Five Juneau Native dance groups organized a fundraiser Monday night, which raised about $32,000 for the capital city’s shelter and soup kitchen.
About 400 people attended, contributing money to the Glory Hole through donations, silent auction, fry bread sales, dancing, raffle and a $9,500 matching donation by the Rasmuson Foundation.
Nancy Barnes is head of the Yees Ku.oo dance group. She helped organize the fundraiser with Kolene James, who was inspired by a Juneau Empire story on the Glory Hole’s financial deficit.
Barnes was blown away by how much the event raised in two hours.
“I don’t think anybody thought we were going to make that much money,” Barnes said. “Somebody said, ‘What’s your goal?’ And I was saying, ‘If we raised $5,000 just to help them have a wonderful Christmas, that will be great.’”
The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska helped put on the fundraiser. It donated planning space and the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall for the event.
President Richard Peterson says the Central Council was happy to help.
“Our culture’s about holding each other up and the Glory Hole is an entity that’s always holding our people up, so it’s time when they’re hurting to give back and help them out,” Peterson said.
Glory Hole Executive Director Mariya Lovishchuk says the funds raised Monday night, plus other donations, will close the $58,000 deficit the shelter was in when the story ran in the newspaper earlier this month.
Lovishchuk says the deficit was largely due to a burst pipe that flooded and closed down the shelter last December. The inside of the building had to be rebuilt. The shelter has also been focusing more on getting the Housing First project built than on fundraising.
Lovishchuk says she can’t say thank you enough to the dance groups, community organizations and people who contributed to Monday’s fundraiser.
“This is beyond gratitude. This was a really amazing thing and it really ensures that we’re going to be able to meet our mission of providing everyone in need of food, shelter and compassion,” Lovishchuk said. “It also means that we’ll keep on working on the Juneau Housing First project and making it a reality.”
Lovishchuk says it’s an honor to be supported by the Alaska Native community and to start the New Year on a positive note.