Pick.Click. and Give Where You Live

With a new year upon us, we mark a new season of Pick.Click.Give., the charitable check off program that allows all Alaska Permanent Fund filers to give back to causes that they care most about. It is hard to find an easier way to pay it forward. Pick.Click.Give. also provides an unprecedented opportunity to raise the level of awareness throughout Alaska about the power of individual giving, to increase the number of new donors, and to expand giving options for existing donors.

Over 171 deserving nonprofits qualify for the Pick.Click.Give. program statewide. This year I would like to encourage you to consider giving where you live by narrowing your focus to the nonprofit organizations that work to make our communities here on the southern Kenai Peninsula stronger, healthier, more livable.

A quick search of organizations on the Pick.Click.Give.org website indicates over two dozen organizations serving our area. Whether you feel most strongly about Arts & Culture (Anchor Point Library, Bunnell Street Arts Center, Friends of the Homer Public Library, Homer Council on the Arts, KBBI Public Radio, Kenai Peninsula Orchestra, Ninilchik Community Library, Pratt Museum, Seldovia Public Library), Education (University of Alaska, Kachemak Bay Branch), Health & Social Services (Big Brothers Big Sisters, Haven House, Homer Food Pantry, Homer Senior Citizens, Hospice of Homer, Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, Ninilchik Emergency Services, Ninilchik Senior Center, South Peninsula Hospital Foundation), Conservation & Environment (Alaska Marine Conservation Council, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, Cook Inletkeeper, Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park, Kachemak Heritage Land Trust), Animal Welfare (Homer Animal Friends, Sports & Recreation (Homer Hockey Association, HoWL), or Community Philanthropy (Homer Foundation), you will find an organization whose mission aligns with your interests. Or perhaps you have several interests you would like to support? The Pick.Click.Give. program makes it easy to give a little or give a lot to one, or to many, organizations.

As an executive director of one of the qualifying nonprofits I am so gratified to see the names of individuals who have chosen to share their PFD with us each year, and even more so when I recognize that some are using Pick.Click.Give. as a way to introduce their children to the idea of paying it forward. After nine years of the program I have seen some of those children grown and off to college, now choosing to give to the community that gave so much to them.

If you have not filed for your PFD and supported your favorite local nonprofit through Pick.Click.Give. you have until March 31st to do so. If you have already filed you can still add to or change your Pick.Click.Give. selections through August 31st.

The Pick.Click.Give. data indicates that most Alaskans file for their PFD in the first few weeks. Numbers of individuals choosing to Pick.Click.Give. are down for the same period in previous years. Participants are pointing to the State’s economic downturn and the uncertainty around changes to the PFD. The State’s economic woes are real, and the impact will hit hardest on the most vulnerable among us. This alone should galvanize our decision to dig a little deeper and give more where we can. If you need more incentive the Alaska Community Foundation is sponsoring the Double Your Dividend 2017 Sweepstakes that will award five lucky Alaskans who share part of their PFD through Pick.Click.Give. an extra dividend in addition to awarding a dividend to the nonprofit of their choice.
Whatever your reason, the chance to double your dividend, teach your children about giving, or supporting the causes you care most about, Alaska’s unique Pick.Click.Give. program is a safe, easy, fun way to achieve that goal.

Joy Steward
Joy is the executive director of the Homer Foundation and is excited by all of the ways we each find to build community.

2016 Homer Foundation Annual Meeting

Please Join Us!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bunnell Street Arts Center
106 West Bunnell St.
Meet & Greet, Refreshments:  5:30 pm
Meeting: 6:00 pm
Music by Homer Youth String Orchestra Trio

Annual Report, Board Appointments Investment, Grant and & YAC Reports People’s Choice Grant Awards

Enter your favorite Homer nonprofit for a

CHANCE TO WIN $250 People’s Choice Award

For more information:  907.235.0541

Call for Entry

Calling all artists! The Homer Foundation is requesting proposals from artists for a larger-than-life sized bronze salmon sculpture, The Giving Salmon. The Giving Salmon will be located on the grounds of the new Boat House Pavilion, a marine-inspired covered pavilion which will stand where the former Harbor Master’s office was located on the Homer Spit.

cafe-logoInterested artists should apply online.  Deadline to apply is November 15, 2016 with a www.callforentry.org/login.php

The sculpture will commemorate the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary and will be a permanent gift to the community, a  beautiful piece of public art that will help increase the Foundation’s visibility, capture donations from visitors, and build awareness of the vibrant non-profit community that helps Homer flourish as a world-class location for both living and visiting. All donations deposited into The Giving Salmon will be distributed through the Foundation’s year-round grants program.

Donors wishing to support the creation of The Giving Salmon  will be recognized on a brass plaque adjacent to the sculpture.  For more information  regarding this opportunity call the Homer Foundation, 907-235-0541.

Making Your Will Seminar Oct. 8th

The Homer Foundation is supporting a complimentary MAKING YOUR WILL seminar hosted by the Kachemak Bay Campus on Saturday, October 8th from 12-1:30pm. Join Homer attorney Lindsay Wolter and UAA Director of Gift Planning Harry Need for this informative session. Lunch provided. Register by calling the College at 907-235-7743.

Pay It Forward

Homer Foundation pays it forward by giving $2.5 million in 25 years

Posted in the Homer News: April 28, 2016

By Shannon McBride–Morin

Walking with 25 kids over to the Pratt Museum the other day in the sun, I was feeling grateful that I got to go along as a parent chaperone.

Fifth-graders with spring fever were skipping ahead of me along the dusty sidewalk, 10- and 11-year-olds without any coats on an Alaska spring day. I was reminded of how amazing it is that we can walk from school to our great museum for a fun, easy and totally educational field trip.  Lucky kids! Our community supports this, and it adds to our kids’ sense of place and quality of life.

A friend new to Homer recently said, “Kids here have the best field trips ever.” My girls, along with thousands of local youth over the years, get to participate in outings to the beach for tide-pooling and beach cleanups, walk to Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center for Discovery Labs and explorations. Volunteers, teachers and educators make this happen. A giving community makes this happen.

There are field trips to the Pratt Museum and the Homer Public Library, the Wynn Nature Center and Beluga Slough.  Our kids go “up the road” and learn about the salmon life cycle on the Anchor River. They go to the pool to learn to swim. They visit the Fire Hall and Karen Hornaday Park.

For the past 30-plus years groups of fourth grade kids boat across Kachemak Bay for three days of outdoor education camps at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies and at our family’s Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge.

We have a community that gives back. We are a place that cares about our kids, about education and the outdoors, about art and about each other. We are part of a town that cares for our neighbors and those in need. I am thankful that many before me, and so many now, are giving back to our community.

I recently learned more about the Homer Foundation and how they connect generosity to community need. I was blown away to find out how much it supports great local programs. Did you know it has given more than $2.5 million in the last 25 years? That’s a lot for small town Alaska.

It helps not only with amazing field trips to educate our youth, but with everything from the Homer Community Food Pantry to Cook Inletkeeper; from supporting Haven House to dozens of local sports and athletics; from Public Radio to Share the Spirit; from Head Start to Hospice of Homer; from the Homer Playground Project to Artists in the Schools. This all represents a community that cares, and cares for those in need.

Did you know that its first year the Homer Foundation gave away a handful of tiny grants totaling $1,000? Now, in its 25th year, the Homer Foundation has given away $140,000 in local grants. Pretty cool. That money directly supports our quality of life.

The Homer Foundation makes it easy for people to give back. Over the years, about 150 different organizations and programs that many of us benefit from have been funded. And it’s given over 150 scholarships to area youth. Giving back to the community is at the heart of the Homer Foundation.

It says a lot about our little town that the very first community foundation in Alaska was created right here 25 years ago. It says a lot about our community’s ability to pull together and build for our future “for good, forever.” I like that concept.

And I see the impact every day right here in town of paying if forward. In this time of harsh budget cuts, local giving and volunteering goes such a long way and has a huge positive impact. It feels good to give back.

I am grateful for the 25 or so kiddos, skipping back to school from yet another awesome field trip. And I am thankful for 25 years of giving by the Homer Foundation, and for the $2.5 million that it has given right here to support our kids and our entire community.

Shannon McBride-Morin was born and raised in China Poot Bay and Homer. After living Outside for college and career, she moved home to raise her family with her husband Chris. She is a wilderness guide and captain, and manages the Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge — in addition to volunteering with the coolest kids on the best ever field trips. 


Pick.Click.Give. For Alaska

By Nina Kemppel, CEO & President, Alaska Community Foundation

This article was originally published by the Alaska Dispatch News on March 18th, 2016.

The next several days are critical for hundreds of nonprofits across Alaska.

Why? As we approach to the March 31st deadline to file for your Permanent Fund Dividend, we move closer to the time most Alaskans will Pick.Click.Give to organizations that serve critical needs here in Alaska.

Whether your interests are in the performing arts, education, outdoor recreation, health, or animal welfare, Pick.Click.Give. has a cause you care about. Time is running out to support a worthy nonprofit of your choosing. Many Alaskans choose to donate a portion of their Alaska Permanent Fund to help a cause they care about and help support these nonprofit organizations that serve our local communities. In a time of economic uncertainty in Alaska, what may seem like a small donation to you, adds up to make a big difference. When we partner together, all the gifts made through Pick.Click.Give. go a long way to help strengthen our communities and the nonprofits who serve them.

Since Pick.Click.Give. began in 2009, the program has grown steadily, breaking records each year for the total amount raised.

Last year, Alaskans showed their kindness and donated $3.3 million through Pick.Click.Give. to support nonprofits across the state. And since its inception, Alaskans have pledged more than $13.7 million to Alaska’s nonprofits through Pick.Click.Give. In the eight years of the Pick.Click.Give. program, Alaskans have seen the need and responded in a big way and with a big heart. We thank you for the overwhelming support and generosity.

This year, we’ve seen the participation rate dip slightly from the record high of 2015. Perhaps uncertainty surrounding the future of the Permanent Fund Dividend or the ongoing discussions regarding how to bridge our state’s budget deficit have made some people hesitant to commit a part of our annual check.

But as we head towards the deadline we can change that trend and show that we’re a caring community even when times get tough. The final two weeks of March are the most critical to the nonprofit participants of the Pick.Click.Give. campaign. The last few years have shown us that many pledges are received in the last half of March.

Haven’t filed for your PFD yet? You’re not alone! Last year, 18% of total giving occurred during the last two weeks of March. If you have already filed this year but forgot to Pick.Click.Give., you can still log back in and make a donation to a cause you care about. In fact, your gift could go even further this year. The Alaska Community Foundation and the Rasmuson Foundation are offering three $5,000 bonuses to the top participating nonprofits who increase their donations from the previous year as well as providing a $1,000 bonus to the new nonprofit that raises the most donations in this year’s Pick.Click.Give. program.

If you look through the 2016 list of the 640 Alaskan nonprofits involved with Pick.Click.Give., you’ll see food banks, soup kitchens, shelters and rescue missions. These groups work with the most vulnerable of our populations: those with basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing. But Pick.Click.Give. is more than that. Some participating nonprofits encourage involvement in the arts; others, outdoor recreation. Some connect our cities and villages through the public radio network. Others have missions to rescue and find homes for our beloved pets. Some groups support education for our children.

These nonprofit groups make our Alaskan communities more vibrant, engaging, and caring places for residents. Our winters would seem longer and our summers less dynamic without these nonprofits and their efforts to improve where we live.

While there is uncertainty around the future of the PFD, one thing is certain, even in difficult times Alaskans can be counted on to be good neighbors. If you have a favorite local nonprofit group, there’s a good chance you can donate to them as one of the 640 nonprofits in the Pick.Click.Give. program. We urge you to look at the list of participating organizations listed on www.PickClickGive.org and personally invest in enhancing the nonprofits across our state. Please join us and the tens of thousands of Alaskans who donate a part of their PFD through Pick.Click.Give. to make a meaningful and lasting difference in our communities.


Alaska Governor Cements Council Majority with Peterson and Laukitis Recommendations for NPFMC Seats

SEAFOODNEWS.COM By Peggy Parker – March 10, 2016

Governor Walker announced his nominees for two seats on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council yesterday, putting Theresa Peterson of Kodiak and Buck Laukitis of Homer at the top of his list as “preferred nominees” with two alternates for each.

If the Secretary of Commerce approves his nominees, Peterson and Laukitis will replace Duncan Fields and David Long, whose terms end this summer.

Peterson has been a commercial and subsistence fisherman for over thirty years. She currently serves as an Advisory Panel Member of the Council. She is also a member of the Alaska Jig Associaiton, the Community Fish Network, and is the outreach Coordinator for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.

Michael “Buck” Laukitis is a commercial fisherman and the owner of Magic Fish Company and Compass Rose Properties. He helped to develop the Alaska Maritime Workforce Developmet Plan in 2014. Laukitis has a USCG 100-ton Masters License, and is a longstanding member of the Board of Trustees for the Homer Foundation, whose mission is to promote philanthropic and charitable activities.

Apointments to the council are always the focus of attention from the fishing industry, but with a Gulf of Alaska rationalization plan on the Council agenda, who will represent Alaskan interests is of critical importance.

The Council is considering two alternative plans, one backed by most of the Gulf trawl fleets and another introduced and backed by the Alaska members on the Council. Peterson and Laukitis are considered supporters of the latter plan, which is still in development.

Julie Bonney of the Alaska Groundfish Data Bank in Kodiak is in the other camp. She and others worked for two years to craft a plan that the trawl industry supported. The new recommendations from the Governor concern her.

“I am extremely concerned that there is no one on the Alaska side of the eleven voting members that understand trawl fisheries,” she said. “How they function, tools needed to meet the bycatch objectives – the contributions these harvests make to processors and communities like Kodiak, Sand Point and King Cove.

“The new Alaska voting six are aligned with small boat, fixed gear interests that don’t understand the overall seafood economy that include the benefit of trawling and how all the different sectors contribute to the health of the overall industry and the benefits to Alaska’s economy,” Bonney said.

Jeff Stephan, director of the United Fishermen’s Marketing Association, also in Kodiak, disagrees.

“I have observed, known and worked with both Theresa and Buck for many years with respect to a broad array of complex and difficult fisheries management issues,” Stephan said. “I have confidence in their dedication, fairness and motives, and in their knowledge and understanding of the serious task that they will face as Council members. Theresa Peterson and Buck Laukitis are the right people, at the right time to engage in the multi-dimensional challenges that face fisheries management in the North Pacific.”

Bob Alverson, executive director of the Fishing Vessel Owners Association, has a different take. “Our interest isn’t in how the allocation of fish will go, it’s in the accountability of bycatch and how we can that can be verified better.

“From the standpoint of coming up with a final option for what the new Gulf rationalization will look like, it’s too early to say no or yes to this. We’re in a ten-month negotiating process and everyone on the Council needs to come up with something that works.

“Both [Peterson and Laukitis] fully understand the importance of juvenile and adult halibut bycatch. Both are well versed in these debates and will make sure that issue is covered,” Alverson said.

Alternates for Peterson are Eric Olson and Paul Gronholt. Gronholt is a member of the Oagan Tayagungin Tribe and has been a commercial fisherman for over thirty-five years.

Olson, who has previously served on the Council, is a member of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and a former manager of the Yukon Delta Fisehreis Development Association. He has fished commercially for nearly forty years.

Alternates for Laukitis are Linda Behnken and Art Nelson. Behnken is executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. She also served on the Council and is currently a member of the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust and the Halibut Coalition.

Nelson is executive director of the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association. He has fished commercially in Prince William Sound and worked for Kawerek Native Association managing projects that counted salmon escapement. Nelson has been a member of the Advisory Panel to the North Pacific Anadromous Fisheries Commission and the Alaska Board of Fisheries Kuskokwim Subsistence Salmon Panels, and is chair of the Steering Committee for A-Y-K Sustainable Salmon Initiative.

The Council is made up of 11 voting members, six of whom represent Alaska. Those members are preliminarily appointed by the governor of Alaska, with final approval coming from the Secretary of Commerce. Washington State has two members on the Council, and Oregon has one.


Flo Larson 2012
Love First

February, the shortest month of the year follows January, and has 95 holidays, some bizarre and others we hold dear. Ground Hog Day (in Alaska marmots are the substitute), President’s Day, Valentine’s Day when love gets honored with everything from flowers to far away trips. Super Bowl Sunday ended
February 7, Mardi Gras/ Fat Tuesday the 9th, Ash Wednesday and Chinese New Year dates vary. These are the more common holidays. February is Black History Month and American Heart Month, along with Great American Pie Month and even a Cherry Pie Day.

If you Google February holidays, the noticeable thing is most of the days are positive holidays like Thank
a Mailman Day, Kite Flying Day, Make a Friend Day, National Organ Donor Day, Love Your Pet Day, Be
Humble Day, National Chocolate Mint Day (I’m not making these up.), Oscar Night, Do a Grouch a Favor
Day, Random Acts of Kindness Day, Polar Bear Day, No Brainer Day, and this year Leap Day. It occurs in 2016, every four years. All those Leap Year babies can really truly celebrate this year! What’s the point?

Grey winter, rainy days at the End of The Road are monotonous and darker without usual snow this time of year, and give us the opportunity to look at life through the lens of these numerous positive holidays.
What can we do regardless of life circumstances and life difficulties?

January has not been the most positive month for me lately with the death of my husband two years ago, a dear friend’s death this year, friends suffering with cancer and long term illness. My husband’s oncologist at Vanderbilt Carcinoid Institute said, “The greatest gift we give to our family and friends is a good death.” The longer I live without loved ones, the more true his words. I’ve decided to take his advice.
These grey days allow time to clean out and get rid of, put paperwork in order, downsize everything, make plans how I want to leave this earthly life and put those wishes on record so loved ones and friends are guided and do not have to guess. It gives me time to go through photos and give thanks for friends and family, reread favorite books and magazine articles, decide what clothes bring joy and give the rest away for someone else to use or not, set aside collected items to auction at the annual Hospice fund raiser, give things away and experience the recipient’s joy. I say this not to dwell on death, but rather the opposite, to live fully now.

Hospice has several book discussions about compassion and death. After recent death experiences and attending discussions, it’s good for us to share. In the death phobic society of the US where living the good life and looking one’s best is emphasized, it’s important to remember none of us get out of here alive. We honor birth and give prizes to the New Year’s Baby, as well we should. What if we honored our death by preparing for it? We don’t know surrounding circumstances of our death, but we can plan practical things now. What if we were able to talk about death openly and honestly? About how it hurts and confuses? How it can be awesome and full of spirit and love beyond our wildest imagination? And how it can sting deeply with a sudden death? Or how memories eventually become gratitude? This type of conversation is authentic and real. We can help each other prepare for the most important milestone of our life and not be afraid. In this month of love, it can be the greatest gift we give to each other.

Perhaps in light of reality that we have only one life to live, one life to give, our state and city economic conditions pale. We can become more gentle in our thoughts and approach. We can quiet political rhetoric and hostility, angst and tension toward each other. We can actually come to consensus and make wise decisions for the people of this beautiful state and this Hamlet by the Sea. Let us put love and understanding first and give kindness. In the end, it’s What Matters!

Flo Larson, retired teacher, mother, grandmother, gardener Homer Foundation Board member and volunteer.

City of Homer Grants Program


The Homer Foundation announces that application forms for the 2016 City of Homer Grants Program are now available.  The grants program is funded through an annual allocation from the City of Homer in addition to the earnings from the City of Homer Fund and the Kachemak City Fund at the Homer Foundation.

The intent of the City of Homer Grants Program is to support locally-based non-profit organizations that provide services within the City of Homer. The applicants must be IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations, in existence in Homer a minimum of 3 years, with their primary facility and core programs, activities and services offered within the Homer City limits.  The organization must be administered locally with a local policy-making board of directors.  The organization may have no other financial or in-kind support from the City of Homer.  The funding is for general operating support. This is a competitive grants process.  Application forms are available from the Homer Foundation.  Contact Joy at 235-0541 or jsteward@homerfoundation.org

Homer Foundation Educators Fund Takes Off

Several years ago, Homer experienced the death of several well-loved teachers prompting some community members to look for a way for people to make a meaningful contribution to a fund in their honor. This started the seed of what is becoming The Educators Professional Development Fund, an endowment to benefit local K-12 teachers with opportunities for professional development.

Working with a group of teachers and administrators, and initially guided by the Homer Foundation’s Development Committee, brainstorming meetings took place over the last couple of years. Valuable insight was given by a cross section of teachers from Homer and the surrounding area. The need for support for teachers was made very clear. A smaller steering committee developed the criteria for applying for a grant through the fund and the fundraising began.

Providing several lunches for donors and teachers, more great conversations were started and to date 17 people have contributed over $5000.00. We need to reach the goal of $10,000.00 by 2017 to complete the fund. Our fundraising efforts have concentrated on suggesting donors give $250.00 each. We have had several very generous donations above that amount and welcome any contribution to get this endeavor off the ground. We are more than halfway there!

We are posting this information here on our website and Facebook page to help spread the word. As we talk to community members, many still do not know about this exciting opportunity to contribute to such a worthwhile fund and help a local teacher each year. If you are currently a teacher, are a retired teacher or know and love a teacher, we would like to ask for your help specifically and ask you help us let the community know about this valuable project.

If you would like to make a contribution, please call Joy at the Homer Foundation office 235-0541 or send an email to jsteward@homerfoundation.org and she can facilitate your donation.


Polly Prindle-Hess, Homer Foundation board member and supporter of the new Educator’s Fund for Professional Development