Alaskans less generous with this year's free money
Reductions in dividend yields less charitable giving from PFD
(AP) The Alaska Community Foundation says fewer people have decided to give up portions of their annual oil wealth check to support nonprofit organizations this year.
The foundation's Pick.Click.Give. program allows Alaskans to donate some of the money they receive from the Alaska Permanent Fund each year to hundreds of nonprofits statewide, Alaska's Energy Desk reported (http://bit.ly/2eHMZL6).
The Anchorage-based foundation reported the program's first drop in donations this year since 2009.
People who donated a portion of their check gave $108 on average, a record high since the program was created by lawmakers in 2008. But fewer people donated, resulting in a $136,000 decrease in funds contributed through the program from last year.
The drop comes after Gov. Bill Walker cut in half the Permanent Fund checks to help make up for the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit, a situation exacerbated by low oil prices.
``I think this year we saw less people giving who maybe realized, `Hey, I'm going to maybe need my PFD this year,' " said Jason Grenn, who manages the Alaska Community Foundation's program.
Last year, the dividend check amount given to every person was a record $2,072. And this year, the check was estimated to be even higher at about $2,100. That is, until Walker decided to reduce the amount to $1,022.
When residents decided to donate this year through the Pick.Click.Give. program, they didn't know of Walker's plans. Grenn said that means they could be even less likely to donate next year.
Alaskans' generosity still provided more than 640 nonprofits with nearly $3.2 million this year.