national standards set by National Center for Charitable Statistics. These standards are used by the IRS and are the basis for Foundation Center coding methods.


What’s included in our dataset?

  • Grants of $1,000 or more
  • Community foundations: discretionary grants, unrestricted, donor advised funds, scholarships
  • Corporates: cash, cash matching, dollars for doers, sponsorships
  • Grants approved for future distribution (e.g. multi-year grants in award year)
  • Grants from public charities other than community foundations (except United Ways)


What’s not included?

  • In-kind donations
  • Mission investments
  • Grants or scholarships less than $1,000
  • Direct employee cash contributions
  • Program-related expenses and other non-grant related expenses that count towards foundation payout rates


Reprinted in the April 2015 print edition of Alaska Business Monthly, from “Trends in Northwest Giving 2014.”
Used with permission from Philanthropy Northwest. Download the full report: philanthropynw.org/trends14

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