June 7, 2012 | Volume 42, No.23

Rasmuson Foundation: Grants on increase

When the crisis in the U.S. finance industry occurred in 2008, officials with the philanthropic Rasmuson Foundation told potential recipients they might want to back off their requests for giving.

“Our message now is that you can be back on,” foundation president Diane Kaplan told a crowd, including officials with the Haines Borough and non-profit groups, at a meeting May 25 at the public library.

The foundation distributed $14 million statewide last year, but that will increase to $20 million in 2012, Kaplan said. It holds a $500 million endowment.

Kaplan’s presentation followed a workshop about Rasmuson’s “Tier 1” grants, attended by about 25 residents. Non-profits, tribes and local governments are eligible for the grants, which can be used for capital funding, technology, creative ventures, capacity building and program expansion.

Ninety such grants were awarded last year, averaging $17,780 each. Sixty percent of the money went to communities outside Anchorage.

Rasmuson has made $1.5 million in grants in Haines, including 56 separate awards. Statewide, the foundation has awarded $157 million since 2004.

A half-dozen officials with the foundation toured the Klukwan health clinic and reviewed plans for a cultural center and museum there. They also visited the Haines Assisted Living home and Main Street’s Hammer Museum.

Rasmuson has given seven grants totaling nearly $380,000 to the Haines public library, including for construction and interior art, between 2000 and 2010. The foundation has a special attachment to Haines and “clearly this library played a huge part in that,” Kaplan said.

Library board member Heather Lende said Rasmuson not only has made continuous grants to the facility but also has directed library board members to other foundations and funding sources. “The Rasmusons are one of our big supporters.”