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Recognizing the impact of community foundations

ACF participates in national effort to highlight local impact of philanthropy

Posted: November 14, 2012 - 12:03am

This week, the Alaska Community Foundation will join more than 700 community foundations across the United States for National Community Foundation Week to tell the stories of lives changed, jobs created and communities transformed through philanthropy’s partnership with private and public community leaders and organizations.

In celebration, throu-ghout the week, ACF will be using social media to share stories from donors, grants, staff and board members.

“We work every day to help address the most pressing issues facing our communities, including education, hunger, health and arts and culture. Community foundations impact lives, solve problems, and improve futures,” said Candace Winkler, president and chief executive officer of ACF. “In a down economy, with limited resources and a growing demand for services to help families in need, we are more determined than ever to bring our communities together to find innovative and effective solutions to challenging social problems across the state of Alaska now and into the future.”

Community foundations are independent, public entities that steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits that are the heart of strong, vibrant communities.

For example, ACF most recently has launched statewide programs to cultivate capacity for nonprofit organizations, assist childcare centers and programs in replacing unsafe cribs, support individual Alaskan students who are the first in their family to attend college, and help community efforts to prevent teen suicide across the state.

Community foundations represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy. Every state in the United States is home to at least one community foundation — large and small, urban and rural — that is advancing solutions to a wide range of social issues.

The 2011 Columbus Survey ( found that despite the recession, giving by the nation’s 100 largest community foundations actually increased slightly in 2010 to $3.7 billion and exceeded prerecession levels seen in 2006 and 2007.

Launched in 1989 through a proclamation by President George H.W. Bush, the first Community Foundation Week included a congressional briefing about the work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative approach to working with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to address community problems.

Established in 1995, ACF is a statewide platform for philanthropy. It currently holds over $55 million for the benefit of Alaskans, granting approximately $5 million each year to charitable projects and nonprofit organizations across the state. It is comprised of more than 280 funds and endowments, including five affiliate community funds, the Alaska Children’s Trust and many others.

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