Celebration of Community Foundation – Annual Meeting

The Homer Foundation held their annual meeting Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 at the Bunnell Street Arts Center. The meeting started off with a musical hug from the Homer Ukulele Group (HUG). The group shared how they perform each summer for Fantasy Tours at the Heritage RV Park on the Homer Spit, and how hey direct their earning to the Homer Foundation because they know it will benefit the whole community.

Executive Director Joy Steward presented the 2014 Annual Report: A Community Pulling Together. Board chair Ken Castner announced that Flo Larson, Denise Pitzman and Polly Prindle-Hess have each been appointed to another 3-year term on the board, and Elaine Grantier for a 1-year term.

Asia Freeman, Executive Director the Bunnell Street Arts Center explained the timing and reasoning behind the Bunnell’s new Agency Endowment Fund at the Foundation, and hopes it will become a repository for legacy gifts to support the Arts Center in perpetuity.

The Homer Community Food Pantry and the Friends of the Homer Public Library were each awarded a $500 People’s Choice Award.

Homer Ukulele Group (HUG) leads a sing-a-long to start the annual meeting.

Homer Ukulele Group (HUG) leads a sing-a-long to start the annual meeting.

Board members Flo Larson and Polly Prindle-Hess put the finishing touches on the refreshments provided by Maura's Cafe.

Board members Flo Larson and Polly Prindle-Hess put the finishing touches on the refreshments provided by Maura’s Cafe.

Scholarships Awarded

May is scholarship season, and it was a busy time at the Homer Foundation. Homer area students benefit from a variety of permanently endowed scholarship funds administered by the Foundation. This year area students received $15,500.00 in scholarship awards. The Foundation appreciates the diligence the committees brought to the vetting process. Congratulations to all of the successful candidates!

Homer Community Science Scholarship: award supports post-secondary education in the life sciences. The fund was established by retired Homer High School Science teacher, Stan Eller, and is supported by community donations.

Cassidy Soitman, HHS: $750 to study Sports Medicine and Athletic Training at Fort Lewis College
Katherine Dolma, HHS: $750 to study Marine Biology at New College, Florida
Sierra Moskios, HHS: $500 to study Public Health and Psychology at the University of Montana

Alain and Daniel Rieser Scholarship: recognizes a Homer High School graduating senior with a flair for foreign language and an interest in foreign cultures. The award may be used for continued language study at college or a self-directed travel/cultural immersion project.

Irene Pellegrini, HHS: $3000 to assist her in expanding herself by experiencing other cultures in South America (need info)

Drew Scalzi Memorial Maritime Scholarship: established in 2006 by the North Pacific Fisheries Association, community donors, and the Scalzi Family, in memory of Drew Scalzi. The underlying philosophy of the scholarship is to nurture young adults pursuing their careers in the maritime field or who are from fishing or maritime families

Deonisky Konev, KPBSD: $1000 to study Information Technology at AVTEC, Seward

Beluga Tail Non-Fiction and Beluga Tale Fiction Writing
Scholarships: reward Homer High School graduating seniors that demonstrate exemplary skills in fiction and non-fiction writing.

Hannah Baird, HHS: $3000 to study Environmental Science at Colorado College
Megan Garoutte, HHS: $3000 to attend the University of Alaska

Diane Wambach “Shoot for the Stars” Scholarship: established to in memory of a mother that always encouraged her own children to shoot for the stars. It is awarded each year to an area student that is most able to articulate their dream to pursue vocational training or higher education.

Kachemak Bay Medical Clinic Scholarship: established by Dr. Paul Raymond and the Kachemak Bay Medical Clinic to provide financial assistance to a public high school graduating senior in the greater Homer area who has best exemplified academic excellence, community and/or school service, and a strong work ethic.

Sierra Moskios HHS: $2000 award ($500/yr for 4 yrs) assisting her post-secondary education at the University of Montana

Constance M. Bentston Music Education Scholarship: Through her estate, the Constance M. Benston Fund was established at the Homer Foundation to support causes that were important to her. The Constance M. Benston Music Scholarship was initiated in 2012 to support music education for young people. The annual selection process is provided through the Homer Council on the Arts Scholarship Program. This year’s recipient is…….–

Ptarmigan Arts Visual Arts Scholarship: transferred to the HF and is now supported by a permanent endowment fund.

Irene Pellegrini,HHS: $1000 (need more info) aid her as she attends art classes in (South America?)

Alice Witte Memorial Volleyball Scholarship: Alice Witte was an outstanding girls’ volleyball coach at Homer High School and this award memorializes her inspirational spirit. Each year the coaching staff selects the young woman who possesses the attributes that Coach Witte would have been proud to coach.

Kyla Pitzman, HHS: $500 (need more info?) to attend volleyball camp

Because of the donors who had the vision to establish these scholarships, and the community members that continue to donate to them, these funds will be here to support the education of our youth far into the future. Tax exempt donations to these scholarship funds, or any of the 50 funds managed by the Foundation, are graciously accepted.

We’ve got a brand new website!

Homer Foundation is proud to launch our new website and domain name! Find us now at www.homerfoundation.org

The old website and domain, www.homerfund.org will redirect to our new site so you can still find us there.

Emails have been updated as well:  jsteward@homerfoundation.org and info@homerfoundation.org



Mentoring: important way to pay it forward

Posted: June 25, 2014 – in the Homer News

I feel lucky now that my parents decided to move back to Wisconsin to be closer to family when they married. Through the adults pooling their time, housing, food and energy, they exposed us to different activities and programs in various communities. They also were great at teaching us practical skills beyond just learning how to load the dishwasher correctly. My grandmother taught me how to sew. My uncles taught us every sport they could think of. And they all shared an appreciation for music.

Education and a strong work ethic were important with all my relatives. Many held down two or three jobs to take care of their families and only a few were able to afford college. At every family gathering the conversation around the lawn chairs or kitchen table would eventually turn to “the college lecture” as we cousins called it. Despite their inability to help fund our higher educations, there was never any doubt or leeway in our parents, aunts  and uncles, and grandmothers’ minds that we would all graduate from high school and we would all go to college or a vocational training program.

With only four girl cousins compared to 11 boy cousins — us girls sometimes felt outnumbered but never excluded. My mom, aunts and grandmothers never lost a moment to remind us about the struggles they faced in the work force during the 1950s and 60s. My grandmother, supporting three children on her own, dedicated years to a company and still made less than her male counterparts. My mother was forced to quit her job as a flight attendant when she married. And even though they all had a similar story, they still kept going to work, fighting back when they could, so they could help put food on the table and presents under the tree.

As a child and a teenager I didn’t always appreciate the mentoring I received from my relatives. Sometimes it was a little too much like lecturing. Sometimes I just wanted to go play with my cousin’s new Atari. But it always left me with a feeling that I was cared about.

So now, as I listen to the Big volunteers talk about their mentors, I think about my relatives and wish that they were just a two-hour car ride away instead of a costly plane ride. I’ve learned from my job that we all have benefited from (and continue to benefit from) mentors: someone who is willing to teach us and support us for a short time or the long haul. They don’t do it for money. They do it because they care. And because, kids being kids, we don’t often tell our mentors “thank you” in a timely manner, I believe one of the best ways to show your appreciation for your mentor is to pay it forward and become a mentor yourself.

In Homer, we are lucky to have a wealth of opportunities to pick from where you can share your knowledge with a child or a teen or an adult. There are sports, community recreation, schools, music, arts and theater programs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Homer Council on the Arts, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, Pratt Museum, Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, Homer Cycling Club, Kachemak Bay Running Club, HoWL, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girls on the Run, Pier One, faith-based programs, Kenai Peninsula Youth Court,  REC Room, and the list goes on and on.  If you don’t feel you have the time to be a mentor or coach, make a donation or attend a fundraising event with one of these organizations. Research shows that donating and volunteering can improve your health and prolong your life.

Jenny Martin is a Big Sister, an aunt, a godmother, an adjunct teacher at Kachemak Bay Campus, a coordinator for Best Beginnings Homer early childhood education coalition, and the community director of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Homer. She’ll be away for three weeks this summer catching up with all her relatives in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. She may need a little vacation when she returns. 

Upcoming Grant Deadlines

City of Homer Grant

The Homer Foundation’s City of Homer Grants program is made possible through an annual allocation from the City of Homer and annual earnings from the City of Homer and Kachemak City 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, and Kachemak City’s intent to support those organizations that provide services within the City of Homer that benefit the residents of Kachemak City.

Download application here

Deadline: February 21th, 2014


Youth Advisory Committee

The Homer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) announces their new grant application process. YAC is a committee of the Homer Foundation, currently sponsored by Homer Middle School, whose mission is to promote philanthropy and improve the quality of life for the youth of our community. YAC is soliciting letters of intent from non-profit organizations that promote fun, healthy, and educational activities for youth in Homer. If your organization would like to apply for a grant, we invite you to submit a letter of intent not to exceed 2 pages. The letter should include the following:

  • The name of your organization
  • Tax exempt status
  • The name, phone number, and e-mail address of the contact person
  • A description of how your organization would use the YAC grant
  • The project’s total cost and how much you are asking from YAC
  • How your project is intended to benefit youth in Homer

All applicants will receive a response letter. Only selected organizations will be contacted by YAC representatives to complete the review process which may include a scheduled site visit. Final determinations will be made by April 30th. Awards shall range from $200 -$2,000.

For more information, contact Joy Steward at 235-0541, or e-mail at jsteward@homerfund.org

Deadline: February 28th, 2014