January 2023 Newsletter

Connecting generosity to community need.
Image courtesy of @Arctic Stills Photography.

Image courtesy of @Arctic Stills Photography.

The Homer Foundation has passed another milestone. Total assets under management at the Foundation have exceeded $6,000,000. The most important thing we can say about this is: kudos to the residents of the Southern Kenai Peninsula! Over the past thirty-two years, your community foundation has grown from a bold new idea for Alaska, to a well-established model and community resource awarding over $5,000,000 in grants and scholarships right here on the Southern Kenai Peninsula.   

Connecting generosity to community need is more than our mission, it is the passion of every volunteer, staff member and donor at the Homer Foundation. These simple words are painted across one of our office walls in beautiful burgundy letters just beneath our logo. They greet every visitor to our office and guide every conversation at our meeting table. 

Area residents are increasingly turning to the Homer Foundation as a trusted partner – from  individual donations to legacy giving and estate planning. Homer Foundation investments are professionally managed and invested in Vanguard funds and overseen by the Homer Foundation Finance Committee.

A modest percentage of earnings (typically 4% of a eight quarter average of funds) are made available for annual grantmaking while the corpus continues to grow, helping donors and the foundation sustainably meet today’s urgent needs while building for the future. As the Foundation has grown, so have the ways to give and invest with options for endowed and non-endowed funds.  We continue to steward these assets both for today’s needs and for tomorrow’s promise. 

It is a privilege to do the work that we do everyday. Thank you for believing in this bold idea for Alaska! Thank you for investing in your community’s future with the Homer Foundation. Let’s keep growing together! 

Steadfast Service

At its December meeting, the Homer Foundation Community Grants Committee recognized three outgoing committee members: Kathy Hill, Francie Roberts (pictured above) and Tom Collopy. This all-volunteer community committee has the important job of reviewing grant applications and making funding recommendations to the Homer Foundation board of directors. Francie Roberts served on the committee for seven steadfast years. Tom and Kathy served on the committee since it was founded in 1992 – an incredible thirty-one years of service. Kathy Hill shared with committee members that “It has been a privilege and honor to serve on this committee. I especially loved being able to see what organizations are doing across the community and to watch them and the Homer Foundation grow.” Thank you Kathy, Francie and Tom! To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Homer Foundation, contact Mike Miller, executive director, mmiller@homerfoundation.org, 907-235-0551.

Thank you Dave & Beth

As we kick-off 2024, we would like to extend a big thank you to Dave and Beth Schroer for their year-end $25K Opportunity Fund Matching Gift Challenge. We are excited to report that you, our donors, exceeded the challenge and set an Opportunity Fund giving record!

Your response tells us you care about your community and you value the Homer Foundation. It also tells us how much Dave and Beth are personally appreciated by people across the Southern Kenai Peninsula. Countless donors specifically mentioned Dave and Beth when making their gifts. Some were friends, some were simply inspired by the Schroer’s generous call to action. 

We thank Dave and Beth, and you our donors, for your generous support of community. The unrestricted Opportunity Fund is one of the most important funds at the Homer Foundation, making it possible for the Foundation to support urgent and sometimes larger community needs, and to create new opportunities such as the Community Cares Fund launched in the fall of 2023.   

Alaska Chess
Ninilchik Food Bank/ARCHES
Chapman School

“The impact is felt for the entire family as they play chess together and with other families.”

Chess has exploded in popularity over the last few years and Alaska Chess would like to keep the momentum going. The non-profit organization, founded in 2018, was recently awarded a Quick Response grant of $3,160 to provide chess sets and instructional programs for 70 students from Ninilchik, Anchor Point, Homer and Seldovia. “Chess instructs so many skills and brings the family together. Research repeatedly concludes that students involved in chess had higher math and reading test scores and an increased interest in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) for boys and girls,” says Andy Haas, a founding instructor, Alaska Chess.

“More on the tables of our community”

Ninilchik Food Bank/ARCHES Alaska organization was awarded a Quick Response grant in the amount of $3,800 to help establish a food pantry in Ninilchik.

ARCHES (Arts, Recreation, Conservation, Humanity, Education, and Science) was created as the steward organization for Salmonfest in 2019, ARCHES’ mission is to support worthy endeavors on the Southern Kenai Peninsula.

Grant funds will be used to update aging equipment used by food pantry volunteers including refrigerator, freezer and shelving.

“Emphasis is on learning through direct experience in the outdoors.”

Students at Chapman School in Anchor Point have been working hard in preparation for Expedition Yellowstone, a five-day curriculum-based residential program in Yellowstone National Park. In addition to tackling pre-expedition classwork, students have been fundraising for the expedition. A Quick Response grant of $5,000 from the Homer Foundation will help them meet their fundraising goal. Expedition Yellowstone is a program of the National Park Service designed to increase understanding of natural and cultural history through the lens of Yellowstone National Park. The program also helps students build teamwork and stewardship skills as they study, plan and execute their trip.

New Year…New Inspiration! Volunteer!

Looking for something fun, easy and inspiring this winter? Serving on the Homer Foundation City Grants Committee is as easy as

1-2-3 and one of the most rewarding ways to support your community:

1) Participate in a 1-hour Orientation Meeting

2) Read through grant applications (approx. 2-3 hours reading time)

3) Participate in a 2-hour Decision Meeting

It’s really that easy. In addition to being fun, it’s a great way to meet community members, learn more about what is going on in Homer and to share your voice. Don’t take our word for it, past committee members tell us it is one of the easiest and most rewarding community volunteer experiences they have had.

To learn more about the City of Homer Grants program, see City of Homer Grant Program below. **To qualify for the City of Homer grants committee, you must be a resident of Homer.**

To apply, click here. https://www.homerfoundation.org/committee-members/

Now Accepting Applications:  

City of Homer Grant Program

The City of Homer and the Homer Foundation are pleased to announce that 2024 City of Homer (COH) grant program is open.

This program provides general operating support to locally based non-profit organizations that deliver services to residents within the City of Homer and Kachemak City. Funds for the program are made possible through a generous annual allocation from the City of Homer combined with earnings from the City’s endowment fund at the Homer Foundation.

The 2024 grant program has $34,200 available to award. This is a competitive grant process open to non-profits located within Homer City limits whose core programs, activities, and services are offered within the Homer City Limits. Applications must be received by midnight on Friday, March 1, 2024. Notification letters will be mailed by March 31, 2024. For details and to apply, click here.  

It’s that time of year in Alaska! 

It that time of year again…time to recycle wrapping paper, toss out any remaining holiday cookies, maybe put on stretch-y-er pants and oh, yes, fill out your application for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). PFD applications are now open thru March 31st and we’d like to give you a new way to think about your PFD by investing in the Homer Foundation Community Cares Fund (CCF).

The CCF is great for a family, couple or individual looking for an easy way to begin or expand their legacy; and, for people who want to invest for the long-term while still helping to meet the changing and urgent needs of communities today.

You can get started today with a CCF investment of $5,000 – and even less! For the first 10 donors to the fund, just $2,500 gets your CCF rolling thanks to a generous 1:1 match from the Homer Foundation Board. From here, you can begin to build your legacy. Within the CCF family, your fund is tracked individually so you know how your legacy is growing under the professional management of The Vanguard Institutional Investment Funds and overseen by the Homer Foundation Finance Committee.

While your PFD might not get you all the way there, it could make that legacy dream a lot closer. To find out more, contact Mike Miller, executive director, today!  



Update from the Executive Director

Image: Thank you to Homer photographer Andrew Tomey for sharing
his work in this edition of the Homer Foundation eNews. To see more,
find him on Facebook and the web @Arctic Stills Photography.  

New Year….New Legacy

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I spent time outside in Wisconsin and the Kansas City area.  Along with Christmas I was there as my step daughter got engaged (congratulations Sarah and David) and in Kansas City visited with two of my children and 6 of my 7 grand children. They are the most amazing little people (ages 3-14).

Many of us have causes we donate to throughout our lifetime. We help important charities with funding missions we care about, sometimes deeply. The Foundation just came through our yearly giving campaign and had a great response from donors who believe in and support the Foundation’s mission. Thank you all so much for your generosity.  As a not-for profit leader it is always humbling to see and feel such amazing support. 

Yearly giving is an important event to all nonprofits. Legacy giving, however, is a little different. Yearly donations are the answer to the question: “how can I help today?” Legacy gifts are the answer to: “how can I help tomorrow?” and “how would I like to be remembered?”

People usually think to look at their estate documents at some milestone event. A birth, a wedding, a funeral all can prompt us to think about our lives. At the start of a new year people sometimes consider the state of their life and want to make adjustments. One of those questions can be what has been the impact of my life? A legacy gift to a cause you care about can be one part of the answer to that question.  

So how does one make a legacy gift?  It’s very easy and there are couple of ways:

  • You can leave detailed instructions in your estate documents (a will or trust.). These documents can cover all types of gift including stocks, bonds, money, real estate and all sorts of valuable personal property. 
  • For life insurances, bank accounts etc. you can designate a “pay on death beneficiary.” At the donor’s passing the funds are transferred to the beneficiary.
  • You can leave the Foundation a “directive to beneficiary” which is a description of how you want your donation used. That can be as informal as a signed note or letter. It can also take the form of a donation agreement approved by the donor and the Board of Trustees in advance which will become active as soon as it’s funded. Many donors like the surety of knowing exactly how their donation will be used.

If you want to know more about how to create your personal legacy, call, email or stop by the office.

Happy 2024!

Philanthropy Reflection of the Month

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.