Shareholders from across Alaska and around the country joined Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott virtually for an overview of the spring distribution, which totals $21.3 million and will be issued to shareholders on April 22.
The benefits that Sealaska provides to shareholders are not limited to just distributions, Mallott explained. Sealaska values investing in shareholder priorities, and those priorities are reflected in the benefit programs that Sealaska provided in 2021 in addition to distributions:
- Scholarships ($1.175 million);
- Language preservation ($332,000);
- Education, youth programs and career development ($848,000);
- Deishú Memorial Fund ($323,500);
- Art and cultural programs provided by Sealaska Heritage Institute ($2.733 million);
- Economic and workforce development provided by Spruce Root ($506,000);
- Advocacy for Alaska Native rights ($414,000);
- Philanthropic donations ($357,000);
- Elder benefits ($3.17 million).
Sealaska’s distributions come from three sources: Sealaska operations, the Marjorie V. Young Shareholder Permanent Fund and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act’s Section 7(i) revenue-sharing provision.
Sealaska’s formula for its distributions is composed of 35% of net income from Sealaska’s business operations (averaged over five years); 4% of the total value of the Marjorie V. Young Shareholder Permanent Fund (averaged over five years); and the share Sealaska receives from other Alaska Native corporations through ANCSA Section 7(I). Taking the five-year average for funds from Sealaska operations and the Marjorie V. Young Shareholder Permanent Fund helps shelter dividends from market volatility, helping ensure stability for shareholders.
Creating trusts and endowments such as the Marjorie V. Young Shareholder Permanent Fund fits with Sealaska’s vision for the future, providing funds for current and future generations of shareholders and descendants, Mallott said. Given the structure of Sealaska’s investments, the original fund balance grows over time. Shareholders receive dividends now, while the fund balance continues to grow, providing for future distributions.
Mallott also discussed the new Sealaska Settlement Trust. The spring distribution will be the second made through the settlement trust, which was approved by a majority by shareholders during the 2021 Sealaska election. Issuing the distribution through the settlement trust means shareholders do not have to pay federal income tax on the distribution, Mallott explained. (For more information on the Sealaska Settlement Trust, click here.)
Briefly touching on Sealaska’s ocean-health business focus, Mallott shared his view of the interconnectedness between Sealaska’s vision, the income brought in by business and the benefits that, in turn, are provided to shareholders.
“Because the business income or operations income is so important as a driver to not only increasing dividends but increasing shareholder benefits overall—in all of the areas that our shareholders value—I always want to be able to find the time to highlight our business income, the growth in the focus areas we’re operating under,” said Mallott.
“We want our salmon to return, we want sustainable opportunities to practice our traditional way of life, we want our homelands to be stable and secure from the effects of climate change, and that’s why we are focused on ocean health,” he continued.
At the end of the presentation, Mallott addressed questions related to dividends, carbon credits, scholarships, COVID funding, landless legislation, subsistence and more. Responses to shareholder questions that were not answered during the session are included below.
- What is the best way to preserve art, history and culture for future generations?
Sealaska works closely with Sealaska Heritage Institute on cultural preservation efforts and priorities. Investing in cultural education, language preservation and offering other support such as providing cultural logs for projects like totem poles are just a few ways in which Sealaska is actively working to not only preserve, but grow the cultural treasures that are our art, history and language.
- With Sealaska’s new ocean health priorities, how are you helping local commercial fishermen?
By focusing on local, sustainably caught, low-impact foods such as salmon and kelp, Sealaska aims to increase the market share for seafood on a national and global level.
- Will Sealaska host in-person meetings? If so, where? Will this eliminate the option to participate virtually?
Sealaska will host in-person community meetings in May as well as an in-person annual meeting in June, barring any major changes in the pandemic or mandates related to in-person gatherings. We will also continue to offer virtual options to better serve our shareholders no matter where they live. Dates and times for the May events will be publicized soon.
- Does Sealaska have a carbon credit program in affect?
Yes, Sealaska has preserved more than 165,000 acres of forest through the Sealaska Carbon Offset Project — roughly a quarter of our land — to act as a carbon shelter for the next 100 years. This carbon credit program is managed through the State of California’s Cap-and-Trade program. By sustainably managing our lands through this program, Sealaska ensures community members can access land for subsistence, recreational and cultural activities while generating income from our lands.
- It would be great to get in on the ocean wave produced energy production. Have you explored this?
Sealaska is pursuing offshore wind-energy infrastructure opportunities and is also involved in construction designed to repair and shore up coastal infrastructure. You can read more about our work in this area here.
- Is there a plan to incorporate a business to meet the health care needs of tribal members? For example, skilled nursing facilities, to bridge the gap in current availability.
Sealaska works closely with SEARHC, Seattle Indian Health Board and other medical facilities to support health care efforts. Health care is outside of Sealaska’s expertise but we do what we can to support regional and Indian Health Service efforts to ensure our shareholders receive access to health care.
We appreciate everyone who took the time to participate in the distribution overview event. Door prize winners are listed below.
All participants were eligible for cash prizes. Congratulations to the winners:
- $500: Michael Johnson
- $300: Miguel Contreras
- $300: Seana Baker
- $100: Brittany Booth