Dennis McMillian, Foraker’s president and CEO, has been traveling around the state presenting the results of a study conducted in 2007 and updated in 2010 by the University of Alaska's Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) on the economic impact of the nonprofit sector in Alaska. During his presentation in Juneau, the Juneau Empire did not adequately source the material McMillian was quoting. That story was also picked up by the Anchorage Daily News. Alaskans who read those stories may be asking themselves where McMillian got the information. The executive summary from the ISER study is posted on Foraker's website and provides that information.
Some of McMillian's quotes were taken out of context. He was asked why Alaskans did not give more money to nonprofits and he suggested that over-dependence on the federal government and oil industry as a possible reason. Some individuals may think they don't need to financially support nonprofits because other entities are already doing it.
The points from the ISER research that McMillian made in addition to those that were printed in the articles were:
- The reasons why our wealthiest citizens give less could include:
- Over-dependence on federal support,
- Over-dependence on the oil industry, or
- Lack of solicitation by nonprofits in a way that encourages individuals to give at appropriate levels.
- Some studies on giving habits of Alaskans rate us at or near the bottom compared to other states. However, we have not always been ranked in that position.
- Too many nonprofits exist in Alaska and this has made it difficult to find enough board members to steward each organization.
We understand that all these issues are worth further discussion and we continue to look for opportunities to share our findings and participate in a healthy debate about positive ways to improve the sustainability of our sector.
We encourage you to read the ISER study on our website and discuss it with your organization.
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