A new statewide fund connects donors in every Alaska community with families and organizations facing dire economic hardships from the coronavirus pandemic. The newly created fund is a partnership between The Alaska Community Foundation and United Way of Anchorage. The AK Can Do fund will get quick support to nonprofit organizations that are essential for the quality of life in Alaskan communities and families unexpectedly needing help paying rent and utilities.

Lead gifts to the fund have been made by Rasmuson Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation. Additional leading Alaska organizations that have pledged gifts to the fund include Sealaska, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, Doyon Limited, and KeyBank Foundation. Total donations from organizations and individuals already exceed $520,000. Spawn Ideas, GCI and Alaska Public Media are providing further in-kind marketing support. Other donors are covering all administrative expenses so 100% of donations go directly to providing aid. 

“In times of immense, widespread community need, it’s important that we work together,” said Greg Deal, Wells Fargo Alaska region bank president. “We’re grateful for the leadership of The Alaska Community Foundation and United Way of Anchorage as they act swiftly to care for our most vulnerable residents and business owners. We hope our support provides a measure of relief as we stand with Alaskans during this challenging situation.”

“The breadth and impact of this virus make this an unprecedented time, and collective action is our only solution,” said Jeff Roe, president and CEO of Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska. “We’re committed to working with our many partners in Alaska and in all of our communities to help us all manage this health emergency.”

“Sealaska has a unique opportunity to help our state during this unprecedented time of need,” said Matt Carle, Sealaska communications director. “As we navigate this crisis, we believe we have a responsibility to support our neighbors and partner with other organizations who are helping our communities deal with these unexpected hardships and addressing critical gaps.”

The AK Can Do COVID-19 fund was created as the call for assistance grew throughout the state. In the past three weeks, more than $175,000 in donations to United Way of Anchorage were quickly distributed to more than 100 Anchorage-area families stricken with job losses as food service, retail auto services and hospitality businesses close.

Now, through the new partnership, the AK Can Do fund will give greater opportunities to donors that want to direct swift support to neighbors and nonprofits in all 12 regions throughout the state.

Many of Alaska’s now more vulnerable families, individuals and organizations desperately need immediate financial support. While the initial funding of half a million dollars is significant, Alaska residents and businesses will be facing economic uncertainty in coming weeks and months and the need for additional support will grow. “One thing I know about Alaskans is that we are generous and look out for one another,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO. “This new fund is intended to let Alaskans do what we do best: give those of us in need a helping hand.” 

Donations can be made online at AKCanDo.org.

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