June 2023 Newsletter: Scholarship Time!

Your giving has helped make a difference in your community!

2023 Scholarships Awarded

Ptarmigan Arts

Leah Dunn – $1,750 – Cal Poly Humboldt State University – Visual Arts & Environmental Studies

Amber Gilbreath – $1,750 – University of Alaska Fairbanks – Visual Arts & Business

Sutton James Miller Memorial

Leah Evans – $1,000 – University of Alaska Fairbanks – Linguistics

Mary Joyce Robinette Memorial

Eryn Field – $8,000 – Jacksonville University – Marine Science & Biology

Nikki Geragotelis (Fry) Memorial 

Cecilia Fitzpatrick – $7,000 – Montana State University – Wildlife / Fisheries Biology or Management

Beluga Tale Fiction Writing

Zach Marley – $3,000 – Colorado School of Mines – Engineering Physics and Aerospace Engineering

Beluga Tail Non-Fiction Writing

Bristol Johnson – $3,000 – University of Arizona – Neuroscience

Diane Wambach “Shoot for the Stars”

Domnika Kuzmin – $1,000 – University of Alaska Anchorage – General Studies

Health Care Providers

Courtney Stage – $2,000 – University of Washington School of Medicine – Healthcare

Alana Houlihan – $2,000 – Michigan State University – Nursing
Laura Inama – $3,000 – University of Mary – Radiologic Technology

Drew Scalzi Memorial Maritime

Xander Kulhanek – $1,000 – Western Washington University – Computer Engineering

Cody Blossom – $1,000 – University of Alaska Anchorage – Pharmaceuticals
Hannah Stonorov – $1,000 – Brown University – Undeclared

Marilyn Wythe Believe in Yourself

Chloe Gall – $1,000 – University of Oregon – Computer Science

Homer Community Science

Bristol Johnson – $1,000 – University of Arizona – Neuroscience

Eryn Field – $1,000 – Jacksonville University – Marine Science and Biology
Seamus McDonough – $1,000 – Bowdoin College – Life Sciences

Fish and Wildlife

Eryn Field – $2,000 – Jacksonville University – Marine Science and Biology

Bill and Liz Johnson Teacher Education

Alyssum Veldstra – $1,000 – University of Alaska Southeast – Elementary Education

Kachemak Medical Group

Cody Blossom – $2,000 – University of Alaska Anchorage – Pharmaceuticals

Alain and Daniel Rieser

Leah Evans – $3,000 – University of Alaska Fairbanks – Linguistics

Nursing Studies

Alana Houlihan – $1,500 – Michigan State University – Nursing

Recent Grants
Pratt Museum – $5,000 Opportunity Fund Grant
Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park – $2,000 Opportunity Fund & May M. Benson Charitable Fund Grant

Pratt Museum is having its “Summer Programs at the Pratt” and has been awarded $5,000 from the Homer Foundation.

The Pratt Museum offers a variety of workshops in their outdoor spaces, both on the trails and in their botanical garden. The Pratt is offering workshops with guest instructors and will use the money to pay these instructors and provide support. The programs have already started and include nature journaling, basket weaving, cultivating wild plant workshops, a community room exhibit focusing on Pier One Theatre performances, as well as a family fun day on July 12th.This grant was funded by generous donations to the Homer Foundation’s Opportunity Fund.

Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park are receiving a grant for $2,000 for their new Kids Across the Bay program.

This program provides water taxi vouchers to lower-income families to get across the bay to hike and explore. It is attempting to bridge the gap of accessibility to the park for more of our community.

Kachemak Bay State Park includes nearly 400,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, forests, and beaches with expansive trail systems, that only a small fraction of the population can utilize due to its remote nature. FKBSP is working with 6 local partner agencies to identify applicants and award the vouchers. We love this program for reaching into a new sector of our community and sharing the great outdoors with a new generation. This grant was funded by generous donations from the May M. Benson Charitable Fund, a donor advised fund, and the Homer Foundation’s Opportunity Fund. 

Girl Scouts of Alaska, Homer Service Area – $7,000 Girl Scouts Travel Fund Grant

The Girl Scouts of Alaska have received over $7,000 from the Girl Scouts Travel Fund, a donor-advised fund managed by the Homer Foundation.

The funding will provide travel opportunities for the Scouts, including one troop traveling to Encampment, a state-wide campout full of experiential learning opportunities; recruitment and registration for elementary-aged students from Chapman, West Homer Elementary, and Paul Banks Elementary; another troop traveling to Peterson Bay for an overnight at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies field station; and another troop traveling to Kodiak.

This donor advisor finds value in these experiential learning opportunities for girls of the Southern Kenai Peninsula and we love to be able to support their passions each year close to home.

All Things Recovery – $5,000 Opportunity Fund & Fund Grant

This new coalition is working in partnership with the Kachemak Bay Recovery Connection, which was formally known as the SKP Opioid Task Force. The coalition had strategic planning in 2021 and one of the top needs brought forward by the group was having a recovery-ready community.

Many local agencies understand the importance of community support when new to sobriety and in continued recovery and have encouraged regular planning of sober events. These events have brought people together and built relationships among people who are new to sobriety and some who have more time under their belt. These events are not just for people in active addiction and/or recovery, but their friends and family, and other community members as well. The Homer Foundation is proud to support health activities for our community. This grant was funded with a grant from the Bryce Golden Memorial Fund, a donor advised fund and donations to the the Opportunity Fund.

New Fund
Homer Volunteer Fire Department Fire Investigation Training Fund

This is a new Non-Endowed Field of Interest Fund started by the Homer Volunteer Fire Department with a donation from the family of Gary Thomas.

Gary was a volunteer firefighter when he passed away in 2020 and the family wanted to honor his passions. The funds will be used to train firefighters in fire investigation and response to fires in accordance with the related NFPA standards, Local, State, and Federal requirements. Additionally, equipment to aid in fire investigation such as tools, evidence-gathering supplies, and protective clothing for investigators will be purchased.

Update from the Executive Director

Thank You Scholarship Donors and Fund Raisers

Scholarship season is when we celebrate graduates generally and scholarship recipients specifically. Our young people and their futures are always the main thing. There are many reasons donors start a scholarship. Some do it because someone they love (or loved) had  a passion about a certain profession or field. Some start scholarships because the donor wants to give back to their own field of expertise. Others do it to honor someone they love who has passed and they want to have them remembered in the community.  There are many reasons.

This year we awarded $50,000 in scholarships. That is a new high for the Foundation. We can only do this because of our amazing donors and the community. Several of our scholarships give away more than they earn in a typical year. What you don’t always see is the work that goes into fund raising for several of these 16 scholarships. Several funds hold fund raisers and/or donate themselves to increase the money available to applicants. The fund raising happens both to increase the size of the fund (so that it generates more money long term) and/or to add to the income generated to allow the scholarship to give away more in the current year. Both have the effect of creating larger, more significant scholarships for our young people.

I would list all of you by name, but I wouldn’t want to risk missing someone. So to all of the fund raisers and donors, on behalf of the Homer Foundation, the recipients and the community, thank you for making Homer Foundation scholarships an important part of our communities. 

Scholarship Program Administration

Since we started administering scholarships in 2000, the Homer Foundation has awarded 349 unique scholarships for a total of $463,000. Each year the number of applicants varies from 40 to nearly 80 applicants. Many applicants apply for multiple scholarships. The scholarship process is far and away our most labor intensive program. Our process for this starts each fall, but due to the timing of the school year and the Foundation calendar, all of these applications are reviewed in the span of about 2 weeks in late April. A few years ago we transitioned the application/review process to an online platform which as helped, but we still could not do this without our many volunteers who donate their time and effort to review so many wonderful applications and make some really difficult decisions on scholarship awards.  Thank you for all you do. Last, but certainly not least, many thanks to Executive Assistant Lauren Seaton who makes sure the scholarships are advertised, rides herd on the applicants and the committees, and coordinates all the information and payments with the various schools attended by our award recipients and so much more. In spite of the many moving pieces, she does an exceptional job making this process work, and look easy. 

Have a great summer!


PS. I hear the reds are in Seward!.