(ANCHORAGE, AK – Feb. 10, 2014)— The CIRI Foundation (TCF) approved nearly $49,000 in heritage grants from its new program, A Journey To What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Arts and Culture.  

TCF’s new fund category launched in late 2013 and was designed to enhance the existing efforts of TCF in supporting Alaska Native arts and culture and nearly doubles the amount of funding available for such grants.

“Our heritage grants have always been an important part of TCF’s mission. Our new funding allows TCF to increase revitalization and awareness of Alaska Native arts and culture and the role of heritage programs in supporting those efforts on a regional, statewide and national level, says Ms. Susan Anderson, President/CEO of The CIRI Foundation.

The first grantee, the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, used TCF funds to support a fish skin sewing workshop and Alaska Native artist business training opportunity that took place in Bethel during early February 2014. This program was in partnership with the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Native Arts Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center in Bethel, AK.

The workshop was designed to revitalize the art of fish skin processing and sewing and fish skin used as textiles in Alaska Native communities. By encouraging the continuation of this traditional art form, TCF hopes to support artists in the reinforcement of the local history and culture of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. Completed works created via the workshop will be showcased at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation.

The second grantee, the Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC), will use TCF funds to support 36 master Alaska Native artists during ANHC’s 15th Anniversary Celebration this summer. They will have 15 apprentices to work with and encourage the continuation of Alaska Native artistic traditions and raise awareness of Alaska Native art to the general public.

“The arts connect us to our history and culture, and help to keep our communities vibrant. We are proud to be able to support the important work that many individuals and organizations are doing to encourage passing on the knowledge and tradition of Alaska Native arts through the A Journey to What Matters grant program,” says Nadia Sethi, TCF Program Officer.

TCF additionally awarded $60,000 in other heritage grant funds and awarded more than 120 individual scholarships and grants, totaling nearly $320,000 in awards, at their December 1, 2013 deadline.

The next deadlines are as follows: project grants – March 1, June 1, Sept. 1 and Nov. 1. The next vocational training grant deadline is March 31 and June 1 for degree-seeking students. For information about TCF’s funding opportunities, please

About The CIRI Foundation The CIRI Foundation’s (TCF) primary goal during the past 31 years has been to encourage the education and career development of Alaska Native enrollees and their descendants of Cook Inlet Region. A second, and equally important goal, has been to perpetuate, promote and enhance the heritage of the Region’s indigenous people through programs that foster appreciation and understanding about the Region’s Native traditions. The Foundation and its programs are funded primarily by its nine endowments and private donations. TCF was established in 1982 by Cook Inlet Region, Inc.