July 2021 Newsletter: 30 years of the Homer Foundation

Update from Executive Director

Thank you to our donors who attended our picnic. At just the right moment the rain stopped and the festivities began. It was wonderful to see so many faces we’ve not seen for so long. 

As was said at the picnic, the last fiscal year has been strange and wonderful at the same time. Here are a few highlights:

  • Passed $5 Million in funds.  
  • Received a major bequest gift.
  • Had the largest donation year ever (even aside from the bequest gift).
  • Started new funds: two non-endowed stewardship funds, 1 endowed donor advised fund and 1 endowed scholarship fund.  
  • Two fiscal sponsorship agreements
  • Implemented administrative fees (more about that below.)
  • Invested $257,672 in the area (pre-audit estimate) in grants and scholarships
  • Increased Quick Response grant request amount to $5,000

The purpose of the picnic is really just to connect with our donors and say how much we appreciate you. Everything we accomplished this past year is because of you.  As we start our fiscal year 2022, we are so grateful for you, our friends, partners and donors. Have a great summer, enjoy our area; go catch some fish or pick some berries! 


30th Anniversary

This month is the Homer Foundation’s 30th anniversary. What an amazing 30 years it has been! From very humble beginnings as the first community foundation in Alaska (and one of the few in the nation), we began with $75,000 in funds and have grown to over $5 million. The first year we gave out  $1,000 in grants. Last year we gave over $257,672 in grants in scholarships. In fact, as it says on our anniversary logo we have granted out over $3.6 million since we began. 

So, for this anniversary year, be on the look out for special events, fund drives and news articles. While we are certainly celebrating the successes of the last 30 years we doing more than that, we are launching into the next 30 years for our communities.

Grace Ridge Brewery

The Homer Foundation is the recipient of all tips for the month of July at Grace Ridge Brewing. Each month the owners, Don & Sherry Stead, generously donate the tip jar proceeds to an area nonprofit. This month it’s the Homer Foundation! Stop by and have a beer, leave a tip and you’ll feel good because you had a great beer and your donation will help make the community a better place! Grace Ridge Brewing is open everyday from 12-8 pm. https://www.graceridgebrewing.com/

Administrative Fees

As was mentioned above, the Board of Trustees made a major change this past year. 

After researching the ways other community foundations raise support and weighing the pros and cons, the Homer Foundation Board of Trustees voted to begin assessing administrative fees on the funds we manage. That includes endowed and non-endowed donor advised, field of interest (including scholarships) and agency funds.  Those fees range from 1-1.5%.

For new funds, this change went into effect immediately. For existing funds, we began asking all living fund donors or successor advisors to agree to an amendment to their initial donation agreement effective July 1, 2021 to bring those funds in line with the new Foundation policy.

Why did we make this change?  This is a community foundation best practice and boils down to fairness and sustainability. Here are some of the issues the Board of Trustees considered:

  • How do we compare? We surveyed similar sized community foundations in the Pacific Northwest region and found that all of them had administrative fees they used to fund operations. Before fees, the day-to-day expenses of the Homer Foundation came primarily from donations for operations. Our peers had a much lower reliance on this type of donation.
  • Diversification is strength: The pandemic demonstrated to everyone just how fragile nonprofit finances can be when centered on a single source. Through diversifying our income, we protect the Foundation. Like any business, the Foundation will be less vulnerable if it has several sources of income.
  • For good, forever: Fees provide a sustainable, predictable, and scalable income in perpetuity. Like the funds we steward, fees allow the Foundation to continue doing good forever.
  • Will the Foundation stop fund raising? No. At this point fees are only a portion of the funding we need to operate. We will continue to rely on the generosity of the community to keep doing our work. Over time, between fee income and growth of our own operational endowment (the Aquila Fund), reliance on donations for operations will decrease even further. As we grow, the Foundation will be able to redirect more fund-raising energies on proactively addressing community needs rather than inward needs like paying operating costs.
  • How did we set the fee level? Why the slight variation in the fees assessed? We looked both at the level of effort needed for each fund and what similarly sized organizations assessed for fees. For example, and agency fund fee is 1% and a scholarship fund fee is 1.5%. Administering an agency endowment has only a fraction of the effort compared to a scholarship fund which requires a lot of coordination with many stakeholders.
  • When will fees be assessed? July 1st each fund will be assessed annually on the balance of 6/30 before the next year’s ATS (money “Available to Spend” for grants and scholarships) is applied. This will be reflected in the 1st FY quarter report.
  • Will this decrease the money available to make grants? That should not be the case. We have a history of investment performance that has generally exceeded the 4% the board has set as the amount available for grants and scholarships. While markets can be up or down quarterly, the Board of Trustees will continue to set the ATS amount based on the 8-quarter rolling average.

To the vast majority of fund donors who have already signed the donation agreement addendums, we say that you for making the Foundation stronger. The Board of Trustees and the staff of the Homer Foundation are committed to using industry-best practices to build strength in the Foundation as we enhance the quality of life for the citizens of the greater Homer area now and in the future.

Recent Grants

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

Kenai Peninsula Fair Association

KPFA was awarded $1,300 for their most recent grant project, creating an ADA compliant work space for their staff. This is a great example of a project that can benefit this organization for years to come.

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

Was awarded $500 from the Kathy and Roger Herrnsteen Fund as a donor recommended grant. Our donor advisors have the ability to recommend grants from their funds to non-profit organizations with projects that interest them. CACS is looking to develop a new Wynn Nature Visitor Center.

Pier One Theatre

Was awarded $2,500 to run their Summer Youth Theatre Program. It is exciting to note that this project is returning to in-person events this summer. On with the show Pier One!

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Historically, charitable giving rises about one-third as fast as the stock market.

March 2021 Newsletter: One Year Later

Update from Executive Director

One Year Later

“In like a lion, out like a lamb” is how we like to think of March. Change and transition. Last March we were just beginning to grapple with the idea of a global pandemic. Communities were realizing the most vulnerable would need help and planning for how segments of the economy would be impacted. We also began to “social distance’ with fewer and smaller `gatherings. We started more virtual interaction, curbside shopping, and more focus on the safety in our “family bubble.” 

Thinking about the past year, I could talk about the money that was raised and distributed both by us and by others, (for which are truly humbled and grateful)  but the impacts are deeper than that.  My takeaways of the last 12 months? First, we can and will help each other when the need is there. Support systems like non-profits, foundations, churches, individuals and policy makers mobilized all sorts of needed help. Neighbors helping neighbors. People gave resources and time to help those in need.  Second, there is a fine line between being socially distanced and socially isolated. We have an innate need to connect with others regularly, in person. I’ve heard many people, who do not consider themselves overly social (myself included), comment that they look forward to visiting more. We need each other. 

Something important to remember is, with or without a pandemic, those needs are always there – whether they involve basic necessities, things which enrich our lives or just being there for each other. These are all places philanthropy makes difference. As  the Homer Foundation tagline says, “Connecting generosity to community need”. 

Thanks for being a part of that.


Welcome our First Non-endowed Fund!

Kachemak Nordic Ski Club

We want to welcome the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club (KNSC), who recently started an Agency Stewardship Fund. KNSC’s mission is to “promote Nordic skiing in the Kachemak Bay area.”  An agency stewardship fund is a non-endowed, agency specific fund. That means KNSC will have access to the entire fund if and when the time is right for them. Meanwhile, they will earn a much better return than in a bank account, money market or CD. Likewise, they don’t have to manage an investment portfolio because all Homer Foundation funds are professionally managed in Vanguard Institutional Investments.

Non-endowed funds are not just for agencies. Donor advised, field of interest and scholarship funds can all be structured as non endowed funds. 

If you want to learn more about Homer Foundation non-endowed fund options, please email info@homerfoundation.org or call the office @ 907-235-0551. You can also visit our website https://www.homerfoundation.org/establish-a-fund/

Recent Grants

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

Homer Seed Library

The Homer Seed Library (a program under the Homer Soil & Water Conservation District), hosted at the Homer Public Library, will be a free community resource for local growers, thereby contributing to the community’s local food supply and conservation and sustainable use of soil and water-related resources. The idea behind a seed library is that people in the community can “borrow” seeds, grow the plants, and then save some of the seeds to return to the library. Over time, people will return more than they borrowed and the seed library will grow. The Homer Foundation is proud to be among the first funders for this exciting new project. 

Big News at the Foundation

Welcome Nora June Seaton

Congratulations to our Executive Assistant, Lauren Seaton and her husband Rand on the birth of their first baby, Nora June on 2/28/21, 7lbs 11oz.  What a precious gift!

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

89% of American households contribute to nonprofits or religious institutions. 

April 2021 Newsletter: New Growth

Update from Executive Director

April! The month of flowers and new growth….or this year, more snow. April is also Homer City Grants season.

The Foundation has administered the City of Homer Grants Program since 2000 as a free service to the community under guidelines developed by the city and the foundation. Since 2000 over $860,000 has been awarded to local nonprofits to support the programs and services they provide to the community.

In the 2021 funding cycle a total of $31,500 was available for distribution.  This included funding from the city budget ($25,000) and earned income from the City of Homer’s ($6,145.93) and the City of Kachemak’s endowment funds ($276.06), which Kachemak City includes each year in the spirit of good neighbors. The Foundation adds a small portion to make a round number. The 2021 distribution of funds is similar to 2020, although overall amount was slightly more in 2020 due to some left over funding from the previous year.

A total of 14 applications were received and reviewed. The committee’s recommendations for the following awards were approved by the Homer Foundation Board of Trustees at their March 24th board meeting:

Organization                                              2021 Awards

Bunnell Street Gallery                                   $  1,000

Center for AK Coastal Studies                      $  1,000

Cook Inlet Keeper                                         $  1,000

Homer Community Food Pantry                    $  5,500

Homer Council on the Arts                             $  2,000

Homer Farmers Market                                  $  4,500

Homer Hockey Association                            $  2,000

Hospice of Homer                                          $  3,500

Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic          $  3,500

Kachemak Heritage Land Trust                     $  1,000

Kachemak Nordic Ski Club                            $  1,000

Kachemak Pony Club                                    $  1,000

KBBI                                                               $  3,500

SPROUT                                                        $  1,000

Total:                                                              $31,500

This year’s City of Homer Grants Committee consisted of HF Board of Directors Paul Seaton (chair), Ken Taylor, and Dave Derry, with community members Chris Brown, Cass Crandall, Janie Leask, and Chris Story.

It is a challenge to review organizations with very different missions, but all committee members agreed these nonprofits are high functioning organizations providing valuable programs and services to the community.

Along with the essential and community enriching impact these organizations have, nonprofits have a real and important impact to the local economy. Each year we take the opportunity to note some significant impacts these nonprofits have locally.

  • Total Revenue: Over $6.8 million in total revenues
  • $3.6 million in new money coming into Homer from state, federal and other foundation grants.
  • 89 full, part-time, and seasonal employees with combined personnel expenses exceeding $2.9 million.

More indirectly, many nonprofits draw people to the community who spend money here positively affecting sales tax revenue. The data from these organizations helps to illustrate what a great investment the City Grants program is and how important Homer’s nonprofit sector is as an economic driver.

The City’s continued support is more important than ever by providing important general operating dollars and demonstrating local support. Proof of local support in often an important component when leveraging additional funding from other sources. The community benefits because a strong nonprofit community makes Homer a safer, healthier, more vibrant place to live, play, and work. 



Do you know any graduating high school seniors? Did you know that the Homer Foundation is the largest local awarder of scholarships, with over $29,500 available for awards this year? And did you know that applications for our scholarships are due April 8th, 2021? For more information or to apply, click the button below. 

Recent Grants

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

Anchor Point Food Pantry

Their latest project is new signage for a box truck they were gifted. The gifting agency only asked that they change the art on the sides of the truck. The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank (shown above) gave the APFP a 14 ft. box truck because the pantry has had such an increased demand of food items and supplies.   How much more demand? October 2019, prior to the pandemic, they served approximately 240 adults and 70 children and in October 2020 they served 674 adults and 554 children the increase of children was due to a kid’s program where we provided 250 bags to the local children. 
In Dec. 2020 they served 854 adults and 427 children. 

We look forward to seeing the new look!

Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park Water Trail Committee

This organization maintains the trails available in Kachemak Bay State Park including the water trail.  FKBSP received funds to assist with rebuild and expanding the capacity of their website. The Water Trail website is an interactive tool that includes maps, descriptions, suggested itineraries, photos and
public access points in the State Park. Visitors will benefit from the improved website which will be  updated and it will become
more user friendly. This could impact thousands of visitors as they can check the website before their trip to plan their adventure. They can refer to the maps and other information while on the Bay if they are in cell phone range.  The website should be up by July. Happy paddling!

Bunnell Street Arts Center

The Bunnell Street Arts Center received funding for “Bunnell Arts on Air” in partnership with KBBI Radio. With Homer Foundation’s support monthly concerts will resume in late April/early May. Approximately twenty musicians will participate and about 10,000 Homer area residents in KBBI’s reach, from Ninilchik to Nanwalek all around Kachemak Bay will benefit from participating in this program over the airwave. Keep enriching our airwaves and our lives! 

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Religious institutions receive the most charitable contributions (33% of all donations) followed by the educational sector (13%)

May 2021 Newsletter: Spring Scholarships

Update from Executive Director

I postponed the newsletter a few days this month so I could include the names of all the amazing scholarship awardees this year. I sat in on all the selection meetings this year and heard how impressed the committees were with all the applicants. This year, with the help of donors, we were able to award $34,000 to support local young people in their future education. Thank you to all who gave to those funds. 

As of this year, the Homer Foundation’s various scholarship funds have given out nearly $370,000 in scholarships to area students helping to resource their hopes and dreams for the future.

 Below you see Gary Lyon awarding the Ptarmigan Arts Scholarship and Rachel Miller awarding the Sutton James Miller Memorial Scholarship. Both are scholarship funds on the Homer Foundation. In total we have 13 different scholarship funds, soon to be 14.   

Congratulations to all of the awardees and we wish you a successful year and a bright future.   


Halibut Cove Live Cancelled for 2021

Due to ongoing concerns and continuing uncertainties about large gatherings in light of COVID 19, for a second year we are cancelling Halibut Cove Live. As much as we all want to see you and come together for this one of a kind event, it became clear that we could not commit to the event this year. Although it saddened both us at the Foundation and our hosts at the Quiet Place Lodge, we came to this conclusion due to concerns about safety for you, volunteers and our community.

We are planning on holding this great event in 2022 and look forward to seeing you! Stay safe and have a wonderful summer. Be safe.

Fiscal Sponsorship

The Homer Foundation and Kachemak City have entered into a Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement. Kachemak City was looking to seek grants and donations for a repair project for their park. As a community foundation we can be their non profit arm collecting donations and sponsoring grants they might not otherwise be eligible for. The City gets an updated park, lower taxpayer cost, and great community involvement but without the increased administrative burden so many donations bring.  The Foundation promotes more grassroots philanthropy, connects with more of the community and collects a small fee for this service.

If you want to make a donation to the Kachemak City Playground Repair Fund, either send or drop off a check to the Homer Foundation. Please note in the memo line Kachemak Playground Fund or use the Donate Now button on our webpage and use the “My donation is for:”  drop down menu to find the “Kachemak City Playground Repair Fund” and use your credit card to donate.

Recent Grants

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

Friends of the Homer Public Library

FOHPL is bringing back summer! FOHPL was awarded $2,400 for Summer@HPL 2021 which begins on June 1 and runs through July 31st. The program includes free books, the Artist in THEIR residence series, Windsock making, Story Walk  Storytime plus more fun and educational programs. Both in person programs and and virtual interaction with award winning author and illustrator Vera Brosgol.  A great project your donations helped make possible.

Kachemak Bay Conservation Society

Was awarded $12,000  for the first phase of a multi discipline Peatland Project that was birthed in a grassroots discussion about how to put “peat on the map.”  Peatland is important to climate issues. The project involves cross -sector engagement involving over 200 community members and several partner agencies working  in such areas as: citizen science surveying & mapping, art and cultural projects, community and youth education, trail rehabilitation and land conservation.   This is a great proactive project and we look forward to more from the KBCS group.

Kachemak Bay Running Club

The $2,500 grant, will help offset expenses to send area youth (middle and high school age) to the Steens Running camp. The camp emphasizes teamwork, responsibility, determination, leadership and some amazing running!  Each 16 person team works together not just in competition, but in living and maintaining the camp day-to-day.  Previous participants have come back not only stronger athletes, but better leaders and citizens. This grant covers approximately 1/5th of the costs and participants must provide the rest. 

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Every time the Standard and Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) stock index drops 100 points, charitable giving declines by $1.85 billion

June 2021 Newsletter: A Life Becomes a Legacy

Update from Executive Director

From Dictionary.com:  legacy [leg-uh-see]

noun, plural leg·a·cies.

1. Law. a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will; a bequest.

2. anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor: the legacy of ancient Rome.

The Foundation was recently blessed with a bequest gift. Out of respect for what we now understand to be the  donor’s quiet and private life, we are not naming either the donor or the gift except to say it was the person’s entire estate. The material sum of their life was gifted to the community and will make a significant impact on Foundation grants, scholarships and operations.  We want to publicly acknowledge this generous gift and express our gratitude for the foresight and heart the donor had to care about and give back to the community. The donor’s life has been transformed into a community legacy. Thank you.

If you want to know more about making a planned gift through the Homer Foundation please feel free to contact me at mikemiller@homerfoundation.org or all 907-235-0551. You can also find out more on our web page. https://www.homerfoundation.org/planned-giving/ We can work with you or your estate planner to leave a gift to a specific agency, or a more general need you care about. You’ll feel good knowing the cause you care about will be supported.  


30th Anniversary Kick off & Annual Picnic

You are invited to join us for our annual picnic and the kick of of our 30th Anniversary Year. The event will be July 10th 1pm – 4pm at Bear Creek Winery. Food and beverages will be served.  We look forward to seeing you in person. Bear Creek Winery is located at 60203 Bear Creek Drive, Homer, AK, 99603. Parking is limited so be prepared to park at the upper parking area (just beyond the Winery) or along a side street. An email will be sent next week with more details.   

We look forward to seeing you in person. Please be prepared to practice all current guidelines regarding COVID protocols.

Fiscal Sponsorship – Homer Skate Park Revitalization

The Homer Foundation and the City of Homer have teamed up with a group of residents who are passionate about skateboarding to improve the ramps at the City skate park. The community group, known as Friends of the Homer Skatepark (FOHS) will be collecting donations and writing grants to raise $25,000 for the improvements. The Foundation will receive the donations and other funds and buy the equipment, (per the City of Homer’s approved specifications) and then donate the equipment to the City of Homer who will  build and install the half pipe features. The features are moveable to allow them to be used even if the park is ever relocated. 

The The Homer Foundation is providing fiscal sponsorship because we believe this to be a great charitable cause. We also believe the power of grassroots philanthropy can make our community a better place. This group has already raised $16,000 of its goal of $25,000. 

If you want to make a donation to the to help with this project, either send or drop off a check to the Homer Foundation. Please note in the memo line “Homer Skatepark Revitalization”  or use the Donate Now button on our webpage and use the “My donation is for:”  drop down menu to find the “Homer Skatepark Revitalization” and use your credit card to donate.

Recent Grants

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

Friends of the Homer Skatepark

This community group, operation under a Homer Foundation fiscal sponsorship, was awarded $2,500. The FOHS is a community group raising $25,000 to buy and two new portable half pipe features for the  Homer Skatepark. The skatepark, currently located at the HERC, gets a lot of use now, and use is expected to increase with updated features. It is estimated that the park will service more than 500 community users including skateboarders, roller skates/blades, bikes, scooters etc. Two thumbs up to a motivated group of parents and skaters!

Alaska World Arts Festival

Was awarded $2,500 for their 2021 event.  Actually a series of events, they bring a unique cultural perspective to our community, encouraging personal interaction through the Arts. The ultimate hope that these cultural experiences will strengthen our community and create ambassadors for tolerance and understanding diversity.

Half of the 2021 Festival events will be live in Homer and half will be online. Some will be both. Some of the Festival events will be a combination of virtual and broadcast live on KBBI Public Radio (accessible online from anywhere), and some will be virtual and shown on the big screen at the Homer Theater. In total, they hope to reach 800-900 people total at combined live events in Homer, and 500-1500 virtually. Great job using technology to enhance the arts!

City of Kachemak

The Homer Foundation has awarded the City of Kachemak a $20,000 grant to assist with a their multi phase playground improvement. As part of a $182,000 project, the grants helps with the overall goal of expanding recreations capacity in several ways. The plan includes a trail, a multi use court (tennis, pickle ball, basket ball), green space and picnic sites and adds parking and other entrances that avoid the main road. Many people park at Kachemak City  and use it as a trail head while they walk or ride bikes on the bike trail between Homer and East End (McClay Rd). The swing set area will be expanded by roughly 100% with large rocks, logs and sand pile/sledding hill added. There will be at least three more areas to bar-b-que.  The Foundation is pleased to be a major partner in reimagining a true community gathering place.

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Corporate giving in 2019 increased to $21.09 billion—a 13.4% increase from 2018.

Doing Well by Doing Good: Philanthropy as a Business Model

By: Allison Trimble Paparoa

Growing up in Anchor Point as a precocious and involved youngster, I was often the recipient of local support. Whether it was the local businesses sponsoring my run for Rodeo Queen or receiving the Elks and Realtor Scholarships as a Senior in High School, community backing was ever present. My involvement in the Equine and Agricultural Industry over the next two decades would teach me a great deal about working together and supporting the next generation. 

After I married, had children and began building Coastal Realty in Washington, it quickly became clear to me that advertising and marketing came at an incredibly high cost. Many of our clients own small businesses, run farms, or have nonprofits and I have always struggled with the idea that we would have such a large expense that would not directly touch our local businesses. Remembering my childhood, and the Have a Heart Program my parents (Coastal Realty) implemented over the years, I started holding back a percentage of each commission and combining it with our advertising budget to sponsor and support local charitable endeavors. It was hard not to invest initially in online lead generation, but I believed that building my business this way, on a grass roots level, would be meaningful and successful. 

I am proud of the fact that over the years we have said yes to everything from animal rescues, supporting the arts, domestic violence organizations and recovery nonprofits, to sponsoring horse shows, fairs and 4-H and FFA programs. We have booths at the local fairs, street fairs and events. We sponsor Realtor events that help to protect our client’s interests. If it is a worthy cause, I always try and find a way to say yes. I make sure to frame the conversation with the organization or individual that we make these contributions because the community supports our business, and it is a way that we can both market our business and support worthy causes at the same time. It is a true win-win. To me, business and philanthropy need not be separate, and as a Realtor I believe that is my duty to help build strong communities. 

In 2019 we slowly began the merging of the Washington and Alaska branches of Coastal Realty, and it has felt extremely rewarding to have been able to offer a new annual scholarship to a graduating senior from Anchor Point, to sponsor the Anchor Point Youth King Salmon Derby Champion and to sponsor the Peninsula Horseman’s Association. This summer we are excited to host the first annual Concert on the Green in Anchor Point, with all proceeds to benefit the Lisa Halverson Foundation (children and education) and the Anchor Point Food Bank. I want to give special recognition to our clients, because it truly is their loyal support and shared belief that allows us to adopt this business model. I feel grateful to be raising my children in a community where philanthropy and community involvement is commonplace. 

Allison Trimble Paparoa is a native of Anchor Point, and is the owner and managing broker for Coastal Realty

Halibut Cove Live CANCELLED 2021

See you in 2022!

Dear Friends and Supporters,
Due to ongoing concerns and continuing uncertainties about large gatherings in light of COVID 19, for a second year we are cancelling Halibut Cove Live. As much as we all want to see you and come together for this one of a kind event, it became clear that we could not commit to the event this year. Although it saddened both us at the Foundation and our hosts at the Quiet Place Lode, we came to this conclusion due to concerns about safety for you, volunteers and our community. 

We are planning on holding this great event in 2022 and look forward to seeing you! Stay safe and have a wonderful summer.

The Homer Foundation

February Newsletter: Legacy is Love


February 14th is Valentine’s Day. A day we remember that special ones we love. Spouses, children, friends can all be your Valentine. I recently met a man who loves his community and is expressing that with a legacy gift. He said to me, “The remainder of my estate will be divided  with 1/3rd to my son, 1/3 to my daughter and 1/3 to a fund at the Homer Foundation to keep supporting those non profits we support now.” Love in action.

This past year has helped a lot of people prioritize the ones they love. In this season many people are reviewing their estate plans. Whenever you review your plan, please consider doing what many others like this gentleman is doing and join our Legacy Society by making a bequest gift to the Homer Foundation. Many of your friends and neighbors have done this and tell us it is a way of paying back for all they have received from this beautiful place we get to call home. It is about giving back to our local communities.

Your gift can be narrowly focused to support a specific nonprofit or broad to support a cause you care about like youth, fighting hunger or the arts. Your legacy gift through the Homer Foundation is as unique as your  love  relationship with the community and will last forever.

Leaving a bequest gift is easier than you may think. If you’re interested in learning more about the ways to start your legacy, contact the Homer Foundation and we can provide you with the appropriate language to add to your estate documents. You can call me direct at 907-235-0551, email mikemiller@homerfoundation.org, or learn  more by clicking this link:  https://www.homerfoundation.org/homer-foundation-legacy-society/

Tell someone you love them. Don’t assume they know it.


2021 Scholarships

Are you a graduating high school senior or do you know a graduating high school senior? Now is the time to be applying for scholarships and we are happy to announce our 13 scholarship programs are now accepting applications. We have $29,500 to award in scholarships this year and can’t wait to see all the applications from our next generation moving forward. A reminder that we have a variety of scholarships with availability to students on the southern Kenai Peninsula, from Ninilchik south, including the communities across Kachemak Bay.

Recent Grants
Homer Council on the Arts

Their latest project is a professional development project for their Executive Director, Scott Bartlett, pictured here. He will be participating in the Executive Leadership Intensive, which is a 5 month program with the Foraker Group. This is an excellent opportunity for Executive Leadership in Alaska and we are happy to be investing in leadership skills for our community.

Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park

This organization maintains the trails available in Kachemak Bay State Park, mostly with volunteers and their own personal equipment or equipment that has been donated to the organization. They will receive support to purchase new tools for trail maintenance in the area. 

South Peninsula Behavioral Health Services

The grant, which was given on behalf of our Youth Advisory Committee, was used to purchase ice skate to be used for the ReAKtion Club. This group engages youth who experience emotional and behavioral difficulties in peer group activities, to build skills such as co-operation, teambuilding, peer relationship skills, coping skills, and healthy leisure skills, to name a few. 

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Data show that women are more likely to give than men. In addition, they are likely to make larger donations than men.

Pay It Forward: Pier One Then and Now

When we arrived in Homer forty years ago, Peter was sure that he had left his theatrical opportunities behind. He was delighted to discover that he was wrong – despite the lack of a permanent home, Pier One Theatre was thriving! Our first winter here Peter acted in the production of Scrooge, while I played in the pit orchestra.

Most of the shows that Pier One produces are not musicals so, since I wasn’t excited by the idea of acting, I had to learn some new skills in order to participate in the shows. I became a prompter, a set builder, a stage manager, a lighting technician, a sound board operator, a props mistress, an assistant director, and ultimately, a director. Throughout all that our kids tagged along and learned to use a screw gun, a tape measure, a saw, a paint brush; to pull curtains, hang lights, create costumes, and learn lines.

More importantly we all learned problem solving and gained self-confidence. We learned the importance of working together, the joy of creating and the pride of success. We learned the importance of being inclusive and kind, that in a community project everyone contributes and all contributions are valid. That it is necessary to respect others’ opinions and to compromise to get the job done. We also learned that it is necessary to make a commitment if you want to participate, and that it is your responsibility to follow through and do the best that you can if you want the project to succeed.

I can think of few better communities in which to raise children or to experience more fulfillment as an individual.

In January of 2020, the Pier One Theatre Board of Directors took the unprecedented step of hiring a fulltime, paid Executive Director, Jennifer Norton. We were only able to take this momentous step because we had received a legacy in 2018 from Billi Joanne Kaho who had lived in Soldotna and participated in Pier One shows in the early 70’s. Her legacy, “she always had small parts” but obviously they were very meaningful to her.

The timing of this step could not have been better, as the pandemic has been very challenging for Pier One. Our home on the Spit is too small to safely house many performers, and we can only seat 10 socially-distanced people in the audience at a time. Our secondary home, the Mariner Theatre in Homer High School, has been unavailable since last March. Luckily, Jennifer has proven to be very creative in finding ways to keep the Pier One community engaged. We have collaborated with KBBI to present radio theatre, with Kenai Peninsula College to present Second Sunday Shakespeare virtually, and with the Pratt Museum to present outdoor theatre. With a grant from the Homer Foundation, we provided packets of theatrical projects for our youth theatre campers and the Alaska State Council on the Arts provided funding for an acting workshop. Most importantly, our local community has been incredibly supportive, and our Raven’s Club membership reached a new high in 2020.

For 2021 we intend to continue with radio theatre, outdoor theatre, and youth theatre efforts while exploring other possibilities.

Pier One Theatre, as conceived and implemented by Lance and Barb Petersen, has always been a community that welcomed everyone, no matter their age, or experience, or even natural talent – believing that a willingness to learn is sufficient.

With your support we will continue to do our best to provide the community of Homer the opportunity to participate and experience community theatre.

On with the show!

Laura Norton

Laura is on the Board of Directors for Pier One Theatre, in addition to all of her other roles with the organization. When she is not working on a production, she enjoys time with her family, including her grandchildren.

January Newsletter: Turning the Page

Update from the Executive Director

Turning the page

We have turned the page on 2020. Most of us are glad to think of the last year as a memory and are already looking forward to everything the calendar brings us here in this amazing place.  Long days, migrating birds, whales, returning salmon and newly born moose calves in wild flowers, just to name a few things, all lie ahead of us in 2021. Those things will be new and fresh and will make us smile.  

Unfortunately, we are not done with a few things from 2020. Most specifically the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic impacts it has caused. Individuals are getting an extended reprieve, but nonprofits are in an anxious holding pattern. Most nonprofits rely on a combination of donations and program revenue to fund their work.  With the economy still down and relief months away, it is a tenuous time for many.  If you have the ability to help, now is a great time to support local nonprofits through the COVID 19 Response Fund.   

You can follow this link to help:  https://www.homerfoundation.org/covid-19-response-fund/

Thank you and here’s to longer days.


Thank you donors

Thank you to everyone who have donated to the Homer Foundation. We saw an outpouring of support from this community during the end of year giving season. This year, we received $85,239 from 115 donations. This is incredible and allows us to continue the work we do to improve the quality of lives for the citizens on the southern Kenai Peninsula. 


It’s that time of year again! Beginning January 1st, all Alaskans have the opportunity to apply for the PFD, as well as donate a portion of the dividend to a non-profit of your choice. Choose the Homer Foundation through the Pick.Click.Give to benefit the entire community. When you support us, you help support the more than 62 non-profit partners and students in the community through $360,686 in grants and scholarships we awarded in 2020. Give where you live. Go here for more information. 

Recent Grants

has impacted the world around you:

Homer Community Food Pantry

Through our Community Chest program, this organization has received $55,863 in support during 2020 for the Emergency Non-Food Aide program. This program is the main program for our area to support those in need, from housing assistance, to utilities, and other basic needs that are not food related. This is a huge jump in need this year, compared to the $29,891 seen in 2019. 

Kachemak Nordic Ski Club

This organization maintains more than 70 miles of ski trails in the winter, as well as Eveline State Recreation Site for summer use. They will receive support to expand the trails during the Summer 2021 season.

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

The grant will be used to support more events for the Inspiring Girls to Reach for the Stars programming. This program is a multi session STEM learning opportunity open to all girls in 5th- 8th grade and have included activity kits, sessions on illustration, live scientist discussions, night-time tidepooling and hands-on workshop with remote-operated vehicles or ROVs. 

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

The word “philanthropy” comes from Greek words that mean “love of humanity”