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The Alaska Giving Coalition, a loose affiliation of nonprofits with an aim of increasing philanthropy in the state, has started a statewide effort to promote donations of 2009 Permanent Fund dividends to qualifying nonprofits or to campuses of the University of Alaska.

“This is a safe and secure way to make a donation,” says Jim Caldarola, chair of the Alaska Giving Coalition. “Our hope is that Alaskans use this option to start a tradition of giving or to increase their charitable contributions.”

Caldarola explained that the promotional campaign will use television, radio, print, a Web site, a blog and social media. He said the Rasmuson Foundation, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and Conoco Phillips are helping to underwrite the campaign. Information also will be available in the PFD booklet that is sent to each Alaska home.

“After seeing and hearing the ads and spending time at the new Web site, we believe Alaskans will better understand the PFD charitable contributions program and will be motivated to use it as a way to support organizations they care about,” Caldarola said. “We face huge economic challenges right now and it’s critical that we continue giving to Alaska’s nonprofits — many of whom provide essential lifelines to people in need around the state. Using our PFD checks is an excellent way to do this.”

More than 330 organizations qualified for the 2009 program. Each met a series of criteria laid out in the law establishing the program, which was passed by the Legislature in May. The program is authorized for three years, at which time it will be evaluated and the Legislature will decide whether to continue it. A new application process will occur for years two and three of the project, allowing other organizations the opportunity to become qualified.

The Alaska Giving Coalition is affiliated with the Foraker Group, which has offered support services to strengthen nonprofit entities in the state since 2001.

In addition to the Web site information is available by calling 888-785-4438 or by sending an e-mail to pfdinfo@forakergroup.org .