AK Can Do Deploys $1.48 Million for COVID-19 Relief

AK Can Do partners, The Alaska Community Foundation (ACF), and United Way of Anchorage with the support of Rasmuson Foundation announce the second-round of AK Can Do grants to the nonprofit sector. The grants provide COVID-19 recovery funding to essential nonprofits across the state. This week sixty-two nonprofits were awarded a total of almost $500,000 to help sustain the support they provide their communities. To date $1.48 million of AK Can Do funds have been deployed including grants awarded in the first round in mid-April and support to struggling families.

Some recipients of the most recent grants include AK Child & Family, Community Connections, Haines Assisted Living, Homer Community Food Pantry, Petersburg Children’s Center, MatSu Food Bank, Hospice of the Central Peninsula, Cordova Family Resource Center, Armed Services YMCA of Alaska, Restore Incorporated and Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL). 

“Every single day, SAIL is receiving calls and emails from people who are anxious about the future and unsure of where to turn. They are looking to us for advice, for compassion, and for help with concrete next steps to stay healthy, independent, and safe.” Said Joan O’Keefe SAIL, Executive Director. “The AK Can Do COVID Response grant will help ensure our most vulnerable neighbors, especially seniors and those experiencing disabilities, have access to the help they need, even in the face of today’s unprecedented challenges.” 

AK Can Do funds have also provided over $600,000 in rent and utility assistance to 528 struggling Alaskan households made up of 1,605 individuals.

“It’s been a rough two months,” said Kenneth Dent, 54. The pandemic took his warehouse and distribution job at Spenard Builders Supply, and his rent was raised to $1300 a month. A $1,000 check made out to his landlord makes a big difference. “I can breathe,” he said. “This here keeps my head above water.”

To date, individuals, families, foundations, and corporate partners have committed to over $2.4 million in support. Major donors to AK Can Do include Rasmuson Foundation, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Wells Fargo, ExxonMobil, Sealaska, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, Spawn Ideas, Alaska Airlines, Alaska National a CopperPoint Insurance Co., Saltchuk, Rotary District 5010 and GCI.

“AK Can Do is proof that the simple concept of neighbors helping neighbors can make an immense difference in a crisis,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO. “Dozens of businesses have made generous contributions, and so have hundreds of individuals. We are so proud of our partners, The Alaska Community Foundation and the United Way of Anchorage, and we are proud of Alaska.”


The Alaska Center Education Fund

AK Can Do helped fund a kits program for kids to camp from home. Each week they send out over 140 kits to local families. Each kit provides campers with educational activities and online connections. 

“My daughter has been attending Trailside for 6yrs now. We were on the fence about keeping her at camp this summer with all of the fears of COVID. The staff and safety measures have been wonderful. We really want to give a big shout out to all her Instructors. They have been great, Cameron, Jake, Tomas, Katie and Ian. This camp has saved her mental health, being isolated for so many months it has reminded her of being a kid again.”

Armed Services YMCA of Alaska

AK Can Do gave support to Armed Services YMCA’s Rapid Response Initiative to ensure they are able to continue to be nimble and flexible to meet the largest gaps in services identified by military leadership in our state.

“I picked up all the groceries you put together for us. I cried when I saw that you included cookies and fruit snacks for my daughter. Thank you for getting us through the next few weeks with rice and meat, but thank you also for the extra snacks for them”