Robert Gillam: The Richest Man in Alaska, and His Philanthropy

McKinley Capital Management has offices in New York and Chicago, but is headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, quite a way from Wall Street. The man behind the company is Robert Gillam, the richest man in Alaska, with a $700 million net worth. Grantseekers in the region ought to know this deep-pocketed funder. The Gillam Foundation has a single philanthropic focus: supporting the 49th state. 

While it appears that the Gillam Foundation had more of a web presence in the past, and clearer ways for grantseekers to get in touch, what we know of recent grantmaking suggests a steady commitment to education, more specifically scholarships. In fact, the Gillam Foundation runs a scholarship program which has given away dozens of college scholarships under $10,000 annually to graduating Alaska high school seniors. More than $1.5 million has been given away through this program since its inception. In 2010, for instance, $155,000 was awarded to 30 high school seniors in the state. It's worth noting, however, that the current status of the scholarship program is unclear, and a 2013 form 990 indicated that the program was currently suspended.

Gillam has also funded his alma mater UPenn to support Alaska native arts research studies, and supported Education Matters, which aims to raise the achievement bar so that Anchorage high school graduates are competitive. Sums have also gone to Covenant House in Anchorage, which serves thousands of homeless, at-risk, and trafficked youth in Alaska. Gillam has also supported the mayor's economic summit in the past.

Again, the theme here is Alaska, and while the foundation's recent grantmaking isn't as transparent as it once was, this is a funder of which people working in this region should be aware. 

Related: Robert Gillam Guide