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”  

Pay it Forward: Lean In

This is our most recent article of the Pay It Forward column published monthly by the Homer News.

Recently, health educators from the REC Room joined my remote 7th grade health class to teach sexual health and substance misuse prevention. Suddenly, I found myself on the other side of Zoom, no longer the teacher trying to perform miracles through the camera. Instead, I was sitting at my desk like a student, staring blurry-eyed  into the screen.

Honestly, I was rather skeptical about the whole thing. My recent experiences teaching on Zoom had required me to reexamine every practice developed over my 20-year teaching career. I certainly didn’t hold out much hope that the REC Room educators, who are at best half my age, could successfully negotiate the complexities of remote teaching and effectively engage 7th graders in frank discussions about puberty and addiction across Zoom.

I shouldn’t have worried, and what I witnessed was transformative. Rather than seeing Zoom as an obstacle wedged between themselves and the students, Liz, Tyler, and Sierra saw an opportunity. They designed new lessons and  innovated new techniques. These vivacious and engaging health educators instantly captivated and excited my students.

One of the first things I noticed was that the teachers got right up close to their cameras. They leaned in to Zoom. Literally. Their faces filled my screen, their eyes dancing, and their smiles wide. When they leaned in, it seemed as though they were sitting right across from me. They used facial expressions and laughter to connect with the kids. They took time to connect with each individual, and the kids responded.

I rearranged my desktop as soon as the first class was over. No more hiding in the shadows, I pulled my computer closer to my chair, and I balanced a camera six inches closer to my face. Recognizing the importance of facial expressions, when that’s really all the kids can see of me, I began to smile wider and laugh more often. Now, when I’m on Zoom, I lean in, and my students respond.

All of this has me thinking about the folks in our community who have leaned in throughout this pandemic. Folks like the volunteers at the Homer and Anchor Point Food Pantries who immediately found creative ways to meet the increasing needs of local families, the trustees at the Homer Foundation who raised funds to help charitable organizations maintain operations, and the real-life angels at Share the Spirit who are determined now more than ever to bring holiday joy to our friends and neighbors.

I am inspired by people who adapt, people who seek solutions and find ways to help others. Homer has always had more than its fair share of these folks, and they’re usually volunteers. Years ago, it was volunteers who brought a new library to Homer when we’d outgrown the old one, and when the need arose, it was volunteers who built our new playground and erected an indoor recreation facility.

I hope that throughout the holiday season and the long winter months ahead Homer’s volunteer army will recognize that it’s time to lean in again. It’s time to set aside our personal and political opinions, our past practices, and old routines. It’s time to adapt, to seek solutions, to support one another.

What might it look like to “lean in” during a global pandemic? I’m honestly not sure, but I do know that hidden inside of every problem is an opportunity. We have an opportunity this winter to build a stronger, more resilient community, and our kids are counting on us to do so. It’s time for each one of us to lean in. 

Bonnie Jason

Bonnie Jason is looking forward to the day when 7th graders return to her classroom at Homer Middle School. She is a former trustee of the Homer Foundation.

December Newsletter

Update from Executive Director

A little December newsletter potpourri….

Thank you everyone who gave during the Match Campaign. We have raised the $25,000 to match our anonymous donors’ challenge. Because of them and donors like you we’re able to keep serving the community by administering the COVID Response Fund, our 15 Scholarships and our Quick Response Grants as well.

Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual Meeting webinar. For those of you who could not attend the webinar a recording of the meeting is posted on our website. We made a few tweaks to the report format presenting information with what we hope is a better flow. The report still contains stories about what we accomplished last year and data about last year’s performance. You can find a copy of this report here.

Whatever you may be celebrating this year, remember our community nonprofits in your end of year giving. Economic studies have proven over and over that when money is circulated locally your dollars have a multiplying effect. Just like when you shop local, a local donation stays local.  Your gift to a non profit in our area helps someone in our area.  So, this year we’re asking you to multiply your gift in the community by giving close to home.

If you’re not sure where your gift can do the most good, please consider a gift the Homer Foundation Opportunity Fund that meets needs all across the region.



P.S. Did you know that under the CARES Act, part of the federal government’s pandemic relief program that passed in March, individual taxpayers can take a deduction of up to $300 donations made in 2020 to a 501©(3)  non-profit when they file their tax return in the spring?  Don’t miss this one-time opportunity to give to your community and deduct the gift on your taxes.

People’s Choice Awards

Congratulations to the following organizations!

  • Haven House- nominated by Adele Person, for providing essential services to victims of domestic abuse
  • Friends of the Homer Public Library- nominated by Duffy Clarke, for supporting literacy programs
  • Homer Community Food Pantry- nominated by Jennifer Gibbins, for supporting teens experiencing homelessness

This program takes place at our annual meeting and everyone who attends the meeting is entered into a drawing for a chance to nominate their favorite local nonprofit organization for a $500 award. This year we were glad to make this program still happen during our virtual meeting and are excited to support each of these organizations!

Amazon Smile

We are a registered organization with Amazon Smile, where we receive a portion of all eligible purchases from people who choose the Homer Foundation when shopping with Amazon. If you are shopping online this season, choose for some of your purchase to support local organizations and causes through the Homer Foundation. 

If you need help setting this up on your account, you can find directions here.

Recent Grants
Homer Head Start

This organization needed new chairs in response to the increase in needs for sanitation. They are set to receive new one-piece Woodcrest chairs which are ergonomic and easy to clean.

American Cancer Society

This grant from our COVID Response Fund and will be used locally to support the 30 residents requesting services. Examples of these services include complimentary accommodations for patient travel out of state for treatment, breast cancer patient support with phone matching to survivors, and helpline for patients and caregivers.

West Homer Elementary

The grant will be used to purchase SMARTboards for all the 5th and 6th grade classrooms. The need for technology has greatly increased due to COVID-19 and our grants are supporting these needs. 

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

Americans gave over $427 billion in 2018.

Pay It Forward: Pandemic Thoughts

Last summer, while standing on the boardwalk on the Spit, an acquaintance walked by. Without a word, she handed me something flat and plastic.

I stood for a minute watching her back as she continued on her way. I held the small object in my hand and read, “Hug Raincheck, (good for as many you need. No expiration date).” Emotions welled inside as I realized how much I missed a hug in this pandemic 2020. With family around me, we chose masks, distancing, and not to hug in order to stay healthy. As social mammals, we touch. We kiss. We caress. We hug. It’s part of our DNA.

Everyone feels this deprivation of contact. Covid-19 weighs on us with little end in sight. Numbers of cases continue to spike during winter months when people spend less time outside. The world and Homer, at the end of the road, are in a community/global health crisis.

When the pandemic forced Homer and Alaska to lock down early this year, Ravn Air went bankrupt and a quiet came over this town akin to September 11 when nationwide all flights were grounded. Afraid to be in large crowds, some in a risky age, we stayed home. Family and friends brought groceries and mail. School and meetings became virtual as we met on computers and society functioned virtually!

Our beautiful location didn’t change. Our lifestyle withdrew into our homes. Blessed with trails, skiing, hiking, and beautiful Kachemak Bay, Homer managed admirably. South Peninsula Hospital shut its doors to visitors and began testing in earnest. We flattened the curve, the fishing and tourist season opened as well as a few take out eateries. We relaxed. Each Thursday morning, KBBI interviewed employees from public health, the hospital, the city, and KPBSD to keep us informed. It worked. Numbers stayed low throughout the fishing and tourist season.

Come fall, schools opened in Homer knowing that could change. An at home football game changed the progress made. The virus resurfaced with gusto. Schools closed. Large gatherings stopped. We watch and listen in hopes of maintaining our low numbers while a vaccine research continues. Governor Dunleavy announced the virus condition in Alaska an emergency last week!

Working in my garden this past summer, thoughts turned to healing. How can we heal after this virus or during this virus raging?

How can we turn this experience into a “Pay It Forward?” Free hospital testing available, Homer City and Alaska grants in addition to business accommodations have kept us going. We successfully voted in the middle of a pandemic! We’ve learned. We’re learning how to navigate life in a totally new manner for all of us. We recognize how fortunate we are to live at the end of the road. Bravo to what we’ve accomplished!

This virus has wounded families, businesses, government, society as a whole. In our wounded condition, we can be healers for one another. Changed by this virus, we can use our imaginations to see ourselves whole and our country functioning again no different than athletes use imagination in training. We can listen to each other, enter into each other’s loneliness and pain and acknowledge how difficult life has become due to an invisible virus.

In our common humanity, we are all wounded healers. Going forward we must be vigilant. Patience and understanding are essential to “Pay It Forward” as we experience Covid-19 fatigue. Masks, distancing and small gatherings are our only tools at this writing. We can offer a hug raincheck to each other knowing we are all suffering, wounded healers.

Flo Larson

Homer Foundation, trustee

This article was published in the Homer News as part of a our monthly Pay It Forward column, sponsored by the Homer Foundation, a community foundation promoting local philanthropy since 1991. To learn more please visit us @ www.homerfoundation.org and like us on Facebook.

November 2020 Newsletter

Update from the Executive Director

Being thankful.

November is the month we often talk about being thankful. Who am I to break with tradition? I’m thankful for our donors and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you. I’ve asked a number of you” Why did you get involved with a community foundation?”  I can say that there are as many reasons as there are donors. Some common reasons include:

  • “I want to know my donation is doing good in the community. The Foundation investigates and gives grants where the need exists.”
  • “The Foundation is important. Not a day goes by when someone in the area is not effected by the Foundation. I want to be part of that.”
  • “I want my donation to be a lasting gift.”

In this day of email, text messages and the “crisis of the moment” news cycle we remember a community foundation is about a long term impact. An endowed fund is managed with the goal of doing good in perpetuity. Even if the program or agency ceases to exist, the Foundation will find another agency doing similar work to continue supporting our community. 

I’m also thankful for those farsighted, community minded leaders who, 29 years ago, decided they had a long term view of the future. We build on the foundation of those generations before us. Because of their vision, coupled with the generosity of the community, we are as our mission states, “enhancing the quality of life for people” here close to home. 

Thank you for partnering with us.



Annual Meeting

We look forward to seeing you all on:

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

6:00 pm

This will be a virtual meeting on the Zoom platform. Come to our annual meeting where review our investment portfolio, hear grant reports, donor and grantee highlights, and a chance to nominate your favorite nonprofit for one of three $500 People’s Choice Awards! Click on the Register Button to get the link for the webinar. Don’t miss your chance at winning $500 for your favorite local non-profit. 

New Fund

Congratulations to our most recent donor for starting their own named donor advised fund, the Julie Booth Ulmer Memorial Fund. This fund was started by Cathie Ulmer in honor of her daughter who died as an infant. The fund will provide funding to organizations and programs helping young people (generally 23 years old or younger) in need who have shown determination to better themselves and their situation. Welcome to our family of Funds!

Community Chest Grant

We are proud to partner with the City of Homer for their generous CARES Act grant to benefit the Homer Foundation’s Community Chest Fund. Through our community partner, the Homer Community Food Pantry, the Foundation’s Homer Community Chest Fund provides emergency funding to support families and individuals in times of need. The Homer Community Food Pantry is our point of contact for emergency aid. They have a program called the Emergency Non-Food Aid in which candidates are interviewed and the staff at the food pantry determine the needs for families.

Thank you City of Homer for supporting this vital service to our community. 

Recent Grants

Kachemak Heritage Land Trust

Inspired by the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization is looking to develop a comprehensive plan to prepare for future disasters as well as to enhance their response to the current pandemic. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Homer

This grant is going to support the creation of COVID-safe activity kits to support virtual activities for the 13 matches of Bigs and Littles in the Homer area.

Homer Flex School

The grant to Homer Flex School will be used to purchase supplies for their art and social studies programs to enrich the programs available to these at-risk students. 

Philanthropy Fact of the Month

 Did you know that 77 million Americans, or 30% of the adult population volunteer with non-profit organizations?

Homer Foundation 2020 Annual Meeting

This was a virtual webinar on the Zoom platform. Thank you to everyone who attended. We do have a recording below, and due to some technical difficulties, is missing the first 5 minutes of the meeting.

October 2020 Newsletter

Update from the Executive Director

What is your dream?

I was making a video to send my oldest granddaughter explaining what her grandfather does all day (yes, I’m the grandfather of 7 wonderful little people). I could have explained that we help people give in a long term way, or that we invest donations wisely to ensure that important causes and needs are met forever. Those things are true, but a little less understandable to a ten year old than I was hoping for. Here what I said instead: “In a small way, we make people’s dreams come true.”

It may sound somewhat simplistic, but it is true. For example:

  • For students who dream of going to college, we help make that dream come true with scholarships
  • Community non profits have a dream of feeding the hungry, providing health services, protecting the environment, promoting the arts (or one of the many other missions) we fund those activities, and
  • Donors have a dream of giving back to the community in a more meaningful way, or establishing a forever memorial in honor of a lost loved one. We  work with those donors to start a  fund that provides a lasting gift .

There are of course a lot of complex parts to making those dreams come true, but when we see that donor who now knows what they love will be supported forever, or that student head off to the next phase of their life, it’s all worth it. 

Yeah, grandpa has a good job. Let’s dream together.



Match Campaign

We were gifted $25,000 for a matching gift to fund operations. With this amazing gift the donors challenged us to raise a matching $25,000 from the community because the donor cares about the mission of the Homer Foundation and wants to ensure we are here long into the future. Through this campaign, the impact of every donations for operations is doubled up to $25,000. 

Please consider helping us reach our goal through a donation today. You can make that donation here:

You may also donate by: 

  • Mail- PO Box 2600, Homer, AK 99603
  • Contact the staff at info@homerfoundation.org or 907-235-0541
  • Fill out our pledge form here to commit to pay at a later time.

We want to thank you very much for your support!

Annual Meeting

We have set the date of our annual meeting!

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

6:00 pm

This will be a virtual meeting on the Zoom platform. Come to our annual meeting where review our investment portfolio, hear grant reports, donor and grantee highlights, and a chance to nominate your favorite nonprofit for one of three $500 People’s Choice Awards! More details will come in a future email.

Recent COVID-19 Response Grants
Homer High School: Intensive Needs Program

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Intensive Needs students especially hard; with the use of cloth face coverings and social distancing, these students lost almost all of their social interactions and daily living skills in the community, not to mention most of the students have medically compromised health. This program asked for humanity shields of their staff and students. These shields will allow the students to see facial expressions as well as the staff to clearly communicate.

Anchor Point Food Pantry

Their weekly clientele has more than tripled since the Covid-19 began. They are going through massive amounts of food for  dinners and to provide some of the staples. Presently, they have about 300 households on our list, and over 100 other households that receive delivery services. They feel that if there is a need — they must fill it, if it is possible. The Anchor Point Food Pantry will buy food and supplies for making dinners; and supply each household with a small bag (appropriate for its size) of food items to assist them through the week.

Social Media

Do you want to be sure you keep up with all of the Homer Foundation news, including weekly updates on our grants, funds, and community? Then be sure to like and follow us on Facebook or Instagram today!