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Spruce Root Receives Three International Economic Development Awards

Oct 16, 2023 | News, Nonprofits, Small Business

Program Director for Technical Assistance Ashley Snookes accepts the 2023 Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council.

International Economic Development Council

Spruce Root, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering and supporting rural communities, recently announced that the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has selected the Path to Prosperity (P2P) suite of services as a 2023 Excellence in Economic Development Award Winner.

Two Gold Awards and a Silver

IEDC is a nonprofit membership organization for economic developers all over the world with more than 4,300 members. During its 2023 inaugural Recognition Night event on September 19 at the Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, the IEDC awarded Spruce Root a gold award for Multi-Year Economic Development, a gold award for Entrepreneurship, and a silver award in Economic Equity and Inclusion.

These awards demonstrate Spruce Root’s unwavering dedication to creating sustainable, thriving communities.

“At Spruce Root we put a lot of effort into continuously improving our programs year over year so that we can meet the needs of small business owners and our communities,” Spruce Root Executive Director Alana Peterson says. “This award is an honor and gives me a lot of gratitude for our dedicated Spruce Root team.”

“Spruce Root has raised the bar for excellence in economic development with its Path to Prosperity programs. This award is a testament to Spruce Root’s dedication to its residents and serves as a great example of how economic development can help transform a community for the better,” says Nathan Ohle, IEDC President and CEO. “It is IEDC’s honor and privilege to present Spruce Root with this award and recognize its leadership and innovation in the field of economic development.”

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Spruce Root’s impactful work in entrepreneurship and community development makes a profound difference in the lives of thousands of individuals across the region.

One way it does that is through its Path to Prosperity suite of services. P2P services for small businesses include one-on-one coaching, group workshops, and business planning. Spruce Root provides access to education, networking, and funding so that regenerative businesses are equipped to fulfill their potential.

Along with services for entrepreneurs, this suite of programming also supports members of the workforce interested in developing their professional skills and career path as well as individuals interested in improving their financial wellness and building wealth in Southeast Alaska. In 2022, these programs served more than 350 clients, delivering 272 hours of technical assistance, resulting in more than sixty completed business plans and unlocking $125,000 in external grant funds.

Spruce Root’s previous iteration, Haa Aani Community Development Fund, won an IEDC silver award for Business Retention and Expansion for Programs of 3 Years or More in 2015.

Every year IEDC looks specifically for economic development organizations, government entities, initiatives, and programs that have demonstrated consistent, exemplary performance in the economic development profession, leading the execution of projects that have a significant impact on revitalizing communities and playing a major role in shaping and improving the practice of economic development.

Spruce Root is a US Treasury-certified Native Community Development Financial Institution based in Southeast Alaska. The organization provides technical assistance to entrepreneurs, members of the workforce, and individuals seeking financial wellness, access to capital through loan funds for early-stage businesses, and connects individuals and organizations interested in foraging a sustainable future through the Sustainable Southeast Partnership. Together, these programs drive a regenerative economy across Southeast so communities can forge futures grounded in this uniquely Indigenous place.

Spruce Root maintains physical offices in Juneau and Sitka, but its staff works remotely and represents communities all over Southeast.

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Welcome to the June 2024 issue, which features our annual Transportation Special Section. We've paired it this year with a focus on the Pacific Northwest and Hawai'i, as Alaska has close ties to both that reach far beyond lines of transportation. Even further out past our Pacific Ocean compatriots and our Canadian neighbors to the east, Alaska's reach extends to India and Singapore. Enjoy this issue that explores many of Alaska's far-flung business dealings.
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