The next several days are critical for hundreds of nonprofits across Alaska. Why? As we approach the March 31 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 that 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 toward 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 percent 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 Alaska 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 public radio. Others have missions to rescue and find homes for our beloved pets. Some groups support education for our children.
These nonprofit groups make our Alaska 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 uncertainly 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 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.
Nina Kemppel is president and CEO of The Alaska Community Foundation. "Pick.Click.Give." is a program of The Alaska Community Foundation.
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