Inception of the Golden Heart Community Foundation

The Golden Heart Community Foundation (GHCF) is very grateful to The Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) and the Rasmuson Foundation for their encouragement and support for the Fairbanks area to promote localized philanthropy. Their partnership resulted in the CABI (Community Asset Building Initiative) which was vital for the interior of Alaska to take the first step to form the GHCF and become an Affiliate of ACF.

The Golden Heart Community Foundation is a permanent fund for the Fairbanks and North Pole areas and surrounding regions. Your gifts will be part of a long-term endowment. The interest earned from this endowment is given to local nonprofits through a competitive grant cycle each year. Your gifts will continue giving in perpetuity. These grants nurture and enhance the quality of life of the residents in the Fairbanks and North Pole areas. The Golden Heart Community Foundation is building this lasting endowment with community donations to support causes that Interior Alaskans care about. We are preserving prosperity and creating the best quality of life for the people of Fairbanks, North Pole, and our surrounding communities.

The Beginning

In March of 2012, Ed Rasmuson (Rasmuson Foundation), Susan Foley (ACF Board, Past Chair) and Candace Winkler (ACF, President and CEO) came to Fairbanks and met with 30 community members for lunch. A presentation was given that explained the CABI program, which was to encourage localized philanthropy in communities across Alaska. Four new Affiliates were to be chosen from a pool of applicant communities in early 2013 and the Rasmuson Foundation offered a matching gift component to the new Affiliates’ unrestricted endowment fund.

Soon after the visit, several attendees from the lunch organized and published an announcement for three community meetings. Morning and noon meetings were held at the Morris Thompson Building, and an evening meeting was held at the Noel Wien Library. ACF representatives explained the role of an Affiliate and the role of the lead Foundation (ACF) and answered questions from community members. The attendance was good and there was a consensus and enthusiasm to pursue becoming an Affiliate. A local steering committee was then formed.

The Application

In October of 2012, ACF hosted a two-day Affiliate Gathering in Anchorage for potential and current Affiliates. Six Fairbanks representatives joined others from Cordova, Haines, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Petersburg, Seward, Sitka, Talkeetna and Valdez. The hook was set deeper and the six vowed to take the next steps to apply for the CABI program on behalf of the greater Fairbanks area communities and officially become an Affiliate of ACF.

The committee of six (“the gang of six”) met over the next two months to create the application materials and build support in the community.

Meetings with other interested residents were called to edit and polish the application. On December 5, 2012, a 39-page application was submitted. On January 15, 2013, a formal letter was received, announcing ACF was “…pleased and honored to extend a formal invitation to the communities within the Golden Heart of Alaska to become an Affiliate of ACF.” At a March 4, 2013, Fairbanks meeting, Advisory Board members were elected, officers were chosen, and the Affiliate Agreement was signed and submitted to ACF. GHCF was born.

Building Our Community Fund

Between the newly formed Advisory Board, articles in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner announcing the new Affiliate, presentations at Rotary luncheons, Estate Planning groups, word of mouth, and helpful support from the ACF staff, donations began to accumulate. Donations made in 2013 to the unrestricted endowment fund are classified as from Founding Donors.

The Founding Donors are the people whose vision of what GHCF, an Affiliate of ACF, could be. Their willingness in 2013 to commit, support and believe in the potential of GHCF, made the dream possible to provide an avenue for anyone to leave a legacy for the area dear to their heart.

By June 1st, 2013, after being less than 6 months old, GHCF met the first Rasmuson match challenge to the unrestricted endowment fund. The current goal is to continue educating our area residents about the existence of GHCF and to continue to build the unrestricted endowment fund for the future needs of our community. GHCF looks forward to working with nonprofits and other local foundations to encourage philanthropy and bring people together to address issues that affect our area.

Now in 2022, our grant endowment is approaching $1,000,000 with our “Make It a Million” campaign!