As the President and CEO of the Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC), I write this from a place of gratitude, appreciation, and love from my office in Anchorage, Alaska, that sits on the traditional homelands of the Dena’ina people.
It is not every day that ANHC has the incredible opportunity to write a response to MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, who announced their recent philanthropic commitments. ANHC was one of 286 organizations to receive an unrestricted gift as part of a revolutionary journey of giving from Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett, who donated an unprecedented $8 billion to charitable organizations since July 2020.
This gift to ANHC opens up amazing new possibilities that will further support our mission to preserve and strengthen the traditions, languages, and art of Alaska’s Native People through statewide collaboration, celebration, and education. This gift will propel the economic vitality and sustainability of ANHC and has the ability to positively impact Alaska Native people, the communities in which we live, and quite possibly the world in which we live.
ANHC was created in 1989 and was born out of the vision to be a community and healing place for all Alaska Natives coming to Anchorage, which is often referred to as Alaska’s largest village. ANHC was also formed with two goals in mind: To provide a central location for access by our community and create a significant endowment to support ongoing programmatic and operating expenses. After 20 years, there is still much work to do to achieve the envisioned endowment. Continuing to strive to establish this endowment supports the founders’ original vision that we remain committed to today.
Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett’s work embodies these cherished Alaska Native values: Share What You Have, Giving Makes You Richer, of not taking more than you need, of sharing with others, and finally, of how all things are related. In its simplest form, this gift will allow ANHC to write a new book – not just a new chapter. It is an honor to write these pages with supporters like Mackenzie Scott and Dan Jewett.
As I reflect on gratitude, appreciation, and love…I am struck by how remarkable it feels to witness the authenticity, grace, vulnerability, and generosity of people and organizations from all walks of life in support of voices the world needs to hear.
On behalf of the Alaska Native Heritage Center board and staff, Quyanaqpak, thank you very much, Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett, for your incredible gift and for including ANHC as part of your giving family.
To the other 285 organizations, congratulations! Your work is important, and we have all only scratched the surface.
To current and past ANHC board/committee members, donors, partners, volunteers, artists, and the thousands of visitors to our facility each year, Quyanaqpak, for believing in and supporting our mission. We could not do our work without your support and partnership.
To the incredibly mission-driven team at ANHC – thank you for your hard work and dedication. Your work has been taking place against a backdrop of persistence, rooted in compassion and commitment. I am in constant awe of all you do and all we can accomplish together.
To everyone – take care of others as you cannot live without them and strive to see connections as all things are related.
About the Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a nonprofit organization that preserves and strengthens the traditions, languages, and art of Alaska’s Native People through statewide collaboration, celebration, and education. It is located at 8800 Heritage Center Drive in northeast Anchorage, just off Muldoon Road North near Bartlett High School. For more information about other events and programs, visit www.alaskanative.net.