In October, original CIRI shareholder Susan Anderson (Tlingit) celebrated 20 years with The CIRI Foundation (TCF).
Anderson was one of the first recipients of TCF scholarships, which she used to earn a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in adult education administration from Western Washington University. She also holds a post-graduate certificate in project management and was selected to attend the Stanford University Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders.
In a 2017 Raven’s Circle interview, Anderson likened her position as TCF’s president and CEO to that of a fairy godmother. “It’s not quite as simple as showing up and waving your magic wand, but when you get to come to work every day and actually change lives, what more could you ask for? It’s pretty amazing,” she enthused. “We have scholarship recipients who come and say that TCF has literally changed their lives, and it has changed the lives of their family members. The recipients are doing all the hard work, but we get to help them along the way.”
Anderson’s extensive list of volunteer and board service includes the Alaska Children’s Trust, Alaska Humanities Forum, Best Beginnings Early Learning Council, Native Americans in Philanthropy, Philanthropy Northwest, United Way of Anchorage and Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education. She is currently a trustee for Alaska Pacific University and serves on the development committee of the University of Alaska Foundation.
In 2018, for her role in strengthening communities through a commitment to improving Alaska’s social, economic and civic life, she received the Distinguished Service to the Humanities in Leadership award. The honor is given on behalf of the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards, an annual partnership between the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation and the Office of the Governor to recognize and honor noteworthy contributions to the arts and humanities in Alaska.
Over the years, Anderson has also been recognized with a YWCA Women of Achievement award, an Alaska Village Initiatives Chief’s Knife award, an Alaska Journal of Commerce Top 40 Under 40 business leader award, and induction into the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s ATHENA Society.