Rasmuson Foundation gives $1 million grants to clinics

Posted: Sunday, February 09, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Two Fairbanks area health clinics have received $1 million each from the Rasmuson Foundation.

Interior Community Health Center and Fairbanks Community Mental Health Center will use the money toward constructing new facilities. The new buildings are needed because both clinics are expanding more than their current locations can handle.

''We're spread out over town,'' said Suzanne Price, executive director of the mental health center. The organization helps about 400 area children and adults with mental health needs.

Each clinic has a goal of about $7 million for land, materials and construction of the new buildings, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. The million-dollar grants are from a foundation established in honor of the late banking tycoon E.A. Rasmuson in 1955 to support nonprofit organizations in Alaska.

Cheryl Kilgore, executive director of the Interior Community Health Center, said her clinic has raised all but $1.5 million of its goal. Groundbreaking on the new facility is planned for spring.

The agency, which caters to the uninsured and underinsured, started raising funds for the new facility about 18 months ago. The new building will help meet increasing demand for more services, Kilgore said.

''We found out right before Christmas,'' she said of the $1 million from the Rasmuson Foundation. ''It was like, how could you have a better holiday?''

Price, whose organization has just begun raising money, said the mental health center has an option to buy some land on South Cushman Street. The center has applied for a $2.5 million loan from the federal government and plans to sell some property to help pay for the new facility.

The Rasmuson Foundation distributed a total of $16.6 million to nonprofit groups in the state last year.

Most grants by the Rasmuson Foundation are in the tens of thousands of dollars and only one other agency received a grant in the millions. A vocational learning center in Bethel received $2 million to erect a new building.

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