Winter Newsletter Featured Article II

A new fund at ACF creates a place for families to support the next generation

The Anchorage Independent Longshore Union (AILU) Legacy Scholarship Fund at ACF will soon be supporting some very special next-generation students. The fund will mobilize resources for the children and grandchildren of Alaska’s longshoremen to improve their access to a college education.

The Anchorage Independent Longshore Union has served Alaska for fifty years and is responsible for about 80% of the state’s freight needs. The union is affiliated with Teamsters Local 959, but is fully independent, putting it in a unique position among unions worldwide. Members describe their involvement in AILU as an intensely communal experience; cargo ships must be unloaded as quickly as possible regardless of the circumstances, so union members work side by side in all weathers and at all hours. They share a deep dedication to providing for Alaskans and share long personal histories.

“Lifelong friendships develop over careers that often span thirty and even forty years,” said an AILU representative. “In some cases, childhood friends work side by side for decades.”

In an organization characterized by such long relationships, members watch one another’s lives unfold; they see their children grow up and go to college. Watching these young people face the hurdles of rising college tuition rates, some AILU members decided it was time to find a sustainable way to provide for the next generation. In the fall of 2021, members banded together to raise funds and begin the process of creating the AILU Legacy Scholarship Fund with The Alaska Community Foundation. They intentionally named it, not after one person, but after the union as a collective.

AILU members consider the fund a long-term investment in the futures of their children and grandchildren. Members are encouraging fellow members to direct assets from their wills to the fund, making it a multi-generational project that will outlive its creators and benefit their descendants for years to come.

Though the AILU Legacy Scholarship Fund is not yet open for applications, forty-one other scholarships are currently open at The Alaska Community Foundation. For more information visit our scholarships page here.