The mission of The CIRI Foundation is to promote individual self-development and economic self-sufficiency through education and to maintain pride in culture and heritage among Alaska Natives who are original enrollees of Cook Inlet region and their descendants.

The major goal of The CIRI Foundation is to encourage the education and career development of The Foundation’s Alaska Native beneficiaries through post-secondary scholarships and grants, research and other education projects.

A second goal is to perpetuate and enhance the heritage of Cook Inlet region’s Alaska Native people through programs that foster appreciation and understanding by the general public.

As part of its mission, The CIRI Foundation strives to support continued living traditions through selected heritage publications and media productions that enhance appreciation and understanding of Alaska Native cultures among all people.

Earnings from its endowments and other private donations fund The Foundation. Because it is a non-profit organization with a charitable purpose, The Foundation is exempt from federal income tax under the IRS Code Section 501(c)(3).

Through post-secondary scholarships and grants, internship opportunities, research and other education projects, The Foundation, as a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has helped to fulfill one of CIRI’s major corporate goals, “to improve the lives of its shareholders.”


The CIRI Foundation (TCF) is a private foundation established in 1982 by the Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) Board of Directors to encourage education and career development of Alaska Native original enrollees of CIRI, their direct lineal descendants and Alaska Native voting CIRI shareholders .

Since its establishment in 1982, The CIRI Foundation has contributed more than $42 million for the Alaska Native beneficiaries of CIRI to participate in post-secondary education. Approximately $4.1 million has been awarded through TCF’s Education and Heritage Project Grant Program toward non-profit organization projects that further the goals of The CIRI Foundation.

Private sector contributions are the primary source of funds for the programs and administration of The Foundation. The major source of private sector funds is derived from earnings from The Foundation’s several endowments, of which Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) is the primary contributor.


The CIRI/TCF Fall Friendship Potlatch is a modern version of the potlatch which has evolved out of historic Athabascan traditions.  The Potlatch was adapted to reflect the customs today, of the diverse heritage of urban Cook Inlet region families of southcentral Alaska. Friendship Potlatches are still held for similar reasons as those potlatches of years past – to strengthen the identity of Cook Inlet region people, to reaffirm unity among the region’s families, to confirm the importance of the family, and to revitalize the traditions of the region’s Alaska Natives.  It reflects the cultural diversity of the region’s indigenous people and the blend of traditional and present-day customs.

Beginning with our first fall Friendship Potlatch in 1985, these special events have honored the cultural diversity and interests of our region’s Alaska Natives with cultural entertainment programs, children’s cultural activities, Alaska Native fine arts and crafts displays, information booths, lunch service that includes traditional foods and door prizes.