From Jan. 1 through March 31, Alaskans filing for a Permanent Fund dividend will have more opportunity to donate to charity as the Pick.Click.Give. program returns for a seventh year.
While the program has been successful statewide, several organizations on the Kenai Peninsula have received significant support from donors.
Pick.Click.Give. allows people to donate to eligible non-profits when completing an online PFD application.
PFD recipients can choose from a list of 540 non-profits located throughout the state. People can donate from as little as $25 all the way up to the full amount of a PFD.
Pledged donations can be changed online up until August 31.
Heather Beaty, the program manager for Pick.Click.Give., said that the program has grown considerably since its first year in 2009.
According to the program’s website, 5,173 people pledged $545,000 to eligible non-profits in 2009, whereas 26,773 people pledged $2,771,400 in 2014.
“It’s a vehicle for Alaskans to participate in individual philanthropy,” said Beaty.
The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank is one of many local non-profits helped by Pick.Click.Give.
Linda Swarner, the Executive Director of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, said that Pick.Click.Give. has been a boon for the non-profit.
In 2014, the food bank received $19,278 from generous Alaskans.
“It’s helpful for our organization, because it’s undesignated funds,” Swarner said. “That pays for gas to heat the building and the electricity, because we don’t get funds that are designated for that. We get funds designated for food and programs, but they don’t ever say ‘Well, we want to pay for your electricity.’’’
Swarner said that the food bank processes a million pounds of food a year, so it requires a lot of money to keep the organization running.
She said more and more money is being donated each year, which she attributes to people knowing about Pick.Click.Give.
“I think people are hearing more about the program and it’s an easy way to give,” Swarner said.
Swarner hopes in 2015, the food bank will see a 20 percent increase from 2014’s total donations.
To ensure that people know about the donation program, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank has teamed up with other organizations on the peninsula eligible for Pick.Click.Give., such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Kenai Watershed Forum and the Tsalteshi Trails Association, to have a joint ad campaign, notifying people about the donation program.
Heather Schloeman, Executive Director of Kenai Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula, said that her organization received $3,285 from Pick.Click.Give.
She said that teaming up with other local non-profits to advertise Pick.Click.Give. is beneficial for all involved.
“Everybody supports something different,” Schloeman said.
“We’re really hoping we all benefit from it. We’re not competing against each other. We’re trying to build each other up, which is why we’re partnering with those other agencies.”
Schloeman said that Pick.Click.Give.has been beneficial to the Boys and Girls Club.
“It helps keep the doors open and keep the costs low to families,” Schloeman said.
Mike Crawford of the Tsalteshi Trails Association said that Pick.Click.Give. has provided a tremendous boost to his organization.
Crawford said that not only does he enjoy Pick.Click.Give. because it helps the Tsalteshi Trails Organization, it allows him to donate to other organizations that he enjoys, such as KDLL public radio and the Kenai Watershed Forum.
“I kind of go a little crazy,” Crawford said.
“There are so many great (organizations) I don’t end up with much (of a PFD) for myself.”
For a list of participating organizations, visit www.pickclickgive.org.
Reach Ian Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org.