Mike Blackwell smiles with his sons, Andrew and Matthew, and friend, Carolyn Naftel. Blackwell recently received the Juneau Community Foundation’s Philanthropist of the Year award. (Courtesy Photo | Michael Penn for Juneau Community Foundation)

Mike Blackwell smiles with his sons, Andrew and Matthew, and friend, Carolyn Naftel. Blackwell recently received the Juneau Community Foundation’s Philanthropist of the Year award. (Courtesy Photo | Michael Penn for Juneau Community Foundation)

News briefs for the week of Oct. 10

News briefs for the week of Oct. 10

Kindred Post designated official voter registration agency

Last weekend was the last chance for people to register to vote, and doing so in Juneau was a little bit easier.

Kindred Post, a post office and shop at the corner of Franklin and Front streets downtown, is now an official voter registration agency, according to a press release Thursday. The State of Alaska qualified the shop’s entire staff as registrars.

Oct. 7 was the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 6 general election. Applications must be received or postmarked on or before Oct. 7, and people who need to update their registration also need to have their applications in by that day.

People can also register or update their information at https://voterregistration.alaska.gov. The regional Division of Elections office at the Mendenhall Mall is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Owner Christy NaMee Eriksen said in the release that Kindred Post sees a wide range of customers and can help people of all walks of life get registered to vote.

“As a post office we serve a diverse slice of our neighborhood — it is not uncommon for us to serve a millionaire and someone experiencing homelessness on the same day,” Eriksen said in the release. “If we can make each person who comes to Kindred Post feel valuable and heard and equipped with the tools to use that power outside of our walls, we will move a little closer to that goal.”

Staff went through training to learn how to help people register, Juneau Election Supervisor Lauri Wilson said in the release.

“Registrars provide services across the state and in places where we don’t have staff,” Wilson said in the release. “They also benefit voters because they serve as witnesses, so the registration form becomes effective on the date it was signed. That’s important when we’re up against a registration deadline.”

Eriksen, an artist and activist, said she hopes Kindred Post can provide this service to people who might not otherwise have a way to register.

“We see voting as an easy, important and empowering way to engage in decisions that affect our community,” Eriksen said in the release. “Still, many people have faced a litany of barriers, which have made some feel that voting is not for them. We wanted to be a voter registration agency to encourage more of the people we serve to see themselves as having access to that tool.”

The Juneau Community Foundation holds awards dinner

The Juneau Community Foundation held its annual Philanthropy recognition dinner last Thursday and presented awards to a philanthropist, a philanthropic organization and a nonprofit organization.

Mike Blackwell received the Philanthropist of the Year award, Sealaska Corp. accepted the Philanthropic Business award, and Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc. Health & Wellness was recognized as Nonprofit Organization of the Year.

The event included a silent auction and stories shared by local donors and grantees highlighting the foundation’s positive role in the community. Guest speakers John Pugh, Alison Browne and Bob Rehfeld’s personal stories provided information on partnering with the foundation, donor perspectives on establishing a fund today and providing a legacy for tomorrow.

Longtime resident Mike Blackwell started one of the first donor-advised funds with the foundation and over the years has contributed to the community. Blackwell has given his time, expertise and money to the Friends of Zach Gordon Youth Center, Discovery Southeast, STEM youth activities, and the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. He provided emergency support to the Glory Hall when building flooding called for additional repairs, and in times of expansion such as creating the rooftop garden.

He used the spotlight to commemorate a longtime Juneau champion, Marie Darlin, by introducing a new endowed fund to provide an award in arts and literature. The Marie Darlin Arts & Literature Prize will be awarded annually by the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. Per Blackwell’s wishes, the evening served as a fundraiser for the fund. A $25,000 challenge match was announced at the event and by the end of the festivities, almost $18,000 had been raised.

Sealaska Corp. has a long history of significant giving in Juneau and Southeast Alaska. It has provided over $2.3 million in scholarships for graduating seniors and is expanding its reach in support of young people. Sealaska is a leader in developing local entrepreneurship through its Spruce Roots program focused on sustainable economies. And, its support for Forget Me Not Manor, a Housing First residence, demonstrates Sealaska’s commitment to building healthy families and communities. Chief Executive Officer Anthony Mallott spoke on behalf of the corporation.

JAMHI recently merged with the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence Juneau, increasing efficiency and service. In addition, it greatly expanded services by adding physical health to its offerings and opening the Midtown Clinic at the Housing First complex in Lemon Creek. This clinic and main facility in Salmon Creek are open to all.

The Juneau Community Foundation has awarded more than $13 million in grants and scholarships since 2000 and recognized honorees.

Perseverance Theatre meets $100,000 challenge goal

Perseverance Theatre’s 40th season began with good news.

While thanking the theater’s supporters during Friday’s “Our Town” opening, Art Rotch, artistic director for Perseverance Theatre, said the theater had met its Persevere with Us fundraiser goal.

The Persevere with Us campaign was launched in an attempt to raise $100,000 by Sept. 30.

The dollar figure and date were chosen at the behest of donors, who have declined to be identified and helped the theater regain its financial footing this summer.

In June, employees were furloughed because of six-figure debt, but later that month a $650,000 donation ensured the theater would remain open.

Every dollar that came in by Sept. 30 was matched 3:1 by donors as part of the campaign.

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