Posted on Jun 26, 2021

District 5010 Helps Alaska Communities Thrive in the 21st Century Economy

Rotary District 5010’s district-wide community and local economy-building project help less-urbanized Alaska communities build their communities, diversify local economies and transition into the wider 21st Century economy. 

Starting in September 2020 with a series of forums exploring our state’s current economic situation and the needs of the emerging 21st Century economy.  District 5010’s rural community development project is currently underway in four communities, Minto, Nenana, Kodiak, and Ketchikan, with Haines set to begin in Fall, 2021.
Our project provides rural communities with a proven low-cost, data-driven community and economic development strategy process.  We work in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture’s Western Rural Development Consortium and with several major Western US universities. Rather than imposing community and economic development priorities from afar, this process works directly with local Rotary clubs and their own communities to identify the local community’s own long-term preferences, explore and identify under-utilized local economic assets which a community might usefully develop, and help participating communities economic development opportunities that best match the community’s own preferences and assets. 
It’s a sophisticated data-driven approach that brings to smaller Alaskan communities, at minimal cost, otherwise unavailable economic expertise coupled with modern community and economic development knowledge and planning processes.  The underlying economic diversification and planning program (ASAP) has been implemented in many western US areas and in 2018 was nationally recognized as an outstanding new community redevelopment and rejuvenation planning process. Our project is indirectly supported by a US Department of Agriculture grant and by a Rotary District 5010 Excess Reserve funds grant, so there is minimal financial cost to individual Rotary clubs.
For more information about Alaska’s long-term economic outlook, click here to read State of Alaska's monthly economic outlook publication for February 2021.  In this publication, our state economists frankly set out Alaska's currently troubled economic outlook and the need to diversify our local economies, starting now and at the grassroots level.
As business professionals and community leaders, Rotarians instinctively know that a healthy society requires a healthy underlying economy.  Without the hope that a healthy economy provides to citizens, social ills of every sort increase, including addiction, suicide, political instability, human trafficking, homelessness, and reduced community health.  They are called "diseases of despair" for good reason and to effectively reduce them, we need to address root causes as well as symptoms.  At the same time, a healthy community requires an economy that is tuned to local preferences and underutilized community and economic assets and sufficiently diversified so that it's resilient in the face of downturns in key industries.
Below is a short video that discusses the ASAP process that we’re implementing and a link to Forum details:: 
Link to: Forum Details