March 2023 Newsletter: End of Life Giving

Recent Grants

You helped make a difference in your community! See how your support has impacted the world around you…

Photo Credit: Long Bach Nguyen on Flickr
Civil Air Patrol – Homer

CAP was awarded a $1,577 Quick Response Grant supporting the program’s aviation/aerospace education objective involving multi-month builds of remote-controlled planes. The activities teach many engineering and technology principles, reinforce teamwork, and encourage the reaching of shared goals.

Once very active in the Homer area, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a private, non-profit humanitarian organization. The program fills a need in the community as it supports science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) goals in education. The newly reinvigorated local program already has 15 participants.  

The benefit to the community includes growing demonstrated skills in youth, as well as STEM-based education. Participants grow a deep appreciation for applied science, volunteerism, and giving back to the community while growing in confidence and leadership abilities.

This project provides participants with real hope for their futures by inspiring them to build their futures through education. It builds confidence that they can be successful in what they apply themselves to, and creates a long-term, life changing impact to many who participate.

Photo Credit: Homer OPUS
Homer OPUS

OPUS was awarded a $5,000 Quick Response grant to streamline technology and update its strategic plan. Due to great local success and rapid expansion, OPUS has a need to improve it’s website and develop a new strategic plan to guide its steps. The project includes an information management overhaul including website, database, and e-newsletters.  Additionally, because of the recent successes and attaining of goals, the strategic and development plans need to be updated to better reflect the past successes and plan for the future.  Good job OPUS!

Photo Credit: HoWL
Homer Outdoor Wilderness Leaders (HoWL)

HoWL was awarded a $2,865 Quick Response grant to increase inclusivity in programming. Funds will be used to increase participation, train staff, and offer transportation and other scholarships.  

Scholarship Season

Just a reminder that it is scholarship season at the Homer Foundation. Scholarship applications need to be completed by March 24th. Our scholarships range from $500 to $8,000. Most are available to graduates from any high school in our area from Ninilchik to Nanwalek, including homeschool graduates. Some are general in nature and others are specific for certain fields of study like healthcare, wildlife, and science to name a few. Follow this link to learn more or apply.

Photo Credit: Mike Miller

Update from the Executive Director

End of Life Giving, Part II (continued from February newsletter):

Happy March. My goodness, the days are feeling nicer almost every day.

Last month I started doing a deeper dive regarding end-of-life (bequest) giving. This month we’ll cover some additional aspects. I’m also going to show you the simplest way to leave a bequest gift. 

What can be given as a bequest gift? Basically anything you could have given in life, plus a couple of things you can’t give in life.

A bequest gift can be simple or complex. The more complex the gift, the more likely you will need some sort of estate document to guide it. Even aside from end-of-life giving, a will or a trust document are a good investment whose benefit extends far beyond charitable giving. Generally, they bring clarity to loved ones during a difficult and emotional period. They help your loved ones make sure your wishes are carried out, as well as ensure that your gift will do what you want it to do after you’re gone.

Cash, stocks, securities, and precious metals are often given as bequest gifts. Some people will leave their home or other property as a gift. Valuable art, vehicles, and other significant personal property can also be the basis of a bequest gift. In these cases the nonprofit will typically sell the property and use the proceeds of the sale as the gift.

As the giver, you can give direction about exactly what you want to happen with your gift in one of two ways. One alternative is to give detailed instruction about the gift in the will or trust. For example:

“My home is left to ABC Food Pantry and the value is to be used to buy food for hungry children.” Alternately, you can leave general instruction in the will or trust and use a “directive to beneficiary”  to the recipient detailing what you want to happen with the gift.  The will would read something like: 

“I leave all my estate to the “Better Arts Academy.”

Then, the directive to beneficiary states more specifics like:

“50% of the estate shall be used to develop new dance programs, 25% shall be used in painting programs, and the remainder shall support operations.”

The benefit of the second option is you can change the direction of the gift without opening up the will or trust documents. These are just made-up examples but you get the idea. It seems complex, but it is actually quite easy when you jump in.

A Simple Gift: Speaking of easy…You can leave a bequest gift with nothing but your signature. Really??? 

Yes, really. If you have life insurance, a bank account, or an IRA, you can designate that a nonprofit be a “Pay on Death Beneficiary.” You do this by filling out the beneficiary information on your account or policy to designate a local nonprofit be the beneficiary at your passing for all or part of the balance. Speak to your agent, broker or banker to get the right form. No need to open the will or trust and it bypasses the probate process. Easy-Peasy.

Here’s a “Pro” tip. Whether it is in a will, trust, or a pay on death beneficiary form, make sure to include the agencies name and EIN. Nonprofits frequently have similar names. The EIN is the taxpayer number for the agency. No two are the same. You can call the agency for the number or find it online at sites like GuideStar or ProPublica.  The Homer Foundation’s EIN is 92-0139183. 

With a minimal amount of leg work you can leave an amazing legacy. Don’t let the mechanics be a barrier to your giving plans.


Next month: What is the Homer Foundation’s role in the community regarding end of life giving?

February Newsletter: Planned Giving

Recent Grants

You helped make a difference in your community! See how your support has impacted the world around you:

South Peninsula Hospital Foundation

In an effort to build a broad coalition to tackle the local housing shortage, a group of organizers are working together to create a public forum intended to listen to residents and empower them to participate in solutions. Organizing members are from the City of Homer, Homer Chamber of Commerce, KPEDD, SPHF, and Resilience Coalition.

SPHF is planning on hosting a professionally-facilitated event at the end of March (Possibly March 25th) with the intention of bringing people of various backgrounds together to move forward as a community. We aim to collaboratively identify the barriers to housing solutions and break out into specific focuses to plan how to advance the needs of our area. This grant is for $1,500 to support this event.

Homer Community Food Pantry

Homer Community Food Pantry received $4,936 from the Opportunity Fund to bridge a gap in State funding  used to provide breakfast foods to our community for the next two months. Because families are prioritized in this program, students will be going to school after a nutritious start to the day and better able to focus on learning. 

New Funds
Marilyn Wythe “Believe in Yourself” Scholarship Fund

We are excited about the creation of a new scholarship fund!

Created in honor of the late Marilyn Wythe by her husband and children, the “Believe in Yourself” scholarship fund will be awarded annually to one graduating high school senior who attends school in The Homer Foundation’s service area, which includes all of the communities between Ninilchik and Nanwalek.

The award will start at $1,000 per year with the hope of increasing that in the future.

If you would like to give to the fund to help make that happen, please click the link here, then click the “Donate” button, then select “Marilyn Wythe Scholarship” from the dropdown menu.

Any students interested in applying for scholarships should click the link here.

Peony Gardens Beautification Fund

We are pleased to announce that the Peony Gardens’ Beautification Fund has been established at The Homer Foundation with an initial gift of $10,000!

Grants from this new fund will be administered by the Homer Chamber of Commerce, with the intent to continue the Peony Gardens Beautification Project in the Central Business District of Homer.

As the City of Peonies, this Fund will allow non-governmental organizations, as well as businesses located within Homer, Alaska’s Central Business District to apply for funding through the Chamber in order to create or maintain gardens of peonies.

Cook Inletkeeper “Climate in Action” Agency Endowment Fund

This fund will support community-led climate action projects within the Cook Inlet watershed, with an emphasis on the establishment of woody vegetation to meet conservation goals. The fund has been established with a generous $3,000 gift from a local resident invested in Cook Inlet watershed issues, as well as $7,250 transferred to Cook Inletkeeper from the Kenai Watershed Forum.

Focus On Planned Giving

We will soon be starting a new campaign on KBBI emphasizing planned estate gifts of any size. Listen out for our spot just prior to the morning newscast on our local public radio station every Monday through Friday!

Do you want your generosity to help meet community needs on the South Peninsula for years to come? You can do exactly that with a planned estate gift of any size to the Homer Foundation. A bequest gift is an enduring commitment to the community which ensures that the things you care about will continue here at home.

A bequest of any size can easily be made in your estate plans. We will work with you and your advisor to evaluate giving options that reflect your values and address your tax situation. Contact the Homer Foundation today to ensure your legacy for the next generation.

Update from the Executive Director

Recently, together with attorney (and HF Board member) Terri Spigelmyer, we spoke to the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club about end-of-life giving. We talked about the why, who, what, and how of this topic. This month and next, I’m going to tease out those areas a little. 

Why are we talking about this now? We are at an exceptional time in history. Baby Boomers are getting older and over the next 20 years, $30-40 Trillion dollars WILL change hands generationally (according to Forbes magazine.), more than at any other time in history.  What does that mean for our society?

Well, for one, as we get older, many people are starting to think about the causes and organizations they love and what will happen to them when they are gone. As they say, none of us are getting out of here alive. Whether it’s the arts, education, the environment, fighting hunger, or something else, people are concerned about the causes and organizations to which they have dedicated so much. They want to continue supporting what they spent a big part of their lifetime caring about. Those people are turning to end of life gifts to continue to support those things they gave to in life.  

Who is making end of life gifts? There is a misconception in some quarters that end of life gifts are a tool of  millionaires and billionaires.  Nothing could be further from the truth. While large gifts are amazing and get a lot of attention, the truth is much more marvelously mundane. The average end-of-life gift (sometimes called a “bequest” gift) is $37,000. That is the average gift, meaning about half are less than that amount.

Most donors making these gifts are people of average means. Many donors like the idea of leaving a bequest gift, and can give a larger bequest gift than they felt comfortable giving while they were alive. At this point, they don’t need the resources and can give without fear of running short. Other facts are that both women and men make bequest gifts, but women are slightly more likely to do so. And not surprisingly, about 80% of people including a bequest gift in their estate plans are over 44 years old.  

Next month: What can be given as a bequest gift? What are the the mechanics of giving a bequest gift? What is the Homer Foundation’s role in the community?


Philanthropy Fact of the Month: small gifts make a BIG difference!

Very large gifts by some of the wealthiest Americans reached a total of nearly $15 billion in 2021. Yet, these types of megagifts (defined as gifts of $450 million or more) represent only about 5% of all individual giving. 

January Newsletter: Resolutions

Recent Grants

You helped make a difference in your community! See how your support has impacted the world around you:

Homer Flex School

Given the small nature of this alternative program and limited staff expertise, they are restricted in the number of opportunities to offer students that promote personal artistic expression. For this reason, and because they recognize the importance of providing a diversity of art experiences throughout the school year, they have historically partnered with the Bunnell Street Arts Center to offer an annual Artist in the School residency. These often introduce students to new / unfamiliar mediums and allow them to create in ways that they haven’t before. This grant will support the Artists-in-Residence with Art Koeninger this school year.

Homer Council on the Arts

Homer Council on the Arts has been awarded $1,000 from our Donor Advised Fund, the Cottonwood Fund, for the Dancing through Wonderland project with Breezy Berryman. 

YAC Grant Wrap-Up

The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is an award-winning youth-to-youth philanthropy program of the Homer Foundation, and has successfully completed its second year partnering with Homer High School. Homer High School leadership and staff were very supportive of this program in their space and participants not only learned about how philanthropy addresses communities, but they also earned community service hours for participating.

Funding for this year’s YAC grants equaled last year’s all-time high of $10,000. Those funds come from a combination of the Foundation’s Opportunity Fund, other existing endowed Foundation funds, such as the Ashley Logan Fund, the Sheldon Youth to Youth Fund, the David and Mary Schroer Fund, and donors who have a passion about developing a philanthropic mind set in young people. We are deeply thankful to those donors who make the YAC grants possible.

The YAC has a strong youth voice philosophy and determines its own program goals for each grant cycle. The group decided the biggest needs in our community were for enrichment, skill-based, or active opportunities for area youth, with an additional focus on ages 10-14. When reviewing the applications, the students also reflected upon the importance of trail maintenance in the area.  

This year the following awards were recommended by the YAC:

• Homer Council on the Arts – $2,000 for Fold Arts Music Camp 2023

• Homer Trails Alliance – $2,000 for trail maintenance on Rogers Loop Trail system

• Homer Wilderness Leaders (HoWL) – $600 for adaptive climbing equipment

• Kachemak Heritage Land Trust – $2,600 for trail cameras and maintenance

• Kachemak Ski Club (Homer Rope Tow) – $2,000 for the Improved Skier Experience Project

• Ninilchik Saturday Lunch Program – $800 for new kitchen appliances and sewing equipment

Total – $10,000

Thanks to the 2023 YAC members : Lliam Boss-Harmon, Ainsley Boss-Harmon, Eryn Field, Emma Early, and Mackenzie Hansen. A special thank you to staff member, Mrs. Sarah Boss and the HHS leadership team. We look forward to more youth philanthropy at Homer High School!

City of Homer Grants Now Available

The City of Homer Grant program is now open and accepting applications until February 24th, 2023!

This program is made possible through an annual allocation from the City of Homer and annual earnings from the City of Homer endowment funds. Criteria have been established taking into consideration the City of Homer’s intent to support locally based non-profit organizations that provide services within the City of Homer.

This funding is for general operating support for organizations who provide programs and services that enhance life for the residents of the City of Homer.

This year, $34,000 is available in this competitive grants process.

If your non-profit is interested in funding, you may apply by clicking here.

We are thrilled to welcome two new members to the Legacy Society this month! The complete list of members can be found by clicking this link.

Are you interested in helping the Homer Foundation build strong, resilient communities on the southern Kenai Peninsula? A simple, flexible, and versatile way is through a gift in your estate plans, known as a charitable bequest or planned giving. Creating a philanthropic legacy does not require large income or a vast estate. All that’s required is the thoughtful intention to make a difference for generations to come. When you join the Homer Foundation Legacy Society, you become part of a community of like-minded individuals continuing the tradition of investing in the future.

Through a bequest you may direct your support to one, or many different causes that you care about in our community, ensuring that we can continue to build resilient, vital communities on the southern Kenai Peninsula for years to come.

We welcome the opportunity to work with you and your professional advisor to evaluate the giving options that help preserve your values, meet your family’s needs and address your tax considerations. Your gift can be a catalyst for change and an inspiration to others. Contact the Homer Foundation to become a Legacy Society member today.

Update From the Executive Director

We want to extend a big thank you to all those who gave at the end of 2022. Our donors raised over $40,000 for our Opportunity Fund and over $88,000 for other designated funds. We also say a special thank you to our match donors who provided leadership gifts to help make this a reality.  What a great community we have.

New Year’s resolutions are a nice way of saying, “This year I want to be better.”  The truth is that great things don’t normally just happen. More often than not, success takes intentionality, planning and dedication. If one of your goals this year is to make a difference in your community, here are some steps to help make you a better philanthropist:  

  • Discuss your overall philanthropic goals with your family members and legal or tax advisors.
  • Decide how much you can afford to give and which assets you would like to give.
  • Determine the causes/organizations that will use your donations to meet the goals you support.
  • Meet with us to discuss your plan. Ask questions, explore the different options available to you and review the documents needed to implement your plan.
  • Share the documents with your family and your professional advisors.
  • Transfer your gift to us, or consider setting up a future gift through your estate.
  • Stay connected and watch how your gift makes a difference.

Have a great 2023!


December Newsletter: End of Year Giving

Recent Grants

You helped make a difference in your community! See how your support has impacted the world around you:

Paul Banks Elementary

The Non-Fiction books within the Paul Banks Library were quite aged. To be precise, the average age was 1986. Though the students were highly interested in learning about the world around them, the information was outdated.

The other place that needed continued attention was Early Reader books. Early Reader chapter books were purchased to encourage growth in reading. Many of the new chapter books are in a series to develop the kids’ love of a story. Having books that are “Just Right” for a student’s progress is very important for literacy growth and a love of reading.

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

Center For Alaska Coastal Studies has been awarded $5,000 to add playground features to the Wynn Nature Center Facility. CACS is partnering with Tiny Trees Forest School of Homer by allowing them to provide childcare out of the Wynn Nature Center for up to 26 students. There has been a real need for more childcare options in Homer, with waitlists being the norm.

The playground equipment will include benches, crawling tunnels, a play arch, a mud kitchen, a wooden boat, and two hammocks. This equipment will be at the Wynn Nature Center and will be accessible to all community members when Tiny Trees is not open. 

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross of Alaska is focusing on the Kenai Peninsula with their Sound the Alarm project this winter. This $2,016 project will work with local officials, the school district, volunteers, and partners to install 126 smoke alarms in the communities of Anchor Point and Ninilchik.

It has been found that every day, seven people die in the U.S. from home fires, most in households that lack working smoke alarms, with low-income households and at-risk populations disproportionately killed and or injured. 

In the last year alone, the Red Cross responded to 7 home fires on the southern Kenai Peninsula, assisting 15 people with financial assistance, comfort kits, and disaster mental health services. The average cost of the financial assistance was $660 per client. This project is a preventative initiative hoping to mitigate disasters in the future. 

Chapman School

Chapman School was awarded $4,000 to develop a Maker Shop for its students. While woodshop instruction is available at times for grades 7 and 8, they are expanding the technologies and processes available for all students. The goal of the Maker Shop is to purchase four 3-D printing machines, a CnC router (cuts 3D objects from a solid block), and a new pottery kiln. 

The desired outcome of the Maker Shop is for all Chapman students to have hands-on experience with these technologies. Chapman students will be exposed to many of the concepts of design and engineering. They will learn patience, problem solving, and benefit from the sense of accomplishment that
comes from conceptualizing, designing, and executing an idea.

Chapman School is fortunate to have staff and volunteer parents with
the knowledge and enthusiasm to include these technologies with the established curriculum… these new tools won’t just
be for shop class!

We are now officially in the end of year giving season. We are so blessed to have a generous donor who will match all end of year donations to our Opportunity Fund up to $15,000!  Wow!  Any donation to the Opportunity Fund received between now and the end of December will be matched dollar for dollar up to $15,000. That means you can double the impact of your gift. The Foundation uses the Opportunity Fund  to support the areas in the community with the greatest needs. This giving season, make your gift do twice as much close to home. You’ll be glad you did!

Annual Meeting and People’s Choice

Thank you to all of those who attended our Annual Meeting

Every year, we choose three attendees to grant $500 to a local nonprofit. This year, the winners were:

  • Randy Wiest- Kachemak Ski Club
  • Karen Marks- Hospice of Homer
  • Scott Bartlett- Homer Council on the Arts

Congratulations to these outstanding organizations.

In addition to these wonderful grants, the annual report is debuted at our annual meeting. You can find a digital copy below, or contact the staff ( to request a copy if you have not received one and would like a copy for yourself.

Update from the Executive Director

We have rearranged the format of the newsletter and hope it better reflects how much we value our amazing donors and nonprofit partners in the community. 

As it is the end of the year, in this giving season we hope you will support the causes and organizations you care about. I know I always feel better when I have given back to my community and the things I care about. I can’t be everywhere, but I can support those people who are on the front lines out there “doing the stuff”. That giving is a big part of feeling like a part of the community.  

There are dedicated people out there enriching our communities, providing vital services and generally making our lives better through the work they do. You can literally support them forever with your gift to one of the below funds at the Homer Foundation:   

    • Alaska Marine Conservation Council
    • Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies
    • Homer Council on the Arts Fund
    • Pratt Museum Fund
    • Peter Larson Compassion in Action Fund (Hospice of Homer)
    • Kachemak Bay Family Planning
    • Kachemak Heritage Land Trust
    • KBBI Public Radio Endowment Fund
    • Homer Animal Friends
    • Friends of the Homer Public Library
    • Homer Community Food Pantry Fund
    • Bunnell Street Art Center
    • Mariner Fastpitch Softball Fund
    • Storyknife Writers Retreat Endowment Fund

If these don’t speak to you, we have over fifty other areas where you can make a difference. Love your community? We have funds specifically for needs in  Anchor Point, Homer, and City of Kachemak. Love youth issues? We have funds for that. Education? Music? The environment? Basic needs? Yep. We can help you find a place to give. Follow the link below and give to what moves you.

Go ahead, make a difference, and have a Happier Holidays. 


Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Data suggests that each individual in a network of people can ultimately influence dozens or even hundreds of others, with evidence of a triple multiplier effect. If you give, you may inspire three others to give as well. 

Annual Meeting

Join us:

This Wednesday

November 16th, 2022

5:30 pm

Islands & Ocean Visitor Center

Please join us this week for our Annual Meeting! The meeting features the presentation of our latest annual report, including investment performance review, highlights from our grant programs, and stories of how you, the donors, are strengthening our community.

In addition, you have a chance to win one of three different $500 People’s Choice Award mini-grants for your favorite eligible nonprofit. Each person registered by 6:00 PM will be entered for a chance at nominating an eligible nonprofit from the Southern Kenai Peninsula to receive one of these awards!

We are your community foundation, I hope to see you there.

Mike Miller

Executive Director

If you need to attend virtually, use the link below

YAC is Back!

Hey there!

Did you see the exciting news from the Homer Foundation: the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) Grant program is now live and accepting applications through November 30th, 2022? This program is accepting applications from organizations that provide programs or services to youth of the southern Kenai Peninsula. 

This year, the committee is looking to support projects or programs that support enrichment, skill-based, or active opportunities for area youth. There was a particular conversation to support trail maintenance in the area. 

For more information or to apply, find our application here.

This is a competitive grant program with a total amount of $10,000 awarded. 

Apply by November 30, 2022.

Do reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

November Newsletter: Many days to remember

Update from the Executive Director

Happy November! We have much to celebrate and be thankful for. I could talk about being thankful for family and friends. Good health. For living in such an amazing place and for having a job that helps so many. All true and good reasons be be grateful, but right now, I’m thinking about you. You, our friends and donors who are the real heroes. The ones who, through their actions, show their care for their neighbors and community. You, the philanthropists among us. Your vision and caring make all the good and charitable causes come alive in our lives. Thank you.

If you didn’t know, November 12-18 is National Community Foundation week and November 16th is “National Philanthropy Day.”

Actually if you’re looking for something to be thankful for, November has many great days to remember and be grateful for. See below.

November – Adopt a Turkey Month. For vegetarians who would rather save a turkey than eat one, this is a great holiday to share.

November 1st – 2nd – Day of the Dead. A traditional Mexican holiday, Dia De Los Muertos spans two days and ends at noon on November 2nd.

November 3rd – Cliché day. This day was made for Social Media. Get the conversation going by starting a list of worst, or best, clichés and ask your followers to add to it.

November 6th – Daylight Savings Ends, U.S.A. It never hurts to have a reminder.

November 6th – 12th – Dear Santa Letter Week. Perfect for inviting parents to bring their kids into your shop for a Santa-letter writing session.

November 8th – Election Day, U.S.A.

November 8th – STEM/STEAM Day. If you’re in the STEM or STEAM worlds or work with children or education, this day is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

November 11th – Veteran’s Day. Be thankful for those that served.

November 15th – National Recycling Day aka America Recycles Day. No matter how you say it, it’s all about taking care of our planet by reducing waste. What holiday recycling tips can you share with your readers?

November 16th – National Philanthropy Day

November 17th – Great American Smokeout. Has lung cancer or smoking affected your life or business? That might be a story worth sharing.

November 18th – Use Less Stuff Day. Do you have some tips on how to use less stuff? Or how to keep from buying stuff you don’t need? I could sure use them!

November 19th – Family Volunteer Day. When you have a small business, your employees are family. See what you can do as a team.

November 27th – Artists Sunday. Support your local artists.

November 29th – Giving Tuesday. You don’t have to be a nonprofit to take part. Partner with a local charity to help them get more today, so they can do more for your community tomorrow.

Oh yes….and have a Happy Thanksgiving on November 24th!


Join Us On Wednesday,

November 16th, 2022

5:30 pm

Islands & Ocean Visitor Center

Please join us next week for our Annual Meeting! The meeting features the presentation of our latest annual report, including investment performance review, highlights from our grant programs, and stories of how you, the donors, are strengthening our community.

In addition, you have a chance to win one of three different $500 People’s Choice Award mini-grants for your favorite eligible nonprofit. Each person registered by 6:00 PM will be entered for a chance at nominating an eligible nonprofit from the Southern Kenai Peninsula to receive one of these awards!

We are your community foundation, and we’d love to see you there.

If you need to attend electronically, we will have a hybrid meeting set up. Click the link below for the hybrid meeting:

New Fund: Northside Trails Fund

The Northside Trails Fund has recently been established at The Homer Foundation by an anonymous donor.

The Fund aims to develop and maintain sustainable, non-motorized hiking trails on the north side of Kachemak Bay, east of Anchor Point.

The grant supports efforts to make ski trails hike-able in the summer, and can also be used to support and develop programs that teach kids to be trail stewards, emphasize the importance of trails, and promote the concept of helping with trail maintenance.

End of Year Matching Campaign

We are now officially in the end of year giving season. We are so blessed to have a generous donor who will match all end of year donations to our Opportunity Fund up to $5,000!  Wow!  Any donation to the Opportunity Fund received between now and the end of December will be matched dollar for dollar up to $5,000. That means you can double the impact of your gift. The Foundation uses the Opportunity Fund  to support the areas in the community with the greatest needs. This giving season let your gift do twice as much close to home. You’ll be glad you did!

Recent Grants

You helped make a difference in your community! See how your support has impacted the world around you:

City of Seldovia- Senior Meals

We recently awarded a grant to the City of Seldovia to keep their Senior Meals program up and running this year. They wrote back:

“Big thank you to The Homer Foundation for fully funding the City of Seldovia Senior Meals grant application for $5000.00 to help extend the program through the end of the year while the City awaits a decision from the state regarding program funding.

Thanks to this generous award the Seldovia senior community will continue to receive hot and nutritious home cooked meals from the program Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Yay!!”

All we can say is, we’re thrilled that the senior community in Seldovia has such a caring bunch around them, especially at this time of year. Keep up the great work!

Kenai Peninsula Fair- Sound System

The Kenai Peninsula Fair Association facilitates commerce, educational and recreational activities that are far broader than just its annual Fair.

But the Fair’s current sound system is over 20 years old, unreliable, and inadequate. This is not merely an inconvenience, but a major liability issue in the event of an emergency that would require a Fair-wide announcement to happen quickly.

The Fair worked with a sound consultant to design a system that would meet the organization’s needs for years to come, and the Foundation provided a $10,000 grant which covered the majority of project costs.

This project won’t just benefit Fair-goers and make the Fair safe – it will be available for all events being held at the fairgrounds including: Peninsula Dog Obedience Group, FFA/4H Horsecamp, 4th of July Rodeo, Salmonfest, and so many others.

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Aggregated amounts of small gifts are the lifeblood of philanthropic campaigns. Small gifts matter.

October 2022 Newsletter: Visiting Seldovia

Update from the Executive Director

I was privileged to be able to visit the Seldovia community this month. I met with city administration leaders and Seldovia Village Tribe leadership, and we discussed community needs and local plans and efforts to improve the lives of their neighbors.  Thank you all for making me feel welcome!

Seldovia faces issues similar to each of our communities: affordable housing, food security, transportation, broadband, and child care are all important concerns. While there, I was able to present a Quick Response grant to Heli Hanson and the Seldovia Community Preschool. They provide licensed childcare for preschoolers and are co-located in the Susan B. English school building. What a great partnership and model for using community resources to meet critical community child care needs! More on that grant below. 


YAC is Back!

Homer Foundation Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is back for fall 2022. The YAC has begun meeting to formulate their grant program for this year. Each year this youth lead and youth focused program establishes their objectives for granting to youth related issues. This year the YAC will again have $10,000 to grant in the Foundation’s service area. Thank you to all of the funds which contribute to this award winning program. If you want be a part of youth focused philanthropy you can give to support the YAC Grants. please follow the link below and when asked “What is your donations for?” make sure you select “Youth Advisory Committee ” the or call the office at 907-235-0541.

Annual Meeting

Please join us at 5:30 pm on November 16th for the Homer Foundation’s Annual Meeting which will be at Islands and Oceans Visitor Center this year. In the meeting, we will unveil our annual report, share some successes of fiscal year 2022, and talk about the future. Of course, everyone who attends will be entered into a random drawing to give away one of three $500 People’s Choice grants to an area non-profit. Please join your friends and neighbors in celebrating meaningful investment in our communities!

Recent Grants
Homer Farmers Market- Homer Community Food Storage

The Homer Foundation awarded a $5,000 Quick Response Grant to create a new Homer Community Food Locker supporting everything from year-round storage capacity for local produce, to winter beehive storage.

A 2019 Homer Soil and Water Conservation District local food survey noted the #1 barrier to increased local food production is lack of cold storage in our area. A new insulated Conex – which can provide “warm” storage for winter bees, and “cold” storage for summer produce – goes a long way towards solving this problem. Dozens of local produce farmers, peony growers, and over 100 beekeepers are all partnering alongside the Farmer’s Market to make locally grown food storage a reality. Homer Foundation is proud to help!

Seldovia Community Preschool

We also awarded a $5,000 Quick Response Grant to support the Seldovia Community Preschool Student Tuition Assistance Program. This grant will assist families facing financial hardship in continuing their child’s education at the preschool. 

Seldovia Community Preschool is the only educational program for Seldovia’s children ages 3 to 5. SCP offers a curriculum that nurtures a young learner’s natural curiosity by carefully planning lessons to explore, problem solve, and to develop social, emotional and life skills.

The Tuition Assistance Program will be made available to every student in need of assistance.

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Giving by bequest in 2021 was $46.01 billion in the United States, down 7.3% from 2020

September Newsletter: Watching the News

Update from the Executive Director

I am plagued by a lifelong interest in current affairs. Since I was a young boy I read newspapers and magazines in an effort by my young, immature mind to know and understand what was happening nationally and in far-flung corners of the globe. I was not afraid of these happenings, I just ….wanted to know. As I’ve gotten older I realize that so many factors outside of our control impact us in both legitimate and contrived ways. 

So what to do about that?  Much of what we see in the news is designed to grab our attention in the moment to keep us focused on that one small component. How do we combat the urge to stay focused on the small problem in front of us rather than the greater picture? By continually reorienting ourselves on the larger goal or mission. By staying focused on your goals and by always siding with long-term success over short-term increases.

We use the mission statement of the Homer Foundation, or any organization, not only as a  measurement of success but also as a guide when making decisions. By asking “Does this seemingly important thing advance the mission?”  If not, then it maybe it should be left for someone else to do.

Our mission is:

“… to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of the greater Homer area by promoting philanthropic and charitable activities.”

That’s why even though the market may be down at the moment, we’re committed to continuing our long-term investment strategy and providing (and growing) a stable pillar of philanthropy on the southern Kenai Peninsula. It’s why we don’t try to fight every fight but stand and support the missions of our community, friends, and partners. 

What’s your mission?


Annual Picnic…Thank you to donors!

Shortly after last month’s newsletter came out we held our annual picnic. The event is open to all recent Homer Foundation donors, current and past board members. We love getting together to say thank you to this farsighted group of people. We especially want to thank Phil Morris for hosting the picnic at his home again, Ken Caster for cooking, as well as all the people who helped set up and tear it down.

Miss the Pick.Click.Give. Deadline?

If you meant to give part of your PFD this year but missed the Aug 31st deadline, no worries! If you want to be generous with your larger-than-normal PFD you can still give directly. Just follow the below link to donate today.  

Recent Grants
Homer High School Sports Cage $3,900

Homer High School applied for grant to help fund an indoor sports cage for the Homer High School gymnasium. It will serve the HHS baseball team which does not have access to a year-round batting cage of their own. This batting cage allows for setup and tear down in a matter of minutes and would also serve the softball team, little league players during open gym and clinics and other sports requiring an enclosed cage.  Batter up!

Homer Trails Alliance- $5,000

The Homer Trails Alliance (HTA) organized to advocate for trails, to coordinate safe walkability efforts with community partners, and to maintain and develop trails in the Homer area (north side of Kachemak Bay). Homer Trails Alliance volunteers have been doing some much needed repairs on The Homestead Trail.  Many of the original boardwalks are completely rotten and other areas are in desperate need of boardwalks to make hiking safer and drier. Signage has also been added which helps people navigate what can be a maze of trails! Some of the trail is through wet areas necessitating a board walk through some trail portions. 

The Alliance requested and was approved for a $5,000 grant to finish the main route to Reuben Call Bench. With the help of donated labor, The grant will fund a 250’ boardwalk three feet wide, which includes replacing a bridge over one of the major creeks.  

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Ever noticed that people who are kind have a tendency to be happier and more content?

This is because when we do something kind for someone else, we feel good – which is due to the release of dopamine and oxytocin.

Dopamine is the reward chemical that is released by the brain and makes us feel good as a result of something that we perceive as positive.

Oxytocin, responsible for emotional warmth, reduces blood pressure and promotes other cardiovascular benefits. It also reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation, thus slowing ageing.

Kindness also has obvious social benefits, making for better friendships and relationships.

August Newsletter: Halibut Cove Live- many thanks!

Update from the Executive Director

Halibut Cove Live 2022 is in the books! After a three-year break, we had a wonderful weekend of events at Quiet Place Lodge.

These two special evenings of music, food and fun have been a key support for the Homer Foundation’s grants, scholarships and operations since 2012. Saturday evening was made more meaningful thanks to a $10,000 matching donation challenge by Diane Kaplan, CEO of the Rasmuson Foundation. The crowd rose to the occasion and gave over $11,500! Wow. This means we raised $21,500 more than we had expected. We are grateful to Diane Kaplan, the Rasmuson Foundation, and all of the donors for their generous support for the match.

On Sunday evening, we had a second challenge match offered by Paul Seaton that raised an additional $2,000 for the Foundation. This provided the perfect exclamation point on an exciting weekend of giving. Again, we thank Paul and the donors who graciously gave to support local enrichment through The Homer Foundation.

Thank you to our hosts Harmon and Pauli Hall of Quiet Place Lodge, to an amazing team of community volunteers  (who helped serve, set up, tear down and more) and to the following businesses for all of the support this year:

Chef Aaron Apling-Gilman | The Grog Shop | Homer Brewing | The Saltry Restaurant | Alaska Shellfish Farms | Snow White Linen Supply | Alaska Coastal Marine

Below is a picture of yours truly and some “fabulous ” volunteers.

Thanks again to everyone.



Thank you to all those who selected the Homer Foundation as the recipient of a donation from your annual Permanent Fund Dividend. If you want to support us at any level, choose the Homer Foundation through Pick.Click.Give. until August 31st. 

Change to Grant Guidelines

As part of their annual review of policies, the Foundation Board of Trustees has made some adjustments to the Quick Response Grant policy and Community Grants Committee. If you want to review those changes you can find the on our website or just follow the link below.

Recent Grants

You have helped make a difference in your community! See how your support has impacted the world around you:

Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park

Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park are working with a local Boy Scout to complete his Eagle Scout project to build a platform for a yurt near the Diamond Creek Trailhead on the north side of Kachemak Bay State Park. This is an expansion to the available yurts in the park for public use and is going to be the first one located on the more populated side of the park. 

Pratt Museum

In January of 2022, the Pratt Museum began working with guest curator and Alaska Native artist, Anna Hoover, to organize an exhibition focused on Salmon Culture in Alaska Native communities. This exhibition aims to bring in voices of Alaska Native artists to create a collaborative exhibition (including opening event, artists panel, poetry event, online events, live radio program, community outreach to area villages, etc.) that celebrates the importance of salmon throughout Alaska. This exhibit will be located in the Pratt’s main Special Exhibits gallery space in the Pratt Museum and will open in October 2022.  We look forward this exhibit.

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Real Estate comprises over 40% of the wealth in America but Real Estate comprises less than 2.0% of charitable giving.