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The Alaska Community Foundation presents Community Building with Louise van Rhyn



A group of Alaskans who meet regularly to discuss ways to improve the state have partnered with the Alaska Community Foundation for a two-day event titled “Community Building for Alaska.”

The event, which is being co-hosted and held at Alaska Pacific University, will feature prominent South African social advocate Louise van Rhyn. More than 100 Alaskans from around 15 communities across the state will gather all day Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 24-25. Monday’s event is followed by a reception at Alaska Public Telecommunications, Inc. from 5:30 – 7p.m. An evening event on Wednesday, Oct. 26 will be hosted at the Alaska Community Foundation’s offices at 400 L Street as part of its “Conversations about Causes that Matter” to round out the conference and recap the discussion during the prior two days.

“We’ve been doing small and informal gatherings for six years and all along I’ve had a vision that it would emerge into an impactful network,” said Kitty Farnham, organizer of a group informally known as Alaska Catalysts. Working with ACF was a natural fit and a great way to bring in Alaskans from across the state.

Van Rhyn speaks internationally about social engagement and will be facilitating discussions about igniting citizenship, building trust and seeing possibilities in communities.

Farnham met van Rhyn at a conference in Cincinnati and, learning she would be in nearby Canada, immediately invited her to Alaska. The Alaska Catalysts’ mantra, “Ignite the gifts of individuals to create a positive future for Alaska,” is directly related to van Rhyn’s teachings.

“Van Rhyn is a world-class thought leader who can talk to us about creating citizen-led action,” Farnham said. “It’s about realizing our role as citizens to take an active step. We need to not look to everyone else to do something to make our state better. It’s what we can do. ”

Van Rhyn’s message also dovetails with the Alaska Community Foundation’s work to connect people who care with causes that matter.

“We want Alaskans to realize they have the ability to create change in their communities,” said Candace Winkler, Alaska Community Foundation CEO. “Louise speaks about the power individuals have when they join their talents with others working towards the same goal.”  

Find more information about van Rhyn and registering for the conference at  

Established in 1995, the Alaska Community Foundation grants more than $5 million a year to charitable projects and nonprofit organizations across the state. ACF is comprised of over 280 component funds and endowments, including the Seward Community Foundation, the Alaska Disaster Recovery Fund, the Anchorage Schools Foundation, the Alaska Children’s Trust and many others ACF’s mission is to grow philanthropy and connect people who care with causes that matter. The foundation helps individuals, organizations and communities create funds that – like the Alaska Permanent Fund – provide financial resources to improve the quality of life in Alaska now and forever. For more information visit www.alaskacf.org or call 907-334-6700.


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