Usibelli Foundation

OVERVIEW: This corporate funder supports communities of Healy and Fairbanks, Alaska, in the areas of education, health and social services, youth, the arts, and civic activities. Grant applications are reviewed four times per year.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health and social services, youth, the arts, civic activities

IP TAKE:  This coal mining-based foundation is into education in a big way. Pitch an idea that gets Alaska youth into STEM careers.

PROFILE: The Usibelli Coal Mine is a fourth-generation family-owned coal mine. Like many successful corporations, this one established a philanthropic arm, the Usibelli Foundation. Its goals are to support education, strengthen communities, and preserve Alaska’s heritage. The foundation was established in 1991 and provides grants to over 100 organizations each year. The company is headquartered in Healy, Alaska, and most of the foundation’s giving is focused in this area.

Interests are education, health and social services, youth, the arts, and civic activities. The foundation prefers to support work that drives widespread community benefit, demonstrates operating credibility, and has volunteer support from company employees and their families. It supports organizations that add value to the Alaskan communities of Healy and Fairbanks. Usibelli tends to support the same nonprofits year after year.

Their allocation committee meets quarterly. To be considered at the next board meeting, you need to apply between December 1 and February 28 for early March review, between March 1 and May 31 for early June review, between June 1 and August 31 for early September review, and between September 1 and November 30 for early December review. Funding decisions are sent out about a month after the review period.  

The president of the corporation is Joe Usibelli Jr., while Joe Sr. is the chairman of the board of directors. The company has about 115 employees and operates year-round. This is the only operational coal mine in Alaska currently, producing between 1.2 and 2 million tons of coal every year.

Usibelli also engages in community corporate giving, and the company has been recognized by local magazines as one of the state's top business givers. Company financial contributions and donations to local organizations are common. The company has a long relationship with the University of Alaska in Fairbanks: the Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching, Research, and Service Awards gives $10,000 to three recipients each year. The company also awards a few scholarships to local students. The University of Alaska’s Museum of the North has received substantial support.

Questions should be submitted to the executive director by phone at 907-452-2625 or by mail to 100 Cushman Street, Suite 210, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. The main corporate office is in Healy, but a Fairbanks office serves as the foundation headquarters. General emails may also be sent to info@usibelli.com.

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