October 11, 2011; Anchorage Daily News | Taxpayers in Alaska receive yearly disbursements from something called “the Permanent Fund Dividend,” which shares a portion of the state’s oil wealth with individuals. This year’s disbursement, at $1,174, was the smallest amount since 2006; but still, enough people elected to make donations to charity from those disbursements as to result in $1.5 million, which will be passed along to nonprofits. Many of these payments, made through a program called Pick, Click, Give, add up to modest totals, though we are sure they are welcome. Among the big winners is Alaska Telecommunications, which runs public radio and television stations, and which received $69,374. Animal rescue groups were also well represented. But most of the nonprofits receiving more than $10,000 were social service organizations like the Food Bank of Alaska, which can certainly use the $53,008 it received; like so many food programs around the nation, it has seen a significant increase in need. This is the third year of the program, with 5,000 people giving in the first year and 9,500 donating in the second. This year, 19,000 people chose to donate this way.
The program is a public-private partnership that has involved Alaska Department of Revenue, with assistance from United Way of Anchorage, the Foraker Group, the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Alaska Community Foundation.—Ruth McCambridge