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A message from Foraker’s President/CEO Laurie Wolf:
As nonprofit leaders we make difficult financial decisions every day and are driven to do what is best for the communities and people we serve. We know that the essential services we provide, the gifts we create for our communities, and the economic opportunities that are derived from our sector all work because we do it as partners with government, business and industry, and individual philanthropists. No one operates in a vacuum, and we need each other. Even if your organization receives no direct government funding, each decision by our policy makers has an impact on the people and places we serve. This is Alaska – we are all connected.
When faced with a drastic budget proposal earlier this year, Alaskans spoke up and reached out to legislators to let them know what was important in their communities. While we still face some of the largest programming cuts in Alaska’s history, many are breathing a sigh of relief because the options were so much worse. This is just the beginning, though, and I encourage each of you to see public policy as an essential element of your mission. Whether it is standing up for the communities where you live, or communicating directly with your legislators, or getting involved to ensure a full and accurate count of every Alaskan in the 2020 Census, we strongly encourage you to get engaged.
In each message you deliver, we encourage you to dispel the myths of your work. Highlight how your mission is serving Alaska communities, and how we are part of, but not the sole solution, to the challenges that face Alaskans. I encourage you to be at the table for discussions and decisions so that decisions made about us are made with us. In this way, we can focus on building an Alaska that works for all Alaskans.
For those who have a partnership with government to deliver services in Alaska, this is the time to plan for a shutdown or delay in receiving funds – two possibilities that will have an impact on all of us. Of particular concern in the operating budget is the authorization for releasing Medicaid funds. Delay in approving this budget means delay in Medicaid payments for all providers. This will result in significant and serious consequences for every Alaska health and human service provider and those we serve.
We encourage you to understand your cash flow options. Talk to your financial institutions and your funders about options. And, certainly, talk with board and staff about options. This is not the time to just cross your fingers and hope for the best. There are simply too many Alaskans who depend on the work you do every day. We hope that the governor and legislature will avoid a shutdown. But regardless of what decisions are made, having a plan is simply an important tool for board and staff leadership now and in the future.
At Foraker we are proud to be the nonpartisan, nonprofit voice of our sector – telling the story of your incredible work every day. We endeavor to work closely with government at every level and in many ways. We are standing with all of you as we work to create and sustain an Alaska that works for all of us.