April 2024 Newsletter

A message from our Board of Directors

After five years with the Homer Foundation, Executive Director, Mike Miller will retire at the end of June. The Board of Directors would like to acknowledge Mike’s significant contributions to the organization.

Denise Pitzman, Board Chair, shared “Mike’s visionary leadership has been pivotal in advancing the mission of the Homer Foundation. During his tenure, the Foundation has grown to over 100 funds with more than six-million dollars in assets. We acknowledge and honor his invaluable contributions to shaping the past five years, as well as helping to set a successful course for the future of the Homer Foundation and the communities we serve. We wish him all the best in this new chapter of his life.”  

The board has appointed an ad hoc search committee and will conduct a national search for the next Homer Foundation leader. That committee includes Board President Denise Pitzman, President Elect/Treasurer Dr Paula Martin, Past President Van Hawkins, Leadership Policy & Planning Committee Chair Liz Downing and Board Trustee Doug Baily.

A job announcement and description can be found at www.homerfoundation.org.  

Mike’s last fulltime day in the office will be June 30th. As the time approaches the Board will appoint a transition committee to plan a smooth transition and transfer of knowledge.

Thank you for your continued support of the Homer Foundation. We look forward to continuing to work with and serve the communities of the Southern Kenai Peninsula.

To our Homer Foundation Family,

Recently, I informed the Board of Directors and staff that after five years as executive director, I will be retiring this summer. It’s time. It’s the right time for me, my family and I think for the Homer Foundation too.

Over the past five years, we’ve made a good number of system upgrades, so many in fact, that at one point I was asked to not upgrade anything else for 6 months, lol. Furthermore, with generous investment by our donors, combined with the careful stewardship by our board, the Foundation’s funds have grown significantly.

The Homer Foundation is in excellent financial health, has strong governance (best board I’ve ever worked with) and a small but mighty staff team. The Foundation is ready for continued growth and will be here in perpetuity.

My last fulltime day will be June 30th. I’ve told the board I’ll continue half time through the end of summer to ensure a smooth transition if the position has not been filled by then.  

There will be time for tallying score cards and teary goodbyes later but let me say it has been my privilege to be here and more than that, it has been fun. I know I’ll enjoy spending more time with my seven grand children, (and a bit more fishing) but will miss the good work we do together and I will miss all of you.


Opportunity (Fund) Abounds!
Pratt Museum

“Looking forward, HoWL is trying to diversify the activities and expeditions we offer in order to appeal to a wider group of youth and to provide new challenges for returning HoWLers.”

“The goal of these programs is to inspire a deeper interest in engaging with the natural and social environment in ways that reflect the artist, historian and citizen scientist within each of us.”

Homer Outdoor Wilderness Leaders (HoWL) has been awarded a $4,224 grant from the Homer Foundation Opportunity Fund and the Daisy Lee Bitter Marine and Coastal Education Fund. HoWL’s mission is to empower young leaders through outdoor experiential education by providing fun and dynamic adventures in Alaska. On expeditions, HoWL participants can engage in a variety of activities such as rock-climbing, backpacking, kayaking and exploration. Based on feedback from program participants, the grant will support HoWL’s efforts to expand program offerings by providing more advanced expeditions for experienced youth “HoWLers” who are aging out of current programs.

The Pratt museum has received a $5,000 Homer Foundation Opportunity Fund grant in support of History + Nature Come Alive! Public Programs at the Pratt. Building on previous seasons of high-quality art, culture and science based educational programming, offerings will include workshops for all ages in nature journaling, foraging for wild foods, basket art weaving, fungi identification and sketching led by Homer area instructors such as Mavis Muller, Kim McNett, and Carla Klinker Cope. Additionally, the grant will support a summer student intern position who will work alongside museum staff to to create an  Historic Walking Tour along Pioneer Avenue that explores the rich and engaging story of Homer’s growth and adaptations.

Anchor Point Public Library
Pier One Theatre

“We have patrons from Homer to Ninilchik that regularly make use of our library.”

“Our mentorship program provides opportunities for teens to explore technical theatre, as well as stage management & directing as they work alongside experienced thespians.”

Opened in 1959, the Anchor Point Library is an essential resource for the approximately 2,000 people who live in the Anchor Point area. In addition to providing access to books and other reading materials,the library provides patrons access to computers and the internet. A recent Homer Foundation Opportunity Fund grant helped the library purchase new computer equipment; and now, a complimentary$4,900 Opportunity Fund grant has helped the library purchase a new printer. Not only will the printer be used by library staff, it will be available to library patrons, supporting needs such as faxing, scanning and printing that are not otherwise readily available in the community.

Youth theatre instruction is an integral aspect of Pier One Theatre’s mission. A $5,000 grant from the Homer Foundation Opportunity Fund will help support summer camp intensives for students ages 5 to 17, and technical theatre mentorships throughout the mainstage season. Pier One embraces the philosophy that hands-on, open-ended practice allows students to gain social skills and learn about responsibility, self-reliance, cooperation, and empathy; and that theatre activities engage their bodies & minds as they stretch toward creative goals.

New Partners

In Memory of Linda Kay Gjosund

Rotary Exchange Student Fund

The Homer Foundation is a catalyst for giving that strengthens communities in the Southern Kenai Peninsula area.

With generous investment from donors at all levels, and careful stewardship by our board, we invest in local organizations and area youth to help make our communities healthier, stronger now and in perpetuity.

Some donors choose to give to an established fund. Others chose to start their own fund. Others still, do a combination of investments.

At the Homer Foundation, your goals are our goals.

To find out more, contact:

Mike Miller, executive director 907-235-0551 mmiller@homerfoundation.org.

The Homer Foundation Healthcare Providers Fund has received a $10,000 donation from Louie Gjosund in memory of his wife, Linda Kay Gjosund.

Linda and Louie married just before he joined the Navy, and they were joyfully married for 50 years. Eventually the couple moved to Alaska, where Linda worked as the secretary for Paul Banks School, legislative aide for a state representative in Juneau and as president of the Center Mental Health Clinic in Homer.

Later in life, Linda experienced multiple medical issues and spent extended time in healthcare facilities. Their experience in the healthcare system inspired them to want to support the dedicated staff they worked with. In memory of Linda, Louie donated to the Healthcare Providers Scholarship Fund to help support students entering the healthcare field.

Homer resident Boyd Walker has been an active Rotarian for years, with a particular interest in supporting Rotary exchange students.

With a $10,000 gift, he recently established the Homer Foundation Rotary Exchange Student Fund to help support 5010 Rotary District Youth Exchange Students who are economically challenged.

Boyd shared with the Foundation the transformative power of a Rotary exchange student, both for the student and the communities that host them. Rotary exchange students come from all corners of the world, and all walks of life. Some arrive with more resources than others. The new fund will help provide financial assistance for eligible expenses.  

City of Homer Grants

Since 2000, the Homer Foundation has administered the City of Homer Grants Program, awarding  over $960,719 to Homer nonprofits in support of the programs and services they provide to the community.

This year, we are pleased to share that a total of $34,170 was was awarded to 13 organizations.  

As we celebrate our grant recipients, we also acknowledge the contributions they make to the fabric of our community. In 2023 alone, these organizations generated over $7.1 million in revenues, including $3.6 million in new money coming into Homer from State, Federal, and Foundation grants. They also employ 100 full, part-time, and seasonal employees with combined personnel expenses exceeding $4.1 million. The data from these organizations helps to illustrate just how important Homer’s nonprofit sector is as an economic driver in our economy.

Please join us in congratulating our grantees:

Bunnell Street Art Gallery, $1,000

Center for AK Coastal Studies, $3,000

Cook Inlet Keeper, $1,000

Homer Animal Friends, $1,500

Homer Community Food Pantry, $4,170

Homer Council on the Arts, $4,000

Homer Farmers Market, $1,500

Homer Hockey Association, $3,000

Homer OPUS, $3,000

Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, $4,500

Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, $1,000

KBBI, $ 3,500

SPROUT, $3,000

The Homer Foundation thanks the City of Homer for our continued partnership in support for Homer’s vital, and economically important nonprofit community.

Mission Moment: Alaska Warrior Partnership

With support from the Homer Foundation Opportunity Fund, the Alaska Warrior Partnership (AWP) recently hosted the second in a series of quarterly gatherings in Homer. The purpose of the gatherings is to bring relevant service providers and community leaders together to increase awareness and understanding of resources for area veterans and to build results oriented connections.Convenings focus on eight quality of life areas including housing, employment, strong relationships, spirituality/purpose, education, access to earned benefits, access to healthcare, and participation in recreational activities. To find out more, contact Program Lead, Jesse Lakin, jlakin@alaskawarriorpartnership.org.

Grants like these are made possible thanks to generous donors like you!



Part of the Homer Foundation Family of Funds