Sealaska has put together a $1 million Covid-19 relief and recovery package to help Alaska Native communities respond to impact from the deadly and economically disruptive novel coronavirus pandemic. The Juneau, Alaska-headquartered corporation owns Seattle, Washington-based custom seafood processor Independent Packers Corporation (IPC), as well as Orca Bay Foods, a producer and marketer of frozen crab and valued added fish, seafood, battered and breaded vegetables and vegan protein products distributed to retail store and foodservice operators throughout the United States.
The pledge provides emergency response funding for several nonprofit organizations engaged in delivering urgent recovery services. The donation will also bolster the efforts of tribes throughout Southeast Alaska and other support agencies across the state that are working to meet emergency needs.
Several of the organizations being funded specifically support Alaska Native Elders and youth at a time when they are most vulnerable. Although special relief initiatives are rolling out from federal and local governments, Sealaska is looking to provide immediate support for shareholders who are disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of the health crisis.
“The board of directors felt strongly that we needed to move – and move quickly – to help our shareholder families and neighbors. None of us know what the greatest needs will be in the future. So, in order to be strategic and nimble we are moving resources to local organizations that know how to prevent the most vulnerable people from falling through the gaps,” said Morgan Howard, Sealaska’s finance committee chairman.
Approximately $500,000 will be disbursed immediately to a number of organizations serving people across Alaska and the Seattle area, including all 19 of the federally-recognized tribes in Southeast Alaska, the Blood Bank of Alaska, and Capital City Fire/Rescue. This funding will address emergency needs to help stabilize families, ensure delivery of essential services like food distribution, and help parts of our population like the homeless and others struggling during this crisis.
“Sealaska has a unique opportunity to help our communities during a time of great need,” said Joe Nelson, Sealaska board chairman. “We will do our best to direct these resources to organizations and people working courageously on the front lines. We understand all too well that our relatives are over-represented in vulnerable populations during normal times. We will get through this crisis together.”