Only in Alaska is Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) filing a New Year’s family tradition. One that goes back to 1982 when the first checks were issued to every man, woman and child claiming residency in the 49th State and before anyone had heard of the internet. Applications had to be filled out and witnessed then posted before the deadline. In 2015 the majority of Alaskans will file electronically and in probably a quarter of the time with no postage required. And with the advent of electronic PFD filing a new “only in Alaska New Year’s tradition” started six years ago, the tradition of giving back to organizations that benefit all Alaskans through what is known as the Pick.Click.Give program. The inaugural year of Pick.Click.Give in 2009 saw 5,173 Alaskans contribute $545,000. “That was an exciting start,” said Josselyn O’Connor of the Kenai Watershed Forum, “but last year saw 26,773 statewide participants give $2,771,400 and that was huge for non-profits who are able to use these funds with more flexibility in their organizations because they are not restricted like grant funds and can go toward the greatest need,” she said.
For participating non-profits on the Peninsula it means they are reaching potential contributors outside of their local area, “We are receiving donations from Alaskans in Bethel and Kodiak that know what we are doing on the Peninsula and want to support the work that KWF is doing so it extends our reach without the expense of solicitation,” said O’Connor. The Pick.Click.Give program has allowed Alaskans to choose their favorite non-profit that provides a wide array community services from Boys & Girls Clubs to Hospice and Food Banks. “Not only are these services that all of will use at some point of our life time but it gives families a chance to instill the priceless benefits of philanthropy in their children. Together families can go on line, talk with their children about the different organizations, what they do and let the child choose the amount and where to give their money. They share in the reward of giving as they grow, it’s a unique opportunity in parenting,” said O’Connor.
Last year the Pick.Click.Give added another incentive for Alaskans to participate called the “Double your dividend sweepstakes.” When you file by March 31st and participate in the Pick.Click.Give you are automatically entered to win an extra PFD. Ten lucky Alaskans who share part of their PFD through Pick.Click.Give will be given an extra dividend if you check the non-anonymous box. If you’ve already filed, it’s easy to log on again and choose a cause that matters to you, according to O’Connor. “But you may remain anonymous if you choose; you just won’t be in the sweepstakes.” For more information go to www.pickclickgive.org.