Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 4:01 PM on Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pick. Click. Give: easy way to help

Anywhere you go in town, it's hard to miss the good deeds of our many nonprofit organizations. All of them rely on donations from us -- donations they use to show community support when nonprofits apply for grants. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to figure out how to donate.

Confused? Thanks to a program associated with the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend application process, it's now easy to donate to charitable and educational organizations.

Pick. Click. Give.

You'll be hearing those words a lot this winter. Now in its fourth year, Pick. Click. Give. makes it easy to donate from $25 to your entire permanent fund dividend when applying online. After filling out the form, Alaskans can choose to have contributions deducted from their 2012 dividend.

In the first 100 hours of the current filing period, Alaskans pledged $275,000 through Pick. Click. Give. In 2011, Cook Inletkeeper received $6,099. The Pratt Museum got $2,625 and the Homer Foundation got $4,675. All of that is unrestricted money.

Joy Steward, director of the Homer Foundation, said 52 different donors gave from $25 to $500 last year. A dozen of them were new donors, she said, people not on her fund raising lists. That's a big benefit of Pick. Click. Give., Steward said -- bringing donors in who might not otherwise have thought to donate. Some donors she recognized as young people who grew up here and had moved away to go to college or start lives elsewhere.

"This whole new generation somehow got the message that it's great to give back to their community and still think of Homer as their community," Steward said.

In its first three years the Rasmuson Foundation supported the administrative costs of running Pick. Click. Give. Nonprofit organizations that meet the criteria now pay a $250 fee. Not every local nonprofit organization is on the list, but for 2012 the list includes the Anchor Point Public Library, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, Birth 2 Three (now Sprout), Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula, Bunnell Street Arts Center, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, Cook Inletkeeper, Haven House, Homer Council on the Arts, Homer Community Food Pantry, the Homer Foundation, Homer Senior Citizens Inc., Hospice of Homer, KBBI, Kenai Peninsula United Way (which supports 29 different agencies throughout the peninsula, including several in Homer), Ninilchik Community Library, Pier One Theatre, Pratt Museum and the University of Alaska Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula College.

Find other eligible organizations through the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend website at www.pfd.state.ak.us or at www.pickclickgive.org.

Pick. Click. Give. also teaches young people about the joy of giving. The program encourages parents to sit down with their children as they apply for PFDs and choose worthy causes to support.

Don't have a computer or online access at home? Use public computers at the Homer Public Library or other places. Steward said she'd help people apply online for the Pick. Click. Give. process at the Homer Foundation -- even if they give to other organizations.

Mark the March 31 deadline on your calendars, and when you apply, remember your local nonprofits.

Pick. Click. Give. Easy as pie.