Foundation grows donations, recognizes philanthropists

Posted: Thursday, November 04, 2010

There are many ways people can give back to a community and the Juneau Community Foundation has recognized a business and resident for their philanthropy.

The Foundation announced winners of the awards Wednesday night at their second annual banquet. Nominees for the award were chosen on criteria that they help create and maintain long-term funds and inspire others to give back to Juneau.

The Juneau Emergency Medical Associates, a partnership of physicians, received the 2009 award for business philanthropists of the year. They include Jim Thompson, Allen McPherson, Ken Brown and Aric Ludwig.

"We really appreciate the award and hope this will jump start the rest of the medical community to donate their time and hopefully their money," Thompson said. "We appreciate being able to live and work in Juneau and we just want to give back a little bit."

Thompson is starting an advisory group to create a long-term scholarship fund for Juneau residents to get training in the medical field to help deal with the medical professional shortage. The group also has helped build an endowment giving about a quarter of a million dollars.

The philanthropist of the year went to Peter Jurasz, who is on the Foundation's board of directors, created an endowment fund and is the ongoing adviser for the high school philanthropy group Youth Action Committee. Grant funds raised have been spent on youth issues including suicide prevention, at-risk programs and gun safety.

"The YAC committee is a phenomenal group of students," Jurasz said. "Here's the thing that's amazing - there are 12 students this year. There are six students on the waiting list. It sends shivers up my spine."

Candace Winkler, new director of the Alaska Community Foundation, said she had high regards for the progress the Juneau foundation has made and values community foundations.

"From what I have seen so far, community foundations are really very special things," she said. "They really are powerful in the amount of community impact that you can achieve. I think in this time, where we're seeing more and more need, I think in many ways the role of government is changing. Volunteering and philanthropy in general are taking on a whole new role. We need to be a lot more flexible, a lot more efficient in our needs."

Winkler said the Alaska Community Foundation grants about $6.5 million throughout the state and looks to foundations like Juneau for direction.

Sioux Douglas, Juneau Community Foundation vice president, said the group now has 34 funds and $1.6 million in assets that will help Juneau's future. The vision she has for the foundation is to be a vehicle for those who have concerns for the city.

"This should be an arena for addressing difficult issues and advocating for services or policies," Douglas said. "I hope we can be looked at when there's important stuff for people to talk about."

For more information on the Juneau Community Foundation go to www.juneaucf.org.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@ juneauempire.com.



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