By Brooklyn Baggett
Approximately 12 per 100,000 people commit suicide in the United States each year. With an average of 22 per 100,000 people, nearly twice the national average, Alaska has consistently ranked at or near the top in per capita suicide rate. Statistics for Alaska children between the age of 15 and 19 are even worse, averaging nearly 33 deaths per 100,000. These children are attempting suicide even more.
According to the Kids Count Alaska 2009-2010 data book, 8.5 percent of teenage students in Alaska reported trying to kill themselves during the year.
This May, Governor Parnell signed legislation requiring suicide prevention training for certain teachers, administrators, counselors and specialists in Alaska’s public schools. In addition, earlier this month marked the 38th-annual National Suicide Prevention Week. In an effort to support Alaska schools, nonprofits, tribes, churches, and local governments in implementing and improving teen suicide prevention, The Alaska Community Foundation has partnered with the Alaska Children’s Trust to launch the Teen Suicide Prevention Grant Program.
The Alaska Community Foundation seeks applications for projects that will directly enhance community based efforts to prevent teen suicide. Preference will be given to projects that: (1) incorporate strategies outlined in the Alaska State Suicide Prevention Plan FY 2012-2017; and (2) empower Alaskans to work together to promote community wellness.
Grants will fund activities that encourage Alaskans to take responsibility for preventing teen suicide, give Alaskans the tools they need to respond to teens at risk of suicide and encourage Alaskans to work together and collaborate on this important issue.
Activities should focus on promoting physical, mental and spiritual wellness to prevent teen suicide in Alaska. Organizations may be awarded grants in amounts varying between $2,000 and $5,000. Matching funds are encouraged but not required.
The Teen Suicide Prevention Grant Program offers a unique opportunity for eligible recipients to apply for grants to support community based efforts to prevent teen suicide. Applications are accepted from qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit or equivalent organizations located in Alaska. Equivalent organizations may include tribes, schools,
churches, local government agencies and programs. Organizations throughout the state are encouraged to apply by 9 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2012.
Applications are now available online through the ACF website.
Organizations interested in more information or applying for the Grant Program can do so by visiting ACF online at www.alaskacf.org or by calling (907) 334-6700.
Established in 1995, the Alaska Community Foundation has become a statewide platform for philanthropy. The foundation currently holds more than $55 million for the benefit of Alaskans, granting approximately $5 million each year to charitable projects and nonprofit organizations across the state.
ACF comprises more than 280 funds and endowments, including five affiliate community funds and the Alaska Children’s Trust.
ACF’s mission is to grow philanthropy and connect people who care with causes that matter. ACF helps individuals, organizations and communities create funds that provide financial resources to improve the quality of life in Alaska now and forever.
Brooklyn Baggett is the Communications Specialist for Alaska Community Foundation.
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