DHSS Press Release: DHSS announces CARES Act grant funding for Alaska summer camps

DHSS Press Release


Media contacts: Clinton Bennett, DHSS, 907-269-4996, clinton.bennett@alaska.gov
Interested organization contacts: Alaska Community Foundation, 907-334-6700, Rasmuson Foundation, 907-297-2700

DHSS announces CARES Act grant funding for Alaska summer camps

May 27, 2021 ANCHORAGE – The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is announcing it will provide funding to support day and residential camps across the state so more Alaskan youth will have an opportunity to attend summer camps. DHSS is partnering with the Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) and Rasmuson Foundation to distribute $1 million in grant funding made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, (CARES Act) to build and increase the capacity of summer camps.

During the summer of 2020, camps operated at a severely reduced capacity or were canceled all together to comply with mitigation guidance aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. The cancellations and reduced capacities led to staff layoffs and lower revenues last summer. These grants will provide funding support for summer 2021 to enable the hiring and training of staff so camps can open this summer at a higher capacity and allow for more opportunities for Alaska’s children.

“Following a year of tremendous change, Alaska’s children are in need of fun opportunities to stay engaged with their peers,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “By utilizing this CARES funding to assist with scholarships, staffing, and additional expenses, Alaskan families can look forward to an active summer.”

“This project will serve as an economic stimulus for organizations that run summer camps and help provide opportunities for youth to stay active and engaged this summer, to address both the physical and social needs of our youth,” said DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum. “This also allows working parents to safely transition back into the workplace if that is what is needed.”

Rasmuson Foundation initiated the opportunity to support summer camps, with the support of DHSS and ACF, and received over $1.5 million of funding requests from nonprofit organizations, Tribes, communities and faith-based organizations. DHSS stepped up with $1 million in funding to expand the program to meet the statewide need. ACF created a collaborative fund it will administer to support day camps, outdoor camps, culture camps, faith-based camps, museum camps and learning pods across the state. Collectively, DHSS, ACF and Rasmuson Foundation are awarding 62 grants totaling $1.26 million in support for camps this year. The full list of grantees is attached.

This grant support is helping camps increase their capacity to serve Alaska’s youth by providing:

  • Scholarships or support that assist in a family’s ability to pay for a child to attend camps.
  • Program support for special expenses such as transportation or activity kits to reach youth who are unable to attend day or residential camps.
  • Support for increased expenses due to COVID-19 mitigation.
  • Additional camp staff to expand participation and access.

“This is a wonderful partnership between DHSS, ACF and Rasmuson Foundation that allows us to support the important role that camps play and expand the new and innovative opportunities for our youth this summer,” says Diane Kaplan, President and CEO, Rasmuson Foundation.

To learn more about the support for Alaska Summer Camps, please contact The Alaska Community Foundation at 907-249-6617.

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