Scam affecting Homer Foundation

We have been recently contacted by various individuals alerting us to someone who is utilizing our email address while advertising housing assistance. They are offering support to individuals and asking for personal information (like drivers license and social security numbers) via social media sites. Once they have received your personal information, they discontinue communication.

The Homer Foundation does not offer support to individuals besides specific scholarships. We also do not ask for personal information unless you are applying through our scholarship management software Smarter Select.

If you are contacted by an organization saying they are the Homer Federal Grant Association/Administration asking for personal information, we recommend reporting that account immediately.

Heather Pancratz Memorial Scholarship changes the purpose: now supporting Faith Christian Preschool

The communities of the Southern Kenai Peninsula lost a valuable educator in 2017, Heather Pancratz. To keep alive her commitment to youth and community, family and friends have created the Heather Pancratz Memorial Fund, formerly to support students attending secondary education from the community in which she taught, Nikolaevsk. Heather is remembered for her belief in a loving God which flowed compassion, love, and faithful devotion to family, friends, students, and community. She was a remarkable educator with 17 years of experience in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. The Fund will continue her legacy by providing financial assistance to in-need families of early education attendees of Faith Christian Preschool.

More about Faith Christian Preschool:

We at Faith Lutheran Preschool are vessels used by God to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, namely His love, forgiveness, and salvation. Our congregation and church body emphasize education as a prime ingredient in our mission.

Faith Christian Preschool assists in providing a safe HAVEN for children and their families.

Humor and Hope- With play and laughter we build a foundation in Christ for the future.

Affection and Appreciation- Recognizing God’s love for us; we show that love to others appreciating each person’s unique God-given abilities.

Values- We strive to teach values based on God’s Biblical truth.

Exploration and Education- Together we explore the world that God created

Nuture in His Name- Feeding the mind, we seek to feed the spirit as well. In all things we gain strength and purpose from Him, for which we praise His Name.


1. Applicant must be a family residing in the Homer Foundation service area.
2. Applicants will apply through a competitive application process with the current year’s application.
3. Financial need will be a significant determinant in selecting a recommended awardee.
4. No one related to the donor, committee members, school employees, school volunteers, or the Foundation board shall be eligible for this scholarship.

The age range is established annually.

For 2023, the student needs to be in the “littles” class with the student in the 3-4 age range. 

July 2023 Newsletter: Homer Community Chest

~How your giving has helped make a difference in your community~

The Homer Community Chest

Through our community partner, the Homer Community Food Pantry, the Foundation’s “Homer Community Chest” provided $22,650 in emergency funding to support families and individuals in times of need this fiscal year (July 2022 – June 2023).

The Homer Community Food Pantry is our point of contact for emergency aid. They administer the “Emergency Non-Food Aid Program” in which candidates are interviewed and the staff at the food pantry determine the needs for families. These needs range from automotive, to temporary housing, utilities, transportation, and hygiene for families that find themselves unable to cover the costs during a certain period of time. On average, they serve 35 households a month.

They are located in the basement of Homer Community Methodist Church, 770 East End Rd.  Hours of Operation are Mondays, 9 am to 4 pm.


Sheldon Purcell Fund

Robert and Melon Purcell have established the Sheldon Purcell Fund in memory of their son. This is the second such fund the Purcell’s have founded at the Homer Foundation, and the purpose of this one is to support youth-led, youth-focused grantmaking by the Homer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC). This non-endowed, donor-advised fund will make annual matching grants to enhance the pool of money that the YAC has to work with each year in their youth-led, youth-focused decision-making process. This will effectively double the current amount of money that the YAC is able to grant annually, doubling the community impact. We look forward to a lot more youth-led community philanthropy

Ninilchik Community Fund

The Ninilchik area has come together to establish their first community fund with the Homer Foundation. Ninilchik has an active civic population and several non-profits caring for the community. Led by founding donors ARCHES Alaska and Lara McGinnis, the Ninilchik Community Fund has already met the $10,000 minimum threshold to become an active fund at the Foundation (active funds are able to begin grantmaking.) Many area residents have expressed their excitement about this new way to give back to their community. We’re excited with them and can’t wait to see how they grow!

This fund is an exciting strategic addition to the Foundation, as we seek to underscore the breadth of our service area – from Ninilchik to Nanwalek, and everywhere in between. We now have community funds established for Anchor Point, Homer, Kachemak City, and Ninilchik, and are eager to work with any other South Peninsula communities to establish your fund!

Update from the Executive Director


Every season is different. I am blessed to have 15 native oval leaf blueberry plants on my property.  Last year at this point the berries were beginning to ripen. This year they are mostly still little green buds. Apparently a little sunshine can make a difference. 

I am by nature incrementalistic. I’ve always believed that many small changes over time create a more permanent change in direction.  In the same way, relationships build trust through a sustained record of actions and accomplishments. Change can come quickly based on a shared traumatic experience, but wouldn’t it be better to avoid the trauma? 

This is our birthday month. July 1991. As we begin our 33rd year the Foundation has seen many changes, some gradual, some fast. both have strengthened us. Through these changes we have grown.

  • Our assets under management are at an all time high, over $5.7million.
  • We have been donated over $10 million.
  • We have more philanthropic funds (84)  than ever.
  • We have granted out over $5 million in to our community.

We cannot say “thank you” enough to all of our amazing donors. We have seen plenty of change, both internal and external. We’ve had sun and we’ve had rain. The rain falls on everyone as they say. At the Homer Foundation, when it does rain we break out the Grunden’s and keep growing.

Two quick internal announcements:

In recognition of her professional growth and addition of significant responsibilities in the areas of finance and programs, Executive Assistant Lauren Seaton has been promoted to the position of Office and Program Manager. Congratulations, Lauren.

Our Director of Development and Marketing, Jonathan Hamilton, will be leaving us at the end of this month. We will miss Jonathan and the energy he has brought to making the Homer Foundation better known in our service area.  Jonathan also pastors a church in Anchor Point so we wish him well as he focuses more on his pastoral and family responsibilities. We are recruiting for the position and hope to have a candidate soon.  

Have a great summer!


PS. Rain or shine, I’m always looking for a ride to China Poot!

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!.

May 2023 Newsletter: City of Homer Grants

Your giving has helped make a difference in your community!

2023 “Eggs Benefit” Fundraiser + Friendraiser Breakfast
New breakfast event off with a bang!

Many thanks to the attendees and especially the table captains who made this event a success. With your help we raised nearly $50,000 for the foundation’s work. Whether you came and donated or just learned more about the Homer Foundation, we’re grateful you joined us.

A special thank you to our anonymous $5,000 match donor! Thank you Land’s End and Wagon Wheel for your sponsorship. We’re already looking forward to 2024!

Recent Grants
Bunnell Street Arts Center – $5,000 Opportunity Fund Grant
Friends of the Homer Public Library – $4,990 Opportunity Fund Grant

Bunnell received a quick-response grant from the Homer Foundation’s Opportunity Fund this month to “support a year of artist residencies focused on health, healing, and sparking joy.”

The project was inspired by post-pandemic realities for Alaskans such as stress, depression, and loss of hope.

Bunnell notes that this program will, “cultivate artistic skill and imagination, celebrate and share the diversity of Alaska’s cultures, and promote creative play that inspires joy while also enhancing mental and/or physical health.”

The artist residencies will be from one week to one month long, and applicants will be reviewed through a competitive jury process. Bunnell is partnering with the likes of the City of Homer, Ninilchik Village Tribe, Chugachmiut, KPBSD, US Fish & Wildlife Visitors Center, and/or a local service organization such as the R.E.C. Room teen center, Haven House, South Peninsula Behavioral Health, or Kachemak Bay Conservation Society.

FHPL received a quick-response grant from the Homer Foundation’s Opportunity Fund this month to support their “Summer @HPL 2023 Reading & Learning Program” June 1 – July 29.

The program “promotes literacy and provides kids, teens, and families with exciting opportunities to engage in informal learning at the Homer Public Library.”

FHPL works hard to connect local youth to visiting mentors and experts. Participants learn new skills and also connect to the library in different and unique ways.

The national theme this year is “Find Your Voice,” and encourages families to engage in the program and express themselves.

Pier One Theatre – $5,000 Opportunity Fund Grant

Pier One received a quick-response grant from the Homer Foundation’s Opportunity Fund this month to support five summer camps for youth ages 5-17.

The program features a variety of offerings such as “Cosmic Hamlets: Shakescene, with the students delving into the works of Shakespeare; Theatre Play, the opportunity to create and explore onstage; Store on the Stage, introducing students to the elements of plot, setting, character, and dialogue; and Production and Theatre Skills with a fully staged theatrical production of Anne of Green Gables.”

Additionally, Pier One will be taking its show in the road this year by offering a Seldovia Drama Camp where students will “explore a wide variety of theatrical techniques and styles with scene study and improv exercises.”

Giving Opportunity: Bear Creek Festival

June 3rd – 1:00 – 5:00 PM

Announcing the 4th Bear Creek Winery Music Festival!

This is the largest donor-driven fundraiser for any Homer Foundation fund, and is sponsored by the Winery. 100% of all the proceeds from this event go to the Nikki Geragotelis (Fry) Memorial Scholarship Fund, and the Homer Mariner Girl’s Softball Fund–both benefiting the athletes of Homer High School.

Come enjoy live music, local food and drinks, fabulous prizes, auctions, and you get a cookie at the end (all included).

This year’s headliner is Black Water Railroad from Seward. Hope to see you all there on June 3rd at 1:00!

Get Show Details and Tickets on, the Bear Creek Winery’s Facebook page, or by contacting Bill Fry at: (907) 299-1689.

Update from the Executive Director

City of Homer Grants Program

One of the services we provide is the administration of the City of Homer Grants program. Beginning in 2001, the City of Homer and the Homer Foundation entered into an agreement to provide general operating dollars to eligible area nonprofits. The majority of the funding comes from an annual allocation within the City of Homer’s budget, as well as any additional ATS (spendable income) from the City’s field of interest fund.

To be eligible, a non profit must meet two criteria: 1) have an office in the City of Homer and provide services here; 2) Have been operating for at least three years and receiving no other support (monetary or otherwise) from the City of Homer. One other feature that differentiates this program from other grant programs at the Homer Foundation is that this program splits a preestablished pool of grant dollars. The committee, which is comprised of Homer Foundation Board members and community members, decides annually how to divide the pool of grant money.

Grant monies totaled $34,000 this year and were awarded to 13 local non-profits. We are currently featuring one each Monday on our Facebook page. This year, the Homer Foundation 2023 City of Homer Grant awards are:



Historical Awards:

Organization Total Awarded & Number of Times Awarded

Since 2001 the Homer Foundation has awarded $682,161 to area nonprofits through 228 grants given under this program. It is a difficult task to review organizations with very different missions, but all committee members have agreed that these nonprofits are high-functioning organizations providing valuable programs and services to the community.

Economic Impact 

The relatively small size of the grants belies the true impact of our nonprofit community. Each year, we take the opportunity to compile a synopsis of the economic impact of the nonprofits that have submitted applications. In 2022, these organizations generated over $7.7 million in revenues, including $3.9 million in new money coming into Homer from State, Federal, and Foundation grants. They also employ 106 full, part-time, and seasonal employees with combined personnel expenses exceeding $4 million. The data from these organizations help to illustrate just how important Homer’s nonprofit sector is as an economic driver in our economy.

These organizations are also able to leverage additional funding with City support. The community benefits because a strong nonprofit community makes Homer a safer, healthier, and more vibrant place to live, play, and work.  

We are glad to partner with the City of Homer in this program and happy to provide this service at no cost to the City. 

Congratulations to the 2023 City of Homer grant recipients. Keep up the amazing work you do.


April 2023 Newsletter: Doing Good, Forever

Recent Grants

Your giving has helped make a difference in your community!

Hospice of Homer

Hospice received a $5,000 Quick Response Grant to help with the production of educational videos that will help tell the story of Hospice to our local community for the purpose of increasing awareness and engagement.

Hospice has partnered with Affinity Films, a professional non-profit media production company, to produce five short 60-second films, and one longer film consisting of the five short clips edited together. Affinity Films has produced films for many Alaska non-profits including Girl Scouts of Alaska, Bristol Bay Native Corp., and The Arc of Anchorage.

The films produced for Hospice of Homer will depict the breadth of services Hospice of Homer has to offer and explore the value of volunteerism. Holly Dramis, Executive Director of Hospice summarizes the value of these videos well by stating, “Many people in our community think of Hospice of Homer as a support system for end-of-life. Though that’s true, it’s the smallest portion of what we do. We will use these short videos to make the community aware that we are here to support anyone who wants to borrow medical equipment: a pair of crutches for a twisted ankle or a hospital bed to ease recovery from major surgery. We are here to help anyone experiencing grief with one-on-one discussion, group support, and more. We work to connect volunteers with those who need light housekeeping and errands, transportation and company to a movie or other local event, someone to read a book aloud or shovel a walk.”

These films will help tell that story better in our local community.

North Gulf Oceanic Society

NGOS received a $4,990 Quick Response Grant to help support their 2023-24 Harbor Porpoise Research Project in Kachemak Bay and nearby waters. The Society is a small non-profit in Homer and Seward, Alaska, dedicated to whale research and education since 1984. They keep track of more than 950 killer whales in the Kenai Fjords, Prince William Sound, and the Gulf of Alaska (including Kachemak Bay and lower Cook Inlet) through Photo ID. They have nearly 40 years of long-term monitoring history, and work to demonstrate trends in population health, impacts of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, response to food availability, and changing temperatures.

This harbor porpoise project will allow them to learn more about the abundance, ecology, biology, and threats to this species, of which little is known. And since harbor porpoises are considered an important indicator species of the overall health of the ocean (a “sentinel species”), learning more about the species tends to reveal more about the health of the overall ecosystem in which they live.

This grant will help NGOS to engage select local students to join the research activities for Summer 2023, which include 24 bi-weekly harbor porpoise surveys (May-August); and it will also allow NGOS to continue weekly-to-monthly (weather dependent) survey and water sampling August 2023 through April 2024.

KBBI Public Radio

KBBI was awarded a $5,000 Quick Response Grant this month to assist with their Transmitter Solar project. KBBI is organizing funding to install a 25kw solar array at their transmitter, which they estimate will result in an annual savings of $6,000 and will ultimately replace 18% of their current electrical usage!

The total project cost is just over $100,000 and KBBI hope to cover about 2/3 of that through grants, with the other 1/3 coming through their own funds. The plan is to start the project immediately and finish no later than Fall 2023, though possibly much sooner (perhaps in time to reap electrical savings all summer!).

Update from the Executive Director

End of Life Giving, Part III (continued from March Newsletter):

Happy April in Alaska……when it can be winter and spring all at the same time. 

I’ve been talking about end of life (bequest) gifts. To recap: There is a significant transfer of wealth beginning which will take 15-20 years to unfold and will shift $30-$40 trillion dollars to the next generation. Unless something is done to steer where this wealth goes, that transfer will end the relationships the Baby Boomers generation have with the causes and organizations they cared about in life. Forever. Add to this fact that Generation X is 33% smaller than the Baby Boom generation and that will only exacerbate this future funding problem for non-profits.

We also talked about the many ways to leave a bequest gift and who those gifts may come from. You don’t have to be rich to leave an end of life gift. In fact, most people making end of life gifts aren’t rich.  Some gifts are easy, some are more complex. All of them make a difference. All of them are worth giving. 

So what’s the bottom line?

This shift will have a significant impact on fund raising for nonprofits. Because of our unique mission, community foundations have a pivotal role to play in this watershed moment.

Expertise and Information 

Community foundations provide the needed expertise in dealing with all manner of gifts. Art, precious metals, stocks, real estate, and even vehicles. We have dealt with all of the above. We have both the 10,000 foot view, and an up close understanding of community needs because of the grants we make. We are engaging daily with all types of non-profits. We hear their needs and help them succeed. We have a deep understanding of our local South Peninsula communities and the challenges they face.  

Forever Solutions for Donors

We create solutions for donors who want to support the causes or nonprofits they care about. We can create custom charitable funds – as unique as you are – for the causes you are passionate about. Love cats and music? For one donor, we created a fund for cat care and music. Love girl scouts? One donor wanted to support travel costs for girls, so we created a fund for that. Passionate about people? Another donor wanted to support all social services, so we created a broad and comprehensive fund for that.

What are you passionate about?

What gets you riled up when you think about it? What makes you sigh when you think about it? What local agency can’t you imaging your community without? We can create a fund to fulfill your philanthropic dreams. Broad or narrow, we can create the solution you want to see and manage it forever. When you give through an endowed fund at a community foundation, you life’s work can live on in your community doing good, year after year, forever.

Talk to us about your dreams.

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.