Charitable contributions program raises $550,000

Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Donation checks are arriving for the Legislature's new "Pick. Click. Give." campaign, and the results are in. More than 5,500 Alaskans pledged a total of about $550,000 from their 2008 Alaska Permanent Fund dividends through the online Charitable Contributions Program.

It couldn't have arrived at a better time, said Laurie Wolf of The Foraker Group, a nonprofit which supports other nonprofits throughout the state and helped coordinate the campaign.

"Because of the economic downturn, donations to many nonprofits have declined at the very time when demand for their services is up," she said. "Many Alaska families are struggling to make ends meet and are reaching out to nonprofits and charitable organizations for assistance."

For its first of three rounds, the online donation program was made possible through a collaboration between the Alaska Giving Coalition, The Foraker Group, United Way of Anchorage and the Department of Revenue PFD Division.

The Rasmuson Foundation provided a grant to pay for the first three years of administrative expenses, so every dollar donated goes directly to the designated organizations, Wolf said. Outreach is supported by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, BP Alaska, Mat-Su Health Foundation and ConocoPhillips.

"These funds are unrestricted financial contributions," Wolf said. "They can be used to support vital programming provided by Alaska's nonprofit social and human services front-line providers, arts and educational organizations, campuses of the University of Alaska and community foundations across the state."

Locally, more than 20 organizations received donations. United Way of Southeast Alaska President and CEO Brenda Hewitt expressed her gratitude to the 48 donors who gave a total of $4,200 to the United Way.

"Giving a portion of their PFD is an easy way for people to join in our mission of strengthening our communities in Southeast Alaska. I think people are grateful to live here, and this is one great way to say, 'Thank you.' I know United Way will put it to good use," Hewitt said.

Catholic Community Services will use the $3,355 it received to cover the deficit in its Hospice and Home Care of Juneau organization.

"For the first time out, we're very pleased with the results," said CCS Executive Director Rosemary Hagevig. "The money is gratefully accepted and much needed."

Also, Juneau Family Health & Birth Center, which received $1,100, will use the donation for its Strengthen Families Program, which offers free doula support to young pregnant women.

"Pick. Click. Give. is one way organizations can connect with new donors - the ones who will help them begin the long-term relationships that lead to a greater supply of unrestricted dollars, and ultimately, better chances of sustainability," Wolf said.

The program will be available again beginning Jan. 1, when Alaskans file for their 2010 dividend online. They can choose voluntary deductions from $25 up to the entire amount of their dividend. For a full list of organizations that will appear in the 2010 cycle, visit the Internet at www.pickclickgive.org/pfd.

• Contact Neighborseditor Kim Andree at kim.andree@juneauempire.com.



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