Our Story

Our core purpose is to strengthen nonprofits.

Who We Are

The Foraker Group is a 501(c)(3) organization.  Our core purpose is to strengthen nonprofits.

Our deep commitment to advancing dedicated, skilled, and compassionate professionals and volunteers to serve Alaska’s nonprofit and tribal organizations is guided by the Foraker Nonprofit Sustainability Model.

We know that for vital nonprofits that serve our communities and bolster our economy to succeed, they need to be strong, stable, and ready to innovate and collaborate. Foraker offers Alaska nonprofits and tribes the knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to thrive.

Remaining relevant to our Partners and Alaska’s nonprofit sector is key to our success. Our Theory of Change articulates the way we work with organizations, their leaders, and the sector as a whole, as well as the outcomes we expect at various points of engagement. At the same time we are listening and soliciting feedback from our Partners, funders, and the sector to help us stay on track and achieve greater impact. Together, the model and the theory provide the basis for our accountability and assure that our programs and services remain dynamic and vital resources for the sector.

You have our commitment to provide mission-centered, creative, high quality, and cost-effective services to all regions of Alaska. Our approach is rooted in our core values to meet you as staff, board, and volunteers where you currently exist, working with you to foster new skills, collaborative partnerships, sustainability, and strategic thinking.

Our Values

Foraker’s core values are words that motivate us to achieve our core purpose by weaving the essence of these ideas into every product and service we offer.

These values are: Sustainability – Strategic – Collaborative – Urban/Rural/Native/Non-Native. The last value reflects our commitment to serving all Alaska’s people and communities.

What We Believe

We hold fast to a set of ideas that provide a fundamental and underlying rationale for our work. These are the foundational perspectives that are woven throughout our core values. These are the ideas that guide us and keep us oriented in the right direction.

At Foraker, we are dedicated to the ideas that:

  • The nonprofit sector is essential to our democracy. Nonprofits bring people together to create change and provide a voice for civil society.
  • Nonprofits are a part of everyday lives. Every day we as Alaskans rely on nonprofits to support our health and well-being, stand-up for causes that matter, bring people together, teach our young, care for our elderly, and so much more. Donors, volunteers, and staff work to improve our communities in both visible and invisible ways every day.
  • Successful leaders are supported leaders. We need support from one another to achieve our greatest goals.
  • No organization can achieve mission on its own. It is only when we connect, convene, and collaborate to strengthen relationships that we achieve something greater than ourselves and any one institution.
  • Leaders make better decisions when they represent the communities they serve. Decisions made with a community are more viable than decisions made for a community.
  • Local leaders make things happen. Community change is driven by local leaders. Collectively they best know their needs and solutions.
  • Strong nonprofits build strong communities. When nonprofits work together within and across sectors, they solve complex problems, create opportunities for quality of life, and offer invaluable networks and connections that strengthen our sense of place.
  • Vibrant economies need nonprofits. Nonprofits contribute to the wealth and resources of each region in our state by creating jobs, leveraging resources, promoting philanthropic investments, and engaging people in using their voice for the greater good.

Where We Are Going

We believe in setting clear goals to lead us into the future. We have strategic goals as well as public policy priorities. Our strategic plan guides our work beyond “business as usual” and propels us to accomplish our goals in partnership with the sector.

Long-term goal (2021): Lead innovative systems change in order to strengthen the ability of Alaska nonprofits to significantly improve our communities.

Achieving our long-term goal:  Our values and theory of change articulate the way we work with organizations, leaders, and the sector to achieve our goals. They ensure that we provide excellence to our current programs and services while we strive to achieve new goals.. The Foraker Group will act as a leader, catalyst, convener, innovator, and connector for the Alaska nonprofit sector to achieve this goal.

Our Founding

In 1998, the United Way of Anchorage surveyed its agencies to determine what services they needed and would be willing to use in a pooled organization. Their initial list was long, but the four highest demands were assistance in fundraising, planned giving, finance, and technology. A model was developed based on bringing together capacity building programs in these four areas under one nonprofit umbrella. This model is The Foraker Group.

We officially began serving the Alaska nonprofit sector in January 2001, after it secured the major financial support from the Rasmuson Foundation, United Way of Anchorage, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, ConocoPhillips Alaska, and BP Alaska. Dennis McMillian was Foraker’s the founding President/CEO who expertly guided the organization for 15 years.

Today, we offer a wide range of services and educational programs that help assure the success of Alaska’s nonprofit sector.

How We Chose Our Name

Our name came from a special place that is part of the rugged beauty that surrounds us.  Standing next to Denali is a lesser known peak called Mount Foraker. Back in 2001, Foraker seemed an appropriate name for our new organization. We viewed Denali as a metaphor for the nonprofit sector with Mount Foraker standing right next to it. Foraker is part of the landscape but does not overshadow Denali, the highly esteemed landmark for Alaskans.

In the same way, The Foraker Group “stands beside” Alaska’s nonprofit professionals, working with them to build effective, strategic, and sustainable organizations.