Friday, January 11, 2013

PFD application time again!

 What is the PFD?

 In 1976, we passed the constitutional amendment to create the Permanent Fund, like a savings account for the State of Alaska. The state gets royalties from the oil companies for the privilege of taking oil from our state lands, and they are deposited in the Permanent Fund. Governor Jay Hammond and others promoted the idea of a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), when each Alaskan resident gets a slice of the Permanent Fund to spend as he or she chooses, to share some of the wealth directly. (There are a few requirements: to qualify, one must be a resident for at least one year, live in Alaska the majority of the year, etc.) The first dividend was sent out in 1982, and each year the dividend amount varies because of the royalties earned, how the fund’s investments, did etc. Last year, the dividend amount was $878. Many Alaskans use it for day-to-day expenses or save it up for big purchases, and others use it for fun things like travel or fourwheelers. PFD money contributes a lot to our local economies, and you’ll see “PFD specials” ads every fall, to encourage folks to spend their money there.

 What’s happening this time of year?

 Alaska residents send in their PFD applications January 1st through March 31st, so this is the time of year when everyone is asking each other, “Did you apply for the PFD yet?” and nonprofits advertise the Pick.Click.Give. program.

The Pick.Click.Give. program allows Alaskans to contribute part of their dividend to organizations of their choice. In 2012, 23,169 Alaskans donated $2.2 million to more than 400 nonprofit groups. It’s easy to pick from the list, click how much you want to give, and then when the dividends are distributed next October, the groups will receive their donations as we’re getting our checks or deposits. Last year, I picked the Food Bank of Alaska and the Anchorage Library Foundation; I’m thinking of adding Cook Inletkeeper this year, a group that does research and advocacy to keep our Cook Inlet waters clean.

The PFD and Pick.Click.Give. are strictly Alaskan, but I bet other locations have easy ways to contribute to organizations they care about. The United Way campaigns come to mind. Proactive communities are always looking for ways to help people get involved.

 So, did you Alaskans apply yet? Did you Pick.Click.Give.? If you’re not from Alaska, what group(s) would you choose for Pick.Click.Give. or other donations?

--- Lynn Lovegreen


Tam Linsey said...

The University of Alaska also has a great program for saving your kids' PFD for future tuition. There are tax advantages, plus this year you are entered to win a $25K scholarship!

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, a professor at my school handed his eighteen year old daughetr $40,000 to go to college after saving/investing her PFDs for eighteen years. He came to work in tears because he was so proud of his daughter. She attended UAA.

As for donations... I've given a portion of my PFD to the women's shelter, animal shelter, and cancer foundations. The list is long and one of the best ideas. Also, you can donate anonomously.

Thanks for the post, Lynn.

Violetta Rand

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Thanks for adding the tuition part, Tam. And good points there, Violetta. Many Alaskans have been able to use their PFDs for education.