Hello Friends, 
As summer solstice suffuses Alaska with energy and light – and a lot of lightning strikes – we’re excited to share stories of growing connections and bolts of insight. This piece in Orion Magazine describes the dynamic super-connecting organ called the interstitium, and how we can model our work in similar interconnected ways. Author Jennifer Brandel writes, “Just as scientists can now see the interstitium everywhere they look, I see these people everywhere who are bridging, connecting and serving as conduits, keeping systems in communication, operable, healthy.” 

This month, we’re spotlighting work doing just that. You’ll learn about a unique exchange program between Indigenous Peoples reclaiming stewardship and sovereignty from Savoonga to Nunavut; AVF staff on expert panels discussing financing renewable energy projects in rural Alaska; and how Indigenous leaders are reshaping connections and shifting power between Tribes and the federal government.  

At AVF, we strive to cultivate and celebrate the vital and generative connections that sustain us – including our connections with all of you. Feeling inspired to reach out? We’d love to hear from you.

The Alaska Venture Fund Team

Alaska Venture Fund - News & Views

Project updates, stories and perspectives that inspire our work.

Interview: Siġvanna Tapqaq on Indigenous Guardians
“Everything we do and everything we are relates back to the land,” says Siġvanna Tapqaq. Sig participated in an AVF-sponsored exchange to Canada to learn about the Indigenous Guardians program in the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area. Read our interview with Siġvanna about how Indigenous stewardship is foundational to Alaska Native wellbeing and Tribal sovereignty, and what Alaskans learned from their Inuit relatives.

Native Americans in Philanthropy: Indigenous Stewardship in Alaska
AVF partners AlexAnna Salmon and Jonella Larson and community partner David Strong, Jr. presented a panel called "Indigenous Stewardship in Alaska: Shifting Systems of Power between Alaska Native Tribes and the Federal Government and Increasing Generational Tribal Responsibility" at the Native Americans in Philanthropy conference in Minneapolis. “When we're talking about stewardship, what we're talking about is really strengthening our relationship to our 'institution' – which is the land, environment, and our surroundings,” Jonella shared. Watch the panel.

Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference
AVF was pleased to help sponsor Gov. Mike Dunleavy's three-day Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference in May. Breakout panels and sessions featured information and insights from across the political and energy spectrum. AVF Energy Transition Program Director Shaina Kilcoyne participated on a rural energy panel where she discussed barriers rural communities face in accessing federal funds and ideas for addressing them. Erin Dovichin, AVF's Managing Partner, participated in a panel on financing clean energy projects in Alaska.

Addressing the Climate Crisis Outside the Classroom
AVF partner and chief operating officer Erin Harrington helped organize a panel discussion on “Leading and Learning to Address the Climate Crisis” at Middlebury College, sponsored by the college’s Climate Action Program. Erin and other Middlebury alumni shared insights on top objectives to achieve in the next 3-5 years in climate, and how institutions like Middlebury and their alumni networks can cultivate the next generation of climate leaders.

From Across Alaska
News, articles, events, videos and more.
Tongass Forest Plan – Creating spaces for real collaboration: In partnership with Spruce Root and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, the USDA Forest Service is beginning the Tongass Forest Plan revision process. “I appreciate being in spaces with Tribal leaders who remind us that when Indigenous communities are healthy, all of Southeast Alaska is healthy, and when our lands are healthy, then we are all thriving. Those values and the ability of the SSP to build bridges where conflict occurred have allowed the Forest Service to move in that same direction.” – Barb Miranda, Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Tongass National Forest

Alaska Legislative Recap –  Four key takeaways: Alaska’s legislative session wrapped up in May with big steps to securing the state’s clean energy future. The two-year legislative cycle concluded with four notable wins:
  • Passed legislation to smooth the way for large-scale renewables integration on Alaska’s largest electric grid. 
  • Appropriated $30 million in state match for federal electric grid modernization funding.
  • Passed legislation enabling the state to establish a ‘green bank.’ 
  • Passed legislation enabling community-owned renewables projects in Alaska.
In case you missed it: 
  • Borealis is a new remote-work experience that will bring cohorts of 16 people to Anchorage, Alaska, two months at a time, providing turnkey housing, 24/7 coworking-space access, and cars — allowing remote workers to get a taste of personal and professional living in Anchorage. [Borealis]
  • New resources from Adelheid Herrmann at the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP) provide insight and guidance for working with Alaska’s Tribal and rural communities. [UAF-ACCAP]
  • Alaska Youth Stewards: Where are they now? AYS is an employment program for rural and Indigenous youth of Southeast Alaska. SSP caught up with three past graduates to discuss the impact of their AYS experience. [Sustainable Southeast Partnership]
  • This great piece by Yereth Rosen delves into the wildfire and permafrost resilience work done by our partners in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. [Alaska Beacon]
  • New study shows energy from Alaska’s Cook Inlet could power about 70,000 homes—or more with grid upgrades. [National Renewable Energy Laboratory]
  • Over the next two years as part of the Salmon Protectors Robe project, Lani Hotch Saantaas and four apprentices will design and weave Chilkat robes honoring the five species of Pacific salmon that return to the Chilkat river.
Chilkat Weaving Documentary Teaser
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