FAIRBANKS (AP) A Fairbanks company that helps nonprofits find funding sources helped Bush communities last year raise at least $12 million for computers, after-school programs and even a multipurpose building.
The 5-year-old company, Grant Station, provides an online database of 3,000 to 4,000 potential funders. Clients pay $599 a year for access to the information, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
The Denali Commission, created at the urging of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens to funnel federal money to the Bush, bought 300 rural communities one-year memberships to the service last year.
Grant Station President Cynthia Adams said about 200 have chosen to renew and pay half the membership fee while the Denali Commission pays the other half.
Adams started the company as an offshoot to Alaska Funding Exchange, a company now based in Juneau, which she established 14 years ago to research and write grants for nonprofit organizations.
''We had collected so much information ... that we decided to create an online database,'' Adams said of the evolution to Grant Station, which is located at the Campus Corner Mall. The company employs seven people.
''Our database has foundations, corporate giving programs, religious funding sources, a variety of associations that make grants and a select number of federal grant programs as well,'' Adams said.
The Louden Tribal Council used the database to find funding for a new softball field. The council received $13,500 from The Charlotte Martin Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Seattle.
The money went toward leveling the old ballfield, planting grass and buying a proper backstop. The old backstop was homemade using chicken wire.
''Softball is really popular here,'' said Cindy Pilot, tribal operations director for the council, which is based in Galena, an Interior village of 675 people.
Other rural communities that have obtained grants using Grant Station include Sitka, whose school district received two grants together worth $150,000; Ugashik Traditional Village, which received a $17,000 grant; and Venetie, whose tribal government received two grants together worth $200,000, according to a poll of communities completed by Dittman Research Corp.
Taber Rehbaum, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Fairbanks Area, said her agency once used Grant Station to obtain $5,000 from the Kmart Foundation. The money was split between Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau.
''It allowed us to match more kids,'' Rehbaum said.
Her agency doesn't subscribe to Grant Station but the grant writer she contracts with does.
''This product that she has created is really a way of keeping up with technology and making it as easy as it can be to find appropriate funders,'' Rehbaum said.
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