ACS donation to teen program featured on 'Today Show'

Ma’o Tosi, left, poses with Stacy Marshall, Alaska Communications senior retail store manager, on Monday in Anchorage. ACS presented $10,000 to Alaska PRIDE as part of NBC’s “Lend a Hand Tour.” Alaska PRIDE was featured Monday on the network’s “Today” show.

An Alaska teen group has been garnering national attention, and the donations continue to pour in.


Alaska PRIDE, an Anchorage nonprofit dedicated to teens, was featured on NBC’s “Today” show Monday. Al Roker visited the group on his first stop in this year’s “Lend a Hand” tour, which travels the country delivering donations and supplies to charities in need.

Founder Ma’o Tosi described Alaska PRIDE’s mission of youth success after high school. It uses creative outlets like music, art and athletics to teach leadership and confidence and help teens lead positive and successful adult lives.

“This has been a lot of work over a long period of time. I’m fortunate and blessed to share what we’re doing here in Alaska with the country,” said Tosi. “What we’re doing can make an impact.”

Tosi said he was very surprised to learn he would be part of the “Lend a Hand” program and even more surprised at the amount of donations that came with it. He said trucks pulled up with everything from clothes to books to recreation equipment, even kayaks and other vehicles, all from a number of donors.

It’s not yet certain how much money the nonprofit received from the visit, but it was definitely a lot. The Anchorage Daily News quoted Roker as saying $1.9 million was awarded in donations. Tosi wasn’t sure the number was exactly that high yet, but if not, he said it was sure getting there. He said donations will be coming in at least the rest of the week and wanted to wait until everything was in and divided right with other nonprofits before quoting numbers. He said other nonprofits, such as the Food Bank of Alaska, were involved.

“I can only sit back and wait like a kid on Christmas,” he said.

One sure donation came from Alaska Communications to the tune of $10,000. The donation was part of the “Lend a Hand” program.

“We got a call asking if were interested in helping out and thought ‘what a great chance to give back’,” said ACS spokeswoman Heather Cavanaugh.

“We’re really excited and honored to get a chance to help make a difference in life for youth in Alaska,” she said.

ACS will be continuing its donations by giving Alaska PRIDE an additional $1 for every follower added to Facebook at or on Twitter at
@AlaskaComm through today.

“The success of our youth affects us all. We are incredibly honored to be a part of something so special and to support such an exceptional program,” ACS Vice President of Marketing Eric Lazo said in a release. “It is humbling to see what we can do when we come together to support our community in ways that make a lasting difference. We are a company of 850 people who live in Alaska and care about Alaskans. We are committed to the community we serve and want to help create a positive future for our children.”

“I want to say thank you to Alaska Communications. I look forward to building a stronger relationship with them as we go forward,” said Tosi.

While Alaska PRIDE is an Anchorage operation, Tosi, says he would like to expand it to other Alaska areas in the future.

“We’re only in Anchorage right now but we should be representing Alaska, not just Anchorage.”

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at


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