Giving time, money helps build community

Giving time, money helps build community

About five years ago, I moved back to my hometown. I wasn’t exactly sure why, or how it was going to work. I hadn’t quite reconciled my adolescent memories of leaving Homer with the persistent and growing feeling that I needed to go back, needed Kachemak Bay and its beaches and its people. I just went. 

What was a tentative step toward home in my mid-twenties has led me to inhabit a place and a person that is thriving. There are a lot of reasons I can say that today, but some of the key experiences and relationships that make that true are linked directly to the generosity found here in Homer. It takes shape in kind gestures and friendships, but also in the many nonprofit organizations and community programs that foster the vitality of this incredible place. 

The news team at KBBI taught me how to tell stories on the radio. Pier One Theater and Homer Council On the Arts continue to allow me on stage during their productions, thrilling experiences I cannot believe I have access to. On the board of the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust I have found a way to help conserve the natural landscape that raised me — the wild places responsible for some of my core beliefs and joys. I celebrate coastal culture with the Wooden Boat Society and I watch budding musicians and writers find their passions through Alaska Youth on Record, Homer Council on the Arts and Colors of Homer, among others. 

This is nowhere near the sum total of the community programs and nonprofits that have affected my life in a positive way. These organizations encourage and support me as a writer, as a singer, an activist, a friend and a neighbor. I am an ever-evolving product of the climate of giving in a small community. Just one person, among many. 

I hope what I am able to give back during my life here in Homer is above and beyond that which I have received, but that’s a tall order. The people and generosity of Homer, and the larger philanthropic community in Alaska, have been integral in my ability to build a happy, healthy life in the beautiful place that I grew up. I want that reality to be available to everyone, and to future generations.  

My personal story is only one small example of how diverse, long-term generosity can infuse a community with vitality. We have nonprofits that feed, shelter and counsel people in need, and those that feed the mind and spirit through arts, adventure, culture, knowledge, conservation, and community. 

But so much of the important work that these organizations do — to keep evolving, to plan, to build, to create — happens outside of the spotlight, and it requires support. Time, and money.  

The best way to see evidence that philanthropic giving is working to make positive change in the community is by participating and observing it for yourself. Seek out the programs and organizations that support the things that you enjoy about Homer, and Alaska as a whole. You probably already do. Visit galleries and museums, attend performing arts events, take a class, join a club, attend a lecture, turn on the radio, go to a community meal or a concert, walk the Calvin and Coyle Trail, take your kids to Karen Hornaday Park, go to a hockey game — we have all of this and so much more. 

Consider how these things affect your quality of life, and that of your friends and neighbors. Consider how they add up to a place we are proud to call our home. Then consider ways that you might be able to show your support of those things, knowing that when you do, you intentionally change your community for the better. 

Hannah Heimbuch was born and raised in Homer, Alaska. She is a writer, commercial fisherman and a community fisheries organizer for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. 

More in News

Teaser
Then Now: Looking back on pandemic response

Comparing messaging from 1918 to 2021

Damage in a corner on the inside of the middle and high school building of Kachemak Selo School Nov. 12, 2019, in Kachemak Selo, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Repair costs rise as school facilities deteriorate

About $420 million worth of maintenance is needed at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District buildings.

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State Parks to hold meeting on Eastland Cottonwood unit

Meeting will include update on Tutka Bay Hatchery bill

Renewable IPP CEO Jenn Miller presents information about solar power during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Company looks to build solar farm on peninsula

It would be roughly 20 times the size of the largest solar farm currently in the state.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna Trooper arrested for multiple charges of child sex abuse

He has been a State Trooper in Soldotna since June 2020.

This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. An Alaska state lawmaker was cited for driving with an open can of beer in his vehicle that another lawmaker said was actually his. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Lawmaker cited for open beer fellow legislator says was his

Republican Sen. Josh Revak plans to challenge the $220 ticket.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File
This 2011 photo shows the Taku and Malaspina ferries at the Auke Bay Terminal.
Costs add up as ferry idled nearly 2 years

Associated Press The cost to the state for docking an Alaska ferry… Continue reading

The Federal Aviation Administration released an initiative to improve flight safety in Alaska for all aviation on Oct. 14, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
FAA releases Alaska aviation safety initiatives

The recommendations, covering five areas, range from improvements in hardware to data-gathering.

AP Photo / Becky Bohrer
The Alaska Capitol is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. There is interest among lawmakers and Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy in settling a dispute over the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program, but no consensus on what the program should look like going forward.
Alaskans get annual boost of free money from PFD

Checks of $1,114 are expected to be paid to about 643,000 Alaskans, beginning this week.

Most Read