There are quite a few community foundations in the state of Alaska, and many are affiliates of the Anchorage-based Alaska Community Foundation. But there’s another community funder in Anchorage worth discussing as well: the Arctic Slope Community Foundation (ASCF). This funder has been on the local grantmaking scene since 2010, after launching with a silent art auction that raised over $20,000 in donations. Since the geographic region of focus and topics of interest are very specific with this funder, here’s what local grantseekers need to know.
Focus on the Eight Distinct Villages
As a place-based funder, it’s first important to understand which parts of Alaska are on ASCF’s radar. The Arctic slope is a vast land that has been home to the Iñupiat people for thousands of years, and there are eight unique villages that ASCF is particularly interested in. So, while the foundation is headquartered in Anchorage, it is the smaller communities in the far-northern reaches of the state that ASCF supports. These communities are Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, Wainwright, Point Lay, Atqasuk, Barrow, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Point Home. Learn more about each village here.
Know What the Foundation’s Priorities Are
Overall, the foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life and strengthen the culture of giving in the Arctic Slope region of Alaska. And foundation grants go towards both maintaining traditional Iñupiat values and embracing a modern way of life. In terms of interest areas, ASCF provides four types of grants: arts and culture, education (related to culture, language and art), health and human services, and preservation of Iñupiat language and culture. Overall, the funder gives grant priority to groups that have already received contributions from other local organizations.
Request the Right Type of Support
In addition to geography and topics, ASCF is very particular about the types of support it will provide to nonprofits, governmental units, and federally recognized tribes. This is a good foundation to approach for program and project needs, but it also considers requests for essential purchases and capital needs. This includes assistance with buildings, furnishings, books, medical equipment, art supplies, musical instruments, vehicles, sporting equipment, and technology needs. However, ASCF does not usually provide funding for general operations or administrative costs. ASCF is also not the funder to turn to for professional development grants, scholarship awards, debt reduction, or political activities.
Submit Requests Four Months Before Funds Are Needed
An important thing to know about ASCF is that there are no deadlines to apply for grants, as the funder will accept requests at any time. These request must be mailed into the foundation, not emailed or submitted online, and there’s a helpful checklist on the funder’s website to ensure all application materials are in order. However, there are different guideline requirements to follow depending on whether a nonprofit is applying for a grant of less than $10,000, between $10,000 and $25,000, or over $25,000. Regardless of the amount requested, make sure to request funds about four months in advance of an anticipated project to allow enough time for the review process. A minimum two months advance time is required, but four months is best to play it safe. ACSF’s board meets on a quarterly basis to decide on and award both large and small grants.
Learn more about this funder, as well as how to get in touch with the staff about funding questions, in IP’s profile of the Arctic Slope Foundation in our Northwest funding guide.