Photo: Viktor Hanacek

Those who want to lend a helping hand to their neighbors in need can take advantage of a new statewide fund that connects them with Alaskans who are facing dire economic hardships from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Alaska Community Foundation and the United Way of Anchorage have open the new AK Can Do fund with gifts from the Rasmuson Foundation and the Wells Fargo Foundation. The fund is designed to quickly get support to nonprofit organizations that are essential for the quality of life in Alaskan communities and families unexpectedly needing help paying rent and utilities.

“One thing I know about Alaskans is that we are generous and look out for one another,” said Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO Diane Kaplan. “This new fund is intended to let Alaskans do what we do best: give those of us in need a helping hand.”

Sealaska, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, Doyon Limited, and KeyBank Foundation have pledged gifts to the fund as well, according to a press release from the United Way. Total donations from organizations and individuals already exceed over half-a-million dollars.

“Sealaska has a unique opportunity to help our state during this unprecedented time of need,” said Sealaska communications director Matt Carle. “As we navigate this crisis, we believe we have a responsibility to support our neighbors and partner with other organizations who are helping our communities deal with these unexpected hardships and addressing critical gaps.”

In-kind marketing support is being provided by Spawn Ideas, GCI and Alaska Public Media, with other donors covering all administrative expenses so 100% of donations go directly to providing aid.  

In the past three weeks, more than $175,000 in donations to United Way of Anchorage were quickly distributed to more than 100 Anchorage-area families stricken with job losses as food service, retail auto services and hospitality businesses close, according to a press release.

 Donations can be made online at AKCanDo.org.