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Alaska's spirit of giving weathers hard times

  • Author: Nina Kemppel
    | Opinion
    , Diane Kaplan
    | Opinion
  • Updated: February 21, 2017
  • Published February 21, 2017

(Pixabay)

Since its inception in 2009, Pick.Click.Give. has distributed more than $17 million to nonprofits statewide. This year, 667 nonprofits across the state are participating in the program. Here are just some of the ways your Pick.Click.Give. contribution will help:

  • Alaska Public Radio Network provides critical news and information on local stations throughout Alaska including communities like Utqiaġvik where KBRW can meet the unique needs of North Slope Borough residents.
  • Best Beginnings in Anchorage can further its mission of ensuring all Alaska children begin school ready to succeed by promoting early childhood literacy and learning.
  • The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad will purchase equipment and maintain infrastructure, making its members better able to conduct wilderness search and rescue missions.
  • Bean’s Café in Anchorage is working harder than ever to feed the hungry and homeless as unemployment and homeless rates increase.
  • Alaska SPCA protects helpless, abused dogs and cats and helps them find safe, loving homes.
  • Alaska Legal Services Corporation can provide high-quality, no-cost legal assistance in civil matters to low-income Alaskans.
  • The Pick.Click.Give. website is full of stories that highlight how your donations have helped nonprofits improve and enrich the lives of all Alaskans.

    When you apply for this year's PFD, you'll once again be asked if you'd like to donate a portion of your dividend to a nonprofit organization through Pick.Click.Give. But for the first time in nine years, many Alaskans may hesitate at the thought of donating.

    It's no secret that Alaska faces a financial crisis. Oil prices remain low, and this year's PFD will once again be lower. Proposals circulating in the Alaska Legislature seek to introduce an income tax and use part of the Permanent Fund's earnings to fund government programs.

    In the face of uncertainty, we understand that your initial instinct may be to rein in your charitable giving, whether by decreasing your usual Pick.Click.Give. contribution or giving nothing at all. Rather than succumb to that instinct, we're asking that you ignore it and GIVE. Give just as much, if not more, as you have in the past. Alaskans may be independent, but we have always stepped up to lend a helping hand to those in need. Now is when your donations are needed the most.

    As our Legislature begins making the tough decisions on how to balance the state budget, it will fall to nonprofits to fill the gaps in service. They will step forward to provide medical services to those unable to pay, food and clothing for those who have none, and to keep us informed and ready to meet the challenges ahead. Without your Pick.Click.Give. donations, thousands of Alaskans will go without the support they so desperately need. Giving is vital to ensuring the continued health and well-being of our communities.

    It won't take much. If every person eligible to receive a PFD donated just $25, together we could raise $16 million — almost surpassing the amount raised over the life of the program. Just imagine the impact that money will have on your friends, family and neighbors.

    You have the power to make a difference. Join us by using that power to help improve the lives of those in your community by donating through Pick.Click.Give.

    Diane Kaplan is president and CEO of the Rasmuson Foundation. Nina Kemppel is president and CEO of the Alaska Community Foundation. Visit pickclickgive.org to search the 667 nonprofits participating in this year's program. The deadline to donate a portion of your PFD through Pick.Click.Give. is August 31.

    The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary@alaskadispatch.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@alaskadispatch.com

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