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Philanthropic Leaders to Visit Alaska During 13th Annual Event


ANCHORAGE, Alaska - During the past 12 years, more than $50 million has been invested into the Alaska nonprofit sector as a result of the annual week-long Educational Tour of Alaska for Grantmakers, which kicked off Monday, August 17. The 13th Annual Event, hosting leaders of the country's most prominent philanthropies, aims to increase the size of that investment.

"The first step to increasing outside investment in Alaska is helping foundation leaders understand our unique social, economic and political environment," said Rasmuson Foundation President Diane Kaplan. "Our visitors get a chance to meet rural and urban Alaskans, and visit with a variety of organizations that are working to improve life here in our state."

Rasmuson Foundation initiated the tour in 1997 to introduce grantmakers to the unique challenges and pioneering solutions found in Alaska. The Tour is regarded as a national model for raising awareness within the philanthropic community about issues facing rural America.

"The Tour provides nonprofit organizations an opportunity to establish partnerships and build lasting relationships," said Kaplan. "Such partnerships are a key component for the success of Alaska's nonprofit community."

This year's Tour participants will meet with community leaders from across the state as they visit Bethel, Napaskiak, Anchorage, Barrow and Prudhoe Bay. Senator Mark Begich, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Governor Sean Parnell, and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan will also meet with tour participants.

This year's participants are:

1. Ms. Christa Velasquez, Director of Social Investments, Annie E. Casey Foundation (Baltimore, MD): The Annie E. Casey Foundation grants $190 million each year to foster public policies, human services, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of vulnerable children and families.
2. Mr. Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Global Community Affairs, Microsoft (Seattle, WA) and his spouse Alka: Microsoft has a long history of community engagement and partnerships around the world. Through monetary grants, software and curriculum donations, technology solutions, and employee volunteer hours, Microsoft supports projects and organizations that are making a difference.
3. Ms. Carol Larson, President, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Los Altos, CA): The David and Lucile Packard Foundation invests in innovative people and organizations to improve the lives of children, enable the creative pursuit of science, advance reproductive health, and conserve and restore earth's natural systems. In 2008, the Foundation granted $342 million.
4. Ms. Jan Kennedy, Program Director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust (Vancouver, WA): The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust seeks to enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by providing grants and enrichment programs to non-profit organizations that seek to strengthen the region's educational, spiritual, and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. In 2008, the Trust put over $42 million into the economy in the form of grants and enrichment programs.
5. Mrs. Tashia Morgridge, President, and Mr. John Morgridge, CFO, TOSA Foundation (New York, NY): The TOSA Foundation is a private family foundation that awards gifts to charitable and educational causes. The Foundation made $7.5 million in awards in 2007 for education, conservation, family and children's programs, and other projects in the United States and internationally.
6. Mr. Phillip Henderson, President, Surdna Foundation (New York, NY): a family foundation established in 1917 by John Emory Andrus. The foundation makes grants in the areas of environment, community revitalization, effective citizenry, the arts and the nonprofit sector, with annual grantmaking of approximately $37 million.
7. Mr. Robert Lanyon, Corporate Citizenship & Community Investments Manager, ExxonMobil (Irving, TX): the world's largest publicly traded international oil and gas company makes community investments that seek to reduce barriers to development including health, education and infrastructure; ExxonMobil partners with local institutions, NGOs, governments and development agencies to design its strategic investment programs. In 2008, Exxon Mobil Corporation, its divisions and affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided a combined $189 million in cash, goods and services worldwide.
The 2009 Educational Tour of Alaska for Grantmakers is co-sponsored by the Rasmuson Foundation,
Alaska Community Foundation, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Alaska Native Tribal Health Constortium, Alaska Railroad Corporation, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, BP Exploration (Alaska), ConocoPhillips, Denali Commission, ExxonMobil, First Alaskans Institute, The Foraker Group, Hilton Hotel, Southcentral Foundation, CIRI, The CIRI Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank Alaska, United Way of Anchorage, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and Yuut Elitnaurviat.

About the Foundation
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.

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