Empowering the Next Generation

Tabetha Toloff (left) and her daughter, Allison Houston. Photo courtesy of Ms. Toloff.
Tabetha Toloff (left) and her daughter, Allison Houston. Photo courtesy of Ms. Toloff.

Dividends, increased access to education, hiring preference, discounts, cultural benefits – these are just a few benefits enjoyed by 8,700-plus CIRI shareholders. Apart from dividends, many of these same opportunities are available to CIRI descendants – regardless of shareholder status. And CIRI also provides a variety of opportunities for CIRI youth.

Why does CIRI do this? Simply put, we believe CIRI descendants should be part of the CIRI community.

Those born after the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) (Dec. 18, 1971) cannot receive ANCSA stock; however, subsequent amendments enable shareholders of ANCSA regional corporations to vote to issue new shares of stock to Alaska Native descendants born after the passage date.

Over the years, CIRI has reached out in various ways to gauge how shareholders feel about “open enrollment,” or the issuing stock to descendants. Although opinion has always been mixed, to date, the majority of shareholders do not support open enrollment as it would dilute share value; they have expressed that passing stock to relatives through inheritance and gifting is sufficient.

So where does that leave CIRI descendants? Well, countless descendants receive shares through inheritance, and some others receive gifts of CIRI stock from related CIRI shareholders.

As an example, Allison Houston was recently gifted CIRI stock by her mother, Tabetha Toloff, who serves as vice president for institutional advancement at Cook Inlet Tribal Council, a CIRI-affiliated nonprofit organization.

“She had been talking about it for a while, but she was waiting for the time to come when I realized the importance of it,” Houston said. “A big part of being a shareholder is voting to elect the Board members who make the big decisions for us. Being part of this Alaska Native organization [CIRI] means I get a say in determining what’s best for us.”

And descendants that never become CIRI shareholders? They are still part of the CIRI family. Over the past couple of years, CIRI has worked to increase the advantages available to descendants, regardless of whether they own shares. CIRI has also introduced a variety of youth programs – such as youth voting, an annual art contest, educational incentives and other activities – that allow young shareholders and descendants to be involved with our company.

CIRI’s mission is to promote the economic and social well-being and Alaska Native heritage of our shareholders, now and into the future, through prudent stewardship of the company’s resources, while furthering self-sufficiency among CIRI shareholders and their families.

“Bringing CIRI descendants into the fold follows the CIRI value of unity, the power of many working together to fulfill one mission” said betsy Peratrovich, senior director, CIRI Shareholder Relations. “Even if they never own shares, we encourage all descendants to become involved in the corporation and learn about the many benefits that apply to them.”

To learn more about descendant and youth opportunities or apply for a CIRI descendant identification card, visit ciri.com/shareholders/descendants.

For information on gifting shares, visit ciri.com/shareholders/wills-and-gifts/stock-gifting.