NATIONAL FOUNDATION OFFERS $600,000 TO SUPPORT ALASKA NATIVE ARTS AND CULTURE

(ANCHORAGE, AK) – The CIRI Foundation (TCF) has been selected to distribute more than half a million dollars in grants to promote Alaska Native arts and culture, as part of a new grantmaking partnership with Margaret A. Cargill Foundation (MACF). The CIRI Foundation’s board of directors formally approved the agreement in April.

The partnership will provide TCF with an additional $200,000 per year for three years to promote projects that encourage Native culture and artistic techniques to be passed down from generation to generation. The funding is also aimed at helping Alaska Native artists hone their business skills.

“It is an incredible honor to be selected for this important initiative,” said Susan Anderson, president and CEO of The CIRI Foundation. “Our team will work hard to ensure we fulfill the intent of this generous gift to benefit our Native heritage and the state of Alaska.”

Celebrating its 31st anniversary this month, TCF is the largest private foundation of its kind serving the needs of Alaska Native people. The foundation provides educational scholarships to original enrollees of CIRI and their descendants, and funds project grants to improve education as well as in the area of preservation and perpetuation of the cultural heritage of Alaska Native people. Each year approximately 85 percent of TCF funds are awarded to students pursuing their educational goals and 15 percent is awarded as project grants.

“As a leading philanthropic organization in Alaska, TCF shares goals and interests with its new partner,” Anderson said. “Rather than re-invent the wheel, MACF wanted to work with organizations that know the state, are familiar with the culture and have a good understanding of the programs that can most effectively achieve their philanthropic objectives.”

The funds from MACF will roughly double the amount TCF is able to award annually in project grants.

“This is a tremendous contribution for the state of Alaska,” Anderson said. “For TCF, the challenge will be to put that money into the hands of those who can develop innovative approaches to enlighten and inspire the next generation to carry on our cultural heritage.”

Margaret A. Cargill directed the creation of her namesake foundation upon her passing in 2006. Among the goals of the foundation is the preservation and promotion of Native American arts and culture.
For more information on The CIRI Foundation or their educational and cultural heritage grants, please visit www.thecirifoundation.org.