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Rasmuson Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-11-10

At A Glance

Rasmuson Foundation

301 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Ste. 400

Anchorage, AK United States 99503-2648

Telephone: (907) 297-2700


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $672,178,454

Total giving: $21,460,935





Additional Contact Information

Toll free tel. within Alaska: (877) 366-2700


Established in 1955 in AK - Founded by Jenny Rasmuson under a declaration of trust in May of 1955 to honor her late husband, "E.A." Rasmuson. The Rasmuson family moved to Skagway Alaska when E.A. became U.S. Commissioner for that city. E.A. Rasmuson assumed leadership of the Bank of Alaska in 1918 in the midst of the financial disruption caused by World War I. Jenny Rasmuson served on the board of directors of the growing bank and shared her husband's dreams for Alaska. Together, they promoted the growth of the Territory and the development of its rich natural resource potential. E.A. Rasmuson died in 1949 and left the bank to his son, Elmer. Elmer was involved in the foundation from its modest beginnings and became the driving force behind its growth. When he died in Dec. 2000 at age 91, he left his personal fortune of more than $400 million to charity, much of it to the family foundation. Following the death in 2012 of Mary Louise Rasmuson, additional funds were received by the foundation.

Purpose and Activities

The foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for Alaskans.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Art Acquisition Fund

The fund provides grants for Alaska museums to purchase contemporary work by practicing Alaskan artists. The project is intended to: (1) support living, practicing Alaskan artists through museum purchases; (2) enhance the permanent art collections of Alaskan museums; and (3) encourage Alaskan museums to develop formal collections policies. In 2013 the fund will also support small grants to museums and cultural centers addressing collections management needs. The fund is administered by Museums Alaska on behalf of the foundation. To learn more about the program guidelines and application process, please visit the Museums Alaska web site:

Artist Fellowship

The foundation has created three award programs for individual artists living and working in Alaska: 1) Distinguished Artist: one annual $40,000 award for a mature artist of recognized stature with a history of creative excellence and accomplishment in the arts; 2) Project Awards: grants of $7,500 for emerging mid-career, and mature artists for specific, short term projects that have a clear benefit to the artist and the development of his/her work; and 3) Artist Fellowships: $18,000 awards for mid career or mature artists to focus their energy and attention for a one year period on developing their creative work. The program awards grants in ten artistic disciplines. These awards will provide artists the resources to concentrate and reflect on their work, to immerse themselves in a creative endeavor, and to experiment, explore and develop their artistry more fully. It is the foundation's hope that these investments in individual artists will result in substantial contributions to the culture of Alaska, the vibrancy of its communities, and to the art itself. See the foundation website for more details.

Artist Residency Program

The program supports eight-week residencies for Alaska artists at Lower 48 organizations, and welcomes accomplished artists from Outside to Alaska organizations. Support to the host organizations covers artist travel and stipends, administrative fees, housing and meal costs, materials, and local transportation.The four arts centers in Alaska and five arts centers in the Lower 48 that will host the artist residencies are paired for compatibility based on discipline expertise and related factors. For more information, contact Jayson Smart: tel.: (907) 297-2882, e-mail:, or Jeremy Pataky: tel.: (907) 244-7717, e-mail:

Arts In Education

The program seeks to increase the role of cultural institutions in making arts experiences available in schools and neighborhoods; to inspire collaborations between educators, artists and cultural institutions; to increase student access to a variety of high-quality arts and cultural experiences; and to encourage student participation in the arts. The following grant opportunities are offered for Alaska schools, nonprofit organizations and teachers: 1) Arts Excursion – grants of $600 for K-12 schools, both public and private, to assist with student transportation to arts and cultural events. Title 1 schools are eligible for grants up to $1,000; 2) Cultural Collaborations – two grant programs for collaborative projects that enable schools, arts organizations, local arts agencies, artists, and other civic groups to establish, expand, or enhance arts and cultural programs for young people: a) Access Grants of up to $1,000 to support high-quality, short-term arts and cultural activities for grades K-12 at a school site during the school day and b) Project Grants offer matching funds of up to $6,000 to support high-quality, longer-term, experientially based arts and cultural projects or programs for youth outside of the school day; 3) Arts Teacher Awards - grants of up to $3,000 for certified, permanently assigned, full and part-time K-12 artist-teachers to immerse themselves in their own creative work, interact with professional artists, and stay current with new practices; and 4) Artists in Schools - the foundation provides additional funding to the Alaska State Council on the Arts to reduce fees paid by schools, increase fees paid to artists and increase the number of residencies funded through the Artist in Schools program. The program is administered by Council on the Arts. For application and deadline information contact ASCA at 907-269-6682.

Community Asset Building Initiative

Through a special partnership with the Alaska Community Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation launched the Community Asset Building Initiative in 2007 to develop permanent assets and grow philanthropy in communities across Alaska. The foundation supports the establishment and growth of local community endowments in nine communities across the state; Haines and the Chilkat Valley, Talkeetna, Petersburg, Seward, the Kenai peninsula, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Sitka and Ketchikan. These community funds are structured as regional affiliates of the Alaska Community Foundation. Affiliate communities benefit form Alaska Community Foundation's oversight of fund investments and expertise in community-based philanthropy while maintaining local control of fundraising, goal setting and grant recommendations. Rasmuson Foundation provides matching funds and re-granting dollars for the affiliates upon achievement of milestones.

Grants to Individuals Program

Fellowships and awards to artists residing in AK.

Harper Arts Touring Fund

The fund was established in 2002 to stimulate access to high quality arts experiences in rural and underserved communities throughout Alaska and to encourage tours of Alaska's performing and visual arts. The fund provides grants to subsidize travel and freight expenses associated with the presentation of touring performers or arts/cultural exhibits in communities without regular access to these types of programs. Alaskan organizations representing the needs of these communities may apply. The program is administered by the fund to the Alaska State Council on the Arts. For application and deadline information contact ASCA at 907-269-6682.

New Pathways|Alaska

The program promotes long-term sustainability in Alaska’s arts organizations through support of innovation as a response to complex challenges. Unlike technical assistance, the program builds the adaptive muscles of arts organizations, increases community impacts, and ensures that arts organizations are ready to seize the future as leading contributors to vibrant Alaska communities. Up to 20 organizations will be selected to participate in two cohorts over the next three years. The goal is that selected organizations will become oriented toward adaptive change, develop a concept for organization innovation, and fully implement an innovation project with capital funding made available through the program. New Pathways | Alaska is provided at no financial cost to selected participants, but requires time and commitment from the leadership of selected organizations. Applications are accepted by The Foraker Group. For more information, see foundation web site and/or contact: Jonella Larson White: tel.: (907) 743-1200, e-mail:

Program-Related Investments

In certain situations, the Rasmuson Foundation employs program-related investments to achieve a desired charitable outcome. A program-related investment might be employed to help to increase the availability of credit and capital to nonprofit intermediaries, banks, community development financial institutions, small-business developers, and others whose activities would contribute to conditions that directly help Alaskan families succeed. The intended outcomes would include increasing employment, home ownership, and opportunities to build assets; promoting neighborhood stability; increasing the availability of safe, secure and affordable housing and affordable goods and services; or redevelopment of blighted properties into useful community assets. The foundation seeks to avoid consideration of candidate PRI projects which are: 1) bankable through traditional venues (seek only to lower the cost of capital); 2) not necessary from a business perspective and could weaken the borrower; 3) seeking debt reduction associated with a current loan; or 4) high risk business ventures that are not congruent with the foundation's core charitable interests. The foundation accepts PRI letters of interest by invitation only.

Sabbatical Program

The foundation believes that nonprofit Chief Executive Officers and tribal administrators better serve their organization when they have extended opportunity to reflect on their work, gain insight into what they want to accomplish in their careers, learn better ways to run their agencies, and renew their personal energy. To achieve these objectives and help prevent job related stress and burnout, the foundation endorses the concept of sabbaticals and has committed funds to support time off for outstanding nonprofit and tribal leaders in Alaska. The sabbatical is not only a reward for achievement, it is a motivating factor to keep the best people in the field. This award is for the personal growth or renewal of the applicant - with no bias toward either reason. Activities dedicated to personal renewal as defined by the recipient may include travel, study, time for reflection, or simply rest. Awards will support sabbaticals of a minimum of 60 continuous and a maximum of 180 continuous days. The amount of each grant will be up to $40,000. Although grants will be awarded to the organization, they are to be used specifically for the individual taking the sabbatical to cover salary and expenses during the sabbatical. No distinction will be made between large and small organizations. Applications can be downloaded from the foundation web site. .

The Pre-Development Program

The Pre-Development Program assists nonprofit organizations in planning for successful capital projects. It is offered through a partnership with the Rasmuson Foundation, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, the Denali Commission, Mat-Su Health Foundation and The Foraker Group. The Pre-Development Program ensures that selected projects meet a community need; that they are adequately prepared to pursue capital funding; and that operations will be sustainable. The program follows five steps: (1) organize the project work plan, (2) determine need for capital project, (3) explore alternatives, (4) define the projects scope/design, and (5) decide whether to proceed. Organizations have access to program specialists, architects, engineers, and other specialists as necessary to successfully complete the pre-development phase of their project. Pre-Development Program services are not available through an open application process. Organizations are invited to participate through a selection process initiated by one of the program funders. Organizations should contact the Alaska Mental Health Trust, the Denali Commission, Mat-Su Health Foundation or the Rasmuson Foundation to request consideration for inclusion in the program. Each funding agency has its own criteria for eligibility, but in general only nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status, municipal, or tribal organizations qualify. .

Tier 1 Awards

The program awards grants of up to $25,000 for capital projects, technology updates, capacity building, program expansion, and creative works. The program accepts grant applications year-round, with review and awards handled on a rolling basis throughout the year. Organizations will be notified via email when an application has been received. If an applicant organization is successful, a formal grant agreement and grant check will be sent. An applicant should have an answer within 90 days of submission of a complete application. The completeness of an application and the accuracy of the project budget directly impact the length of time for review. In most cases, a previous Tier 1 grant must be closed before a new application will be considered for funding.

Tier 2 Awards

The program awards grants over $25,000 for capital projects, projects of demonstrable strategic importance or innovative nature or for the expansion or start-up of innovative programs that address issues of broad community or statewide significance. Tier 2 grants may also support technology updates and creative works that comply with the description above. The project must demonstrate long-term benefits or impacts, and be initiated by an established organization(s) with a history of accomplishment. Applying for a Tier 2 grant is a two-step process. The first step is to prepare and submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). If the foundation is interested in the project, then the organization will be invited to submit a full Tier 2 proposal. Tier 2 LOI reviews can take up to 90 days. The foundation accepts Tier 2 LOI year round. Organizations will be notified via email when a LOI has been received. Tier 2 full proposals are considered two times each year during foundation board meetings. Please see the Deadline FAQ on the foundation web site for more information. The completeness of an application and the accuracy of the project budget directly impact the length of time for review. In most cases, a previous Tier 2 grant must be closed before a new application will be considered for funding. In all instances, applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with foundation program staff prior to submitting a Tier 2 LOI.

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Child welfare
  • Community and economic development
  • Education
  • Health
  • Human services
  • Senior services
  • Sports and recreation
  • Women's services
Population Groups
  • Alaskan Natives
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $672,178,454 (market value)

Gifts received: $707,517

Expenditures: $43,075,448

Total giving: $21,460,935

Qualifying distributions: $29,868,026