Students and staff at Petersburg schools will use grant money for a paper shredding business. (Photo courtesy of PCF)

The Petersburg Community Foundation this week announced its latest round of grants totaling $24,125 to programs and projects in Petersburg.

The eight grants go to non-profits, the school district, medical center and a project planned at Mountain View Manor.

Foundation board president Liz Cabrera said requests for funding come in each year from a wide cross section of the community.

“We have grants for youth support, youth organizations,” Cabrera said. “There’s a little bit of emphasis on child care this year and I think that has been an ongoing issue all year, not just here but across the country. And then we have arts and community activities and support for older adults at the manor. So I think a good cross section of the community is represented in the grant awards.”

Grants this year go to the Rainforest Festival for technology access to festival events for those who can’t attend in person and website support for the Petersburg Arts Council.

Another goes to the Petersburg Medical Center for an assessment of community needs for childcare and early childhood education. The school district wins a grant for a paper shredding program that could be a small business opportunity for special education students in the middle and high schools.

Grant money will also pay for maintenance work on the Petersburg Children’s Center and electrical upgrades at KFSK. There’s also money for playground equipment for Good Beginnings Preschool and the Kinder Skog after school program and a contribution to the Deck out the Deck project at Mountain View Manor.

The breakdown for grants is $2500 for the school district, $3000 for Good Beginnings Preschool, $1019 for the Rainforest Festival, $7000 for KFSK, $1350 for Petersburg Medical Center, $5306 for Petersburg Children’s Center, $1000 for the Petersburg Arts Council and $3000 for Mt. View Manor.

That money is paid out from the interest earnings from a permanent fund of sorts, started in 2008 to aid local programs, and under the umbrella of the Alaska Community Foundation. The local fund has paid out grants since 2009, totaling over 190-thousand dollars since then.

“It was simply with the seed money from the Rasmuson Foundation and they have continued to offer matching grants throughout the existence of this group,” said Sue Paulsen, a board member and one of the fund’s founding donors. “And so I believe we’re reaching towards a million dollars invested. And of course every time we find ourselves with a larger fund balance, it’s like the Alaska Permanent Fund. More interest is available for projects in Petersburg.”

The endowment fund is over $800,000 and could be growing again this year with more matching money. If Petersburg can raise $30,000 this year, the Rasmuson Foundation has pledged to match that amount.

In addition the foundation’s board may award more grants in 2021.

“So this last year we postponed our 2020 competitive grant cycle and actually turned those into discretionary grants just recognizing that there might be some unique needs in the community and so we still have some funds in that discretionary account,” said board president Cabrera. “And so we are still accepting letters of interest. These are generally more basic need, COVID related type of grant award. And so we still have some money, I think just under $20,000 available in that pot. And then would probably for another competitive grant cycle would probably wait until next year to do that.”

The foundation normally announces its grants during a gathering for donors around the Little Norway Festival weekend but is not planning that this year.

Donate online or find out more at the foundation’s website.