This editorial first appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
The online system through which people can donate Alaska Permanent Fund dividend funds to charities and nonprofit groups had another successful year, but it has plenty of room for growth.
Alaskans will receive about $600 million in dividends during the next few weeks. Of that, $2.2 million will go to various organizations.
The two numbers will never be close, but they should be closer.
Setting aside a portion of the annual dividend is easy when applying online. Plenty of Alaskans are doing well enough financially to donate through the “Pick. Click. Give.” system.
About 37,000 people used the donation system this year. Alaska has more than 700,000 residents, most of whom receive dividends. Again, those two numbers will never be close, but they should be closer.
Of course, even if one missed the opportunity to donate via the online system, both the opportunity and the obligation to donate to worthy causes in Alaska remain.
The money does, too. Dividends will arrive via auto-deposit on Thursday and checks will come within the next few weeks. If they haven’t done so already, Alaskans who can should share a bit of these bonuses with good causes and less fortunate Alaskans. They’re all around us.
The annual United Way of the Tanana Valley campaign is under way, for example. (Go to www.unitedwaytv.com or call 452-7211.)
Local United Way campaigners want to raise $1.5 million for its 20 member organizations, which help with the variety of challenges that inevitably come upon families and individuals in our community.
That goal, just for the local area, is as much as the Pick. Click. Give. program collected statewide last year. Obviously, the needs in our community are much greater than the dividend donation program is addressing for the moment.
So when the dividend dollars arrive this year, see how much you can share. Do the same next year when applying for the dividend. It will make this community and Alaska a better place to live.