(Juneau) - The Alaska State House today unanimously passed House Bill 190, which enhances the ability of the Alaska Children's Trust (ACT) Board of Directors to invest in effective programs aimed at preventing child abuse in Alaska.
This rewritten Committee Substitute is the product of a lot of discussion – from the public, ACT and FACT Board of Directors, state departments, legislative legal and legislative committees – we believe this is the right step to get the Trust to a place where it was always envisioned.
~ Sen. Anna Fairclough
Representative Anna Fairclough, R-Eagle River, sponsored the bill, which provides a more predictable funding stream, provides a record of donations, and ensures donor intent.
Fairclough says HB 190 was written to address concerns brought forward by the ACT and the Friends of the Alaska Children's Trust, or FACT Board of Directors. The existing Trust grant-making process was too cumbersome and the year-to-year revenue was unpredictable. "The reality was that we had a very well-meaning program that simply wasn't able to meet its intended goal of private fundraising and for programs to impact the incidence of child abuse and neglect in Alaska," Fairclough said. "This rewritten Committee Substitute is the product of a lot of discussion – from the public, ACT and FACT Board of Directors, state departments, legislative legal and legislative committees – we believe this is the right step to get the Trust to a place where it was always envisioned."
HB 190 keeps the seven-member board including: the governor or his designee; the commissioner of health and social services or his designee; and the commissioner of education and early development or his designee. The commissioner of revenue will continue to manage the Trust's principal, but changes the management to an endowment approach, using a rolling three-year average of five percent of the market value of the Trust. The board will award grants from the newly created grant account, and have the opportunity to partner with non-profits for grant-making and fundraising to support its mission.
"It is a good first step forward in dealing with specific issues around predictable grant revenue, fundraising and the grant-making process." Fairclough said. "We are streamlining and simplifying ACT's administrative structure to enhance the board's ability to pursue its mission more efficiently and effectively."
ACT was established in 1988 with a $6 million initial appropriation, which today totals more than $10 million, with the goal of preventing child abuse and neglect throughout the state. ACT's Board grants awards to eligible community-based programs and projects, and reports annually to the legislature.
HB 190 now heads to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.