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Dec 5, 2018
Posted Under: President's letter

Like you many of you in Southcentral Alaska, I have a story to tell about the last few days – a story of incredible fear, deep gratitude, and an unexplainable combination of exhaustion and exhilaration. To say anything more specific is too hard at the moment. But over time, I and others will heal from this terrifying experience. What I can say now is that Alaskans responded in the most magnificent ways. So many of our government entities mobilized in moments. Our nonprofits responded without a pause. And individual Alaskans stepped in and stepped up to help each other. As a life-long Alaskan I knew the incredible power of our community, but until last Friday’s unimaginable test of our strength, I had not seen us all in action at once for the same purpose. And oh, what a blessing.

While I want to turn my attention to resources for our sector, I first want to add my deepest appreciation to the many Alaskans who build and fix our roads, create and enforce building and bridge safety codes, ensure our public safety, and make sure our water and power are working. To all of those Alaskans, WOW does not even begin to express your response. And to all those teachers, principals, and administrators who kept our children safe at school in the scariest of times – thank you. As our team at Foraker, like other parents throughout the district, rushed to get their kids from school, we knew that you had them in safe in hand – and that was a gift beyond words. Thanks, also, to our local media for your efforts to keep us all informed. You did not sensationalize or create undo fear. Instead, you gave us the facts as they unfolded and corrected information as it was available. Personally, being able to tune in to public broadcasting to  hear personal stories and friendly voices was what public broadcasting is all about- a true lifeline for Alaskans.

So now, while we continue to rebuild after an event that certainly could have been so much worse, we want to be a resource for you—the nonprofit sector.

We know you are doing more than you planned to do right now – and that you are rising to the occasion. We also know that most if not all of you have never done this before. While many reading this newsletter don’t live or work in Southcentral Alaska, as Alaskans you know that earthquakes are part of our lives so what we have to share can benefit you too, either now or in the future.

Here is our plan with your help

We are in the process of collecting data on how you have been impacted by the earthquake so that we can mobilize a collective response and you can focus on recovery. We are working closely with funders and volunteers to avoid unnecessary confusion and to maximize results for you.  You can find recovery resources here – we’ll continue to update links as we know more.

How to participate right now:

  • If you have not answered our short survey about your organization’s immediate needs– click here.
  • Join us for a teleconference on Thursday at 1:00 pm to share support and learn from others.
  • If you have resources or information to offer to support the sector, please share them with us.
  • Stay informed. The reporters at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Radio have important information and resources for you. Check these resources for tips on how to talk with your children, changes in traffic routes, updates on city and borough infrastructure, and other important public safety information.

There is more coming from us and our nonprofit and community partners. We will keep the communication lines open so we can all stay informed and connected.

For those of you not in Southcentral Alaska – thank you for reaching out to your nonprofit colleagues with offers of help. Thanks for thinking about how to help from within the state and across the country. Thanks for helping all of us help our community. We are all in this work together.

For those of us in Southcentral – especially in our hardest hit neighborhoods and communities like Big Lake, Eagle River, and many parts of Anchorage – while we are running to meet all of our community’s needs and picking up our personal spaces, let’s also remember that we have to catch our breath. Let’s remember to stop and take care of our hearts and our minds. This was traumatic for many of us and will take longer to heal than likely all the things we can see. Be gentle with each other. Tell your story. Ask for help. Get support. Know that we are standing by your side every step of the way.

With much gratitude,

Laurie