Wasilla, Alaska – Fourteen local organizations were recently awarded a total of $4,926,881 in grants from the Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF). Grant amounts ranged from $60,000 for Wasilla Area Seniors (WASI) to purchase a new van, to $1,698,000 for a new library and community center upgrades in Willow.

“This is the highest dollar amount ever awarded by the Mat-Su Health Foundation at a single time,” said MSHF Executive Director Elizabeth Ripley. “We were especially pleased to see so many applicants focus on prevention and working upstream to stop problems before they start. The programs and services supported by these awards will make a measurable difference in the health of Mat-Su residents.”

The grants awarded address concerns identified in the Community Health Needs Assessments conducted by the Mat-Su Health Foundation in 2013 and 2016. The 2013 report showed that residents of Mat-Su prioritized the most important health-related issues as alcohol and substance abuse, and child maltreatment. The 2016 report identified transportation as the number one issue affecting health in the borough.

The grants recently awarded are as follows:

  • Alaska Legal Services: $100,000 to extend the reach of its services with a full-time staff attorney in the Community Resource Center Network being developed in Wasilla as part of the new Mat-Su Health Foundation building.
  • Beacon Hill: $64,000 over two years to fund expansion of its Safe Families for Children and Heart Gallery projects that provide services to help families in crisis to prevent unnecessary foster care, and to help find permanent families for children in the state’s custody who are eligible for adoption.
  • Burchell High School: $168,670 over two years to launch a targeted, comprehensive approach to substance abuse prevention.
  • City of Wasilla: $350,000 over three years to enable two police officers, one from Palmer and one from Wasilla, to join a local (Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force working to reduce the abuse of opioid-based medications in the community.
  • Cook Inlet Tribal Council: $1,162,032 to fill gaps in adult substance abuse treatment services for all Mat-Su residents.
  • Hatcher Alpine Xperience (HAX): $500,000 over 18 months to help buy a triple chairlift and fund a part-time executive director for the first phase of a planned alpine ski area in Hatcher Pass.
  • Mat-Su Borough School District: $126,000 to support a comprehensive approach to social-emotional learning and competency development across the district.
  • Mat-Su Imagination Library: $82,000 over two years to allow the organization to continue mailing free books monthly to 2,500 Mat-Su families with children under the age of 5.
  • MYHouse: $101,465 to support their work helping homeless Mat-Su youth.
  • Onward and Upward: $133,000 over two years to formally assess the impact of its Qayeh curriculum on student health, well-being and resilience.
  • Student Conservation Association: $100,714 over two years to fund high school crews conducting trail rehabilitation and maintenance on Government Peak and Lazy Mountain.
  • Valley Transit: $281,000 in match money to ensure that the organization receives its full federal match for sustained operations.
  • Wasilla Area Seniors (WASI): $60,000 for purchase of a 14-passenger van capable of holding two wheelchairs, to bring older Alaskans from their homes to the senior center to have lunch with others, reducing isolation while providing nutritious meals.
  • Willow Library Association: $1,698,000 over 30 months to replace and expand Willow’s public library and renovate the adjacent community center.

The Mat-Su Health Foundation has several grant programs available; some accept applications year-round, while others have specific opening and closing dates. Complete information can be found online at


About MSHF: Mat-Su Health Foundation is the official business name of Valley Hospital Association, Inc., which shares ownership in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. In this capacity, the MSHF board members and representatives actively participate in the governance of Mat-Su’s community hospital and protect the community’s interest in this important healthcare asset through board oversight. The MSHF invests its share of Mat-Su Regional’s profits into charitable works that improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in Mat-Su. More information is available online at