Local organizations benefit from state PFD donation program

A flat-screen television. A digital camera. Paying off debt. These are options that come to mind when contemplating future Alaska Permanent Fund dividends. Yet, while many indulge in purchasing consumer products, others choose to give back. 

 

Starting Jan. 1, Kenai Peninsula residents can donate a portion of their share to 10 different local organizations using the PFD program Pick.Click.Give. Education- and charity-oriented organizations participate in the program. 

Boys and Girls Club of Kenai Peninsula, South Peninsula Haven House and Kenai Historical Society signed up to participate. 

The Alaska Legislature created the program in 2008, allowing Alaskans filing for their PFD online to donate all or part of the money to select organizations or community foundations. After a three-year pilot project, it is now a permanent part of the PFD process. 

Haven House has participated in the program all three years, and it’s signed up to receive donations in 2012. 

Each year, the women’s shelter received about $2,000 in donations through Pick.Click.Give., said Peg Coleman, executive director. 

She said most of the shelter’s programs require matching received grants with personal funding. For example, its Child Advocacy Centers, which provides services to sexually or physically abused children at facilities in Homer and Kenai, operate with the help of a $191,000 grant. The shelter needs to match 20 percent of the grant, Coleman said.

“These community contributions are key to providing basic services,” she said. “They support our shelter, prevention and education programs, as well as families devastated by violence.”

Donors can designate their contributions to specific programs, or even geographical areas. 

“If someone from Seldovia wants to reserve their money for that community, we’re able to do that,” she said. 

During the PFD process, donors contribute to organizations but not toward specific programs within an organzation. However, their names show up on the donor list, and they can request a preference from Haven House. 

Kenai Historical Society isn’t as fortunate. For the two years the organization participated in the program it received about $500, said Betty Idleman, historical society president. 

“We donated part of the money to the reconstruction of an old Russian church,” she said. 

Idleman said the society signed up to participate in the 2012 program, but it probably won’t the following year. 

“It’s costing more than the donations we’re getting,” she said. 

The application process for the program is $250. Additional requirements exist, such as licensure as a charitable or educational organization. 

In 2011, the program raised $1.57 million. For 2012, program managers set a goal of raising at least $2 million for Alaska nonprofits with an increase in individual participation of 5,000 people for a total goal of 23,800 participants. The monetary goal would represent an increase of 27 percent. 

Contributions are changeable. If donors e-sign their PFD application they can withdraw their contribution selections. 

For more information visit www.pickclickgive.org.

 

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