Pay it forward with Pick. Click. Give

With a new year upon us, we mark a new season of Pick.Click.Give., the charitable check-off program that allows all Alaska Permanent Fund filers to give back to causes that they care most about. It is hard to find an easier way to pay it forward.

Pick.Click.Give. also provides an unprecedented opportunity to raise the level of awareness throughout Alaska about the power of individual giving, to increase the number of new donors, and to expand giving options for existing donors.

More than 171 deserving nonprofits qualify for the Pick.Click.Give. program statewide. This year I would like to encourage you to consider giving where you live by narrowing your focus to the nonprofit organizations that work to make our communities here on the southern Kenai Peninsula stronger, healthier, more livable.

A quick search of organizations on the website indicates more than two dozen organizations serving our area. Whether you feel most strongly about the arts and culture, education, health and social services, conservation and environment, animal welfare, sports and recreation, or community philanthropy, you will find an organization whose mission aligns with your interests.

Or perhaps you have several interests you would like to support? The Pick.Click.Give. program makes it easy to give a little or give a lot to one, or to many organizations. Giving where you live is easy when you see the breadth of nonprofits in our area that qualify: Anchor Point Library, Bunnell Street Arts Center, Friends of the Homer Public Library, Homer Council on the Arts, KBBI Public Radio, Kenai Peninsula Orchestra, Ninilchik Community Library, Pratt Museum, Seldovia Public Library, University of Alaska, Kachemak Bay Branch, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Haven House, Homer Food Pantry, Homer Senior Citizens, Hospice of Homer, Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, Ninilchik Emergency Services, Ninilchik Senior Center, South Peninsula Hospital Foundation, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, Cook Inletkeeper, Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park, Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, Homer Animal Friends, Homer Hockey Association, HoWL, and the Homer Foundation.

As an executive director of one of the qualifying nonprofits, the Homer Foundation, I am so gratified to see the names of individuals who have chosen to share their PFD with us each year, and even more so when I recognize that some are using Pick.Click.Give. as a way to introduce their children to the idea of paying it forward. After nine years of the program I have seen some of those children grown and off to college, still choosing to give to the community that gave so much to them.

If you have not filed for your PFD and supported your favorite local nonprofit through Pick.Click.Give. you have until March 31 to do so. If you have already filed you can still add to or change your Pick.Click.Give. selections through Aug. 31.

The Pick.Click.Give. data indicates that most Alaskans file for their PFD in the first few weeks. Numbers of individuals choosing to Pick.Click.Give. are down for the same period in previous years. Participants are pointing to the state’s economic downturn and the uncertainty around changes to the PFD. The state’s economic woes are real, and the impact will hit hardest on the most vulnerable amongst us. This alone should galvanize our decision to dig a little deeper and give more where we can. If you need more incentive the Alaska Community Foundation is sponsoring the Double Your Dividend 2017 Sweepstakes that will award five lucky Alaskans who share part of their PFD through Pick.Click.Give. an extra dividend in addition to awarding a dividend to the nonprofit of their choice.

Whatever your reason, the chance to double your dividend, teach your children about giving, or supporting the causes you care most about, Alaska’s unique Pick.Click.Give. program is a safe, easy, fun way to achieve that goal.

Joy Steward is the executive director of the Homer Foundation and is excited by all of the ways we each find to build community.