Alaska Native Fund Grants Top $170,000 

Anchorage, Alaska, January 22, 2014 – Entering its third year, the Alaska Native Fund distributed $173,484 to Alaska Native organizations and individuals supporting indigenous projects protecting lands, waters and ways of life.  In 2014, the Alaska Native Fund is providing grants to 13 Alaska Native organizations and 3 Alaska Native individuals. 

The Alaska Native Fund is an innovative grant program that supports projects integrating indigenous knowledge into issues of food security, sustainable economic development, alternative energy solutions, environmental health, and climate change.  In a partnership with the Alaska Conservation Foundation, the all-indigenous Alaska Native Fund Steering Committee has awarded over $415,000 from requests totaling more than $1 million since its inception.

With support from the Alaska Native Fund, the Organized Village of Kasaan has been able to successfully establish the Prince of Wales Tribal Sea Otter Commission.  The four federally recognized Tribes on Prince of Wales Island have been utilizing the Marine Mammal Protection Act to assure a healthy sea otter stock, ecosystem sustainability, and to address Alaska Native hunter and artisan rights regarding the Northern Sea Otter.

 Thanks in part to three years of support from the Alaska Native Fund, the Tribal Sea Otter Commission is now poised to negotiate agreements with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “Without the Alaska Native Fund, we wouldn’t have been able to begin this project that is enabling us to bring our cultural ways back and providing income opportunities for families,” said Dennis Nickerson, Environmental Planner for the Organized Village of Kasaan. 

 “It’s exciting to see the innovations that Alaska Natives are putting forward.  As we prepare our younger leaders and support their work, it is crucial that it aligns with our values and the responsibilities we collectively have to our homelands and one another,” said Elizabeth Medicine Crow (Haida/Tlingit), originally from Kake and serving as an Alaska Native Fund Steering Committee member.

 For a complete list of 2014 ANF Grant Awards, read here.

Welcome new board of trustees and staff 

ACF is pleased to welcome five new members to our Board of Trustees: Amy Gulick (Puget Sound), Lisa Lang (Hydaburg), Dorothy Larson (Dillingham & Anchorage), Anna Plager (Fairbanks), and John Schoen (Fairbanks). We give heartfelt thanks to outgoing board members Verner Stor Wilson III and Drew Cason, who held Emerging Leader seats, and to Carol Kasza and David Hardenburgh for their many years of service to conservation. But, we are especially most grateful for their unwavering dedication to Alaska.

We are also delighted to report the following additions to the ACF staff: Michael Barber, Program Officer; Kris Richter, Administrative Assistant; Roy Corral, Donor Communications Manager and Teresa Head, HR/Operations Manager.

Program Officer transition announcement 

Program Officer Polly Carr is leaving ACF to become the Executive Director of Alaska Center for the Environment and Alaska Conservation Voters on June 17, 2013. 

ACF’s Executive Director Ann Rothe writes, “While we are sad to see Polly leave ACF, we are excited to see her step into this critical role and work with ACE and our many other partners to create an enduring and powerful legacy for conservation.” 

Polly joined the ACF team four years ago and has been instrumental in the creation and growth of two primary areas; The Alaska Native Fund, now in its third year of grant-making; and Transforming Alaska Conservation, a key initiative that resulted in a strategic community merger and increased collaboration among Alaska’s conservation advocacy organizations.  

The new Alaska Center for the Environment (ACE) is the product of the merger, and is now connected to a 501c(4) Alaska Conservation Voters.  Polly will oversee both organizations as they work in tandem for the sensible stewardship of Alaska’s natural resources and sustainable communities.

Of her transition, Polly says “I have mixed emotions about my departure from ACF.  We have a great team, and it has been an honor to partner with so many talented leaders and organizations working to protect Alaska’s cultures, communities, and incredible ecosystems.  I look forward to working with them and ACF in a new capacity in the future.”

Alaska Native Fund awards $142,000 in total funding for 2013 

We are pleased to report that in its second year, the Alaska Native Fund has awarded nine grants totaling $142,000 to support projects addressing indigenous environmental priorities and critical food security issues in Alaska Native communities. Join us in congratulating the grantees on their worthwhile projects and click here to learn more about their work.

2013 Grassroots Communities Mining Mini-Grant Program 

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Western Mining Action Network (WMAN)

The goal of the Mining Mini-grants Program is to support and enhance the capacity building efforts of mining-impacted communities in the U.S. and Canada to assure that mining projects do not adversely affect human, cultural, and the ecological health of communities.

Applications are accepted three times a year:  June 1, October 1, and February 1 (this month’s deadline has been extended)

Applicants will be notified of the funding decision within one month of the application deadline.

February 15 is the next deadline for applications to the IEN and WMAN mini-grant program.

Click here to learn more about the program and to download the application. (MS Word doc)

If you have any questions about the program or would like to discuss it further, contact Simone Senogles at the Indigenous Environmental Network (218) 751-4967, or Aimee Boulanger at the Western Mining Action Network, (360) 969-2028,

Merger promises greater conservation power 

In response to the high rate of Executive Director turnover and significant shifts in Alaska’s political and economic landscape, in 2009 ACF gathered conservation leaders to begin discussing the challenges hindering effectiveness and innovative strategies for addressing it. Through the Transformers process, these leaders from across Alaska concluded that significant changes in how they approach issues—and how they structure their organizations—are necessary to foster a more powerful movement.

In October 2012, the project reached a major milestone when long-time ACF partners Alaska Center for the Environment (ACE), Alaska Conservation Alliance (ACA), and Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) voted to merge into one.

Their new entity combines the three organization’s strengths: ACE’s grassroots presence and member base; ACA’s statewide policy coordination and advocacy; and AYEA’s leadership cultivation expertise. Through partnerships with other organizations involved in the Transformers process, the group will enhance communications, fundraising, and community organizing to achieve collective conservation goals.

“All of these areas of strength, under one roof, working in close coordination toward the same goals will make us stronger and more effective than we are separately,” said Andy Moderow, current Executive Director of the Alaska Conservation Alliance. In addition to building a more effective organization, the groups hope to achieve efficiencies with their combined resources.

Over the coming months, the organizations will integrate their staff, programs, and systems, while undergoing a branding assessment to determine the best name for the newly merged organization.

ACF has provided funding and strategic support to help the groups navigate the merger negotiations process, and is excited to see this next chapter unfold after so much hard work by all of the leaders and organizations involved. While Alaska is unique in many ways, its nonprofits face challenges similar to the rest of the country–decreased funding and increased competition for human and financial resources.

By actively choosing to rethink how they operate, Alaska conservation leaders are illustrating an incredible ability to adapt and innovate, and ultimately win on the issues threatening our communities and ecosystems.


ACF is moving! 

Effective September 24, 2012 ACF’s new address is: 911 West 8th Ave., Suite 300, Anchorage, AK 99501. Our phone number will still be (907) 276-1917. Stay tuned for an open house!

Boots, Bikes, and Bombers by Ginny Hill Wood – Available now 

Boots, Bikes, and Bombers is an intimate biography of Ginny Hill Wood, a pioneering Alaska conservationist,  outdoorswoman and one of the founders of Alaska Conservation Foundation.

Born in Washington in 1917, Wood served as a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot in
World War II, and flew a military surplus airplane to Alaska in 1946. Settling
in Fairbanks, she went on to co-found Camp Denali, Alaska’s first wilderness
ecotourism lodge; helped start the Alaska Conservation Society, the state’s
first environmental organization; and applied her love of the outdoors to her
work as a backcountry guide and an advocate for trail construction and

An innovative and collaborative life history, Boots, Bikes, and
, incorporates the story of friendship between the author and
subject. The resulting book is a valuable contribution to the history of Alaska
as well as a testament to the joys of living a life full of passion and

Alaska offers free energy training in June 

With a grant from AK Department of Labor, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council is holding 4 weeks of free trainings from Solar Energy International in Alaska. Schedule includes:

  • PV 101 – Grid-Tie Solar Electric Design and Installation (June 4-8)
  • PV 203 – Battery-Based Solar Electric Design and Installation (June 11-15)
  • Solar Thermal 101 – Solar Hot Water Design and Installation (June 25-29)
  • Wind Power 101 – Small Wind Power Design and Installation (July 16-20)

Learn more at

Alaska Native Fund Letters of Inquiry due July 15th 

The Alaska Native Fund was launched in 2011 by Alaska Conservation Foundation in partnership with an Alaska Native Fund Steering Committee. The Fund is designed to advance Alaska Native priorities for protecting the land, water, and wildlife integral to their way of life. In 2012, the Alaska Native Fund will grant up to $125,000 for projects that address food security, renewable energy and energy conservation, links between environmental and human health, climate change, and sustainable economic development.

Initial Letters of Inquiry will be due July 15, 2012. Click here for grant guidelines and additional information.


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