New organization offers assistance to nonprofit agencies

Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska's nonprofit organizations will be in line for help with the business side of their operations thanks to a new group.

An organization called The Foraker Group will offer skilled services to nonprofit agencies in functions they often can't afford, such as grant writing, financial management, accounting and training.

The new group will be headed by Dennis McMillian, who will remain at his present post as executive director of the United Way.

Foraker, named after the mountain that stands beside Mount McKinley, is the first such enterprise in the country, McMillian said. Other places have organized shared services in specific operations, but no one has attempted to provide such a broad range, he said.

The idea of creating a central repository of expert and technical services for the hundreds of nonprofit agencies in Alaska has been kicking around for years, McMillian said Friday. But it really got moving about 18 months ago when banker Elmer Rasmuson expressed an interest in making it happen, he said.

A $700,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, plus expected donations of about $600,000 each from BP and Phillips Alaska, and support from the United Way, will allow the group to get established. It will sell services to the other agencies at reduced rates and expects to be self-supporting in about three years, McMillian said.

Money saved by using the shared services offered by Foraker means agencies will be able to spend more of their income on services, said Ed Rasmuson, president of the Rasmuson Foundation.

Although organized by the United Way, the Foraker services will be open to all Alaska nonprofits, said spokeswoman Sue Marchant.

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