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2010 Update on Foundation Programs

Feb. 5, 2010

Anchorage – Rasmuson Foundation has announced that its 2010 grantmaking profile will be one of cautious optimism and possible growth in the second half of the year. This approach represents a slight shift from the Foundation’s grantmaking during much of 2009, which was marked by a suspension of new large grants while the effects of global economic downturn were assessed.

As during 2009, Rasmuson Foundation’s highest priority remains to honor all commitments to current grantees. The Foundation anticipates maintaining robust small capital, capacity-building, and program-expansion grant programs in 2010. The focus remains on funding critical organizational needs. Organizations are urged to prioritize the components of a given request and to expect the average award to again be roughly $16,000.

The Individual Artist Award program will be supported at a level commensurate with 2009, and postmark deadline for those applications is March 1. Other arts programs will, in general, experience an increased level of support as compared to last year.

The Sabbatical Program will return to funding up to eight awards in the 2010 selection period (in 2009 funding was available for up to six.) The postmark deadline for Sabbatical applications is October 1.

The Pre-Development Program offered through the Foraker Group that is designed to help nonprofits evaluate, plan and execute capital building projects continues its work across the state.

This year Rasmuson Foundation may advance conversations with a limited number of organizations that are positioned to begin the process of requesting a large grant award (over $25,000). In December, the Foundation announced seven new, large awards – all of them either continued support for projects in which the Foundation had previous investments, or leveraged matching opportunities for shovel-ready projects.

In short, 2010, which thus far has seen the Foundation’s asset valuation rebound to approximately $425 million after last year’s precipitous decline, is the dawn of a “new normal.”

"Philanthropy’s 'new normal,' both within the state and across the country, can best be described as refocusing on core interests," said Rasmuson Foundation President Diane Kaplan in a recent blog post. "From an investment perspective, improved market conditions allow us to make some cautious adjustments to our 2010 grantmaking strategy. We hope to share this information with the field as early as possible in hopes that it helps organizations plan for the year."

"While we can’t predict the future," Kaplan said, "we take seriously the responsibility to protect the capital assets of the Foundation in a manner that enhances our ability to work with our nonprofit partners, to meet community needs today and in the future. We believe that these prudent adjustments meet the spirit of Jenny and Elmer Rasmuson’s wish that the Rasmuson Foundation serve the state and its citizens in perpetuity."

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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