At the Seward Community Foundation, we work to strengthen our community, now and forever. We focus on supporting the efforts of those working to build and develop communities across the state. When the lives of some of our community members are not valued, it degrades every community member’s value. We stand with those working to eradicate oppression and racism and to remove the barriers that have so long stood in the path of equity.
Do you have questions? Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or any member of our Advisory Board. We want to hear from you!
Are you passionate about making a difference in your community? Consider serving as an Advisor for the Seward Community Foundation. If you are interested, please send us a note of interest.
2023 Seward Community Foundation Advisory Board Members
David Paperman, Advisory Board Chair
Dave was raised in the hustle-bustle of northern New Jersey. A summer job in Denali National Park between studies at Indiana University brought him to Alaska in 1991. Summers in the interior with occasional excursions to southcentral and northern Alaska while finishing two degrees solidified his love of the wilderness and all things Alaskan. After living and working in Hoonah in Southeast Alaska for several years, he moved to Seward in 1999. That year, he met the love of his life, Dana, and they have two children, Sam and Edna, who are being raised on the shores of Resurrection Bay and embody Seward at its finest. Dave was raised in a family that valued community involvement and helping others – and he was an active community volunteer from a very early age. He was a charter Board member of the Seward Community Health Center, served as President of the Seward Little League, and created the Seward Winter Family Movie Series as a Board Member of the Seward Arts Council. He was named Seward’s Person of the Year in 2016. Professionally, Dave manages the Department of Residence Life at AVTEC. Dave enjoys doing all things outdoors with his family in his free time – especially sea kayaking, walking on the beaches and local trails, and working with others to make Seward an even better place. Dave is particularly fond of the Community Foundation concept because of the endowment model – where donations create a sustainable fund that will outlast the donors and spread love and support throughout the community forever.
Mark Kansteiner, Vice-Chair, and Grant Team Lead
Seward has been Mark’s home since 1979. Mark worked as an aquarist at the SeaLife Center for seven years, preparing for the grand opening and collecting and caring for the fish and invertebrates in the center. Mark then joined Kenai Fjords National Park as a logistics coordinator for 12 summer seasons. Mark retired in 2017. Mark says, “I am glad to be a part of SCF because it’s an opportunity to be involved in the improvement of the overall health and welfare of our community. The SCF endowment helps all the nonprofits in the Seward/Moose Pass area by offering financial support that they need to meet their mission. Being able to participate in this process is an honor.”
Tekla was born in Seward and is still happy to call it home. While growing up, her family lived on remote Knight Island for several years, where she was homeschooled with three brothers. During these years, Tekla could be found in the woods and on the water. Tekla married Tyrell Seavey in 2008, and after he survived a couple of summers commercial fishing for salmon with his father-in-law, the couple bought their boat and permit. Summers were spent working on boats, and winters were usually spent backpacking around the Southern Hemisphere. Tekla switched to summer guiding for a couple of years before having two kids who currently occupy most of her time. When she does get a chance to escape toddler life, she loves climbing mountains, trail running, the ocean, and reading good books. Tekla is excited to join SCF and looks forward to working with an organization with such a positive, local impact on our community.
My Alaska adventure began in 2007 when after a deployment to Iraq, I wanted to continue my expedition into the unknown with a new adventure. I recalled stories shared by fellow soldiers of the wild majesty of the Kenai Peninsula that they had experienced in their youth. I felt the draw of that wilderness of Alaska and the desire to write my own adventure stories. While the plan was to spend two to three years hunting, fishing, and working, I have now enjoyed over a decade in Alaska, spending time in Bethel and Kenai before finding a home in Seward. My family and I feel very fortunate to have found our place in Seward, and we cannot think of a better place to raise my three daughters. Robbie is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.
Ryan moved to Seward 18 years ago from West Virginia and was immediately devoted to the mountains and glaciers. After graduating from West Virginia University, he came north, seeking larger mountains and less crowded spaces. While the rugged terrain of Seward was the initial inspiration, the community soon became his home. What inspires Ryan about the Seward Community Foundation is that it allows him to be involved and give back to the community outside of the purview of the business. The Foundation’s humble, broad approach to giving resonates with how Ryan considers an active community to be. Ryan says, “I look forward to meeting and connecting with locals through the foundation, furthering a connective education of the communities’ needs and strengths.” Ryan co-founded Exit Glacier Guides.
Virginia (Ginger) Allen arrived in Seward in 1975 after adventurously traveling with her friend from Michigan. That year, she met her husband Jim while he was working for Bay City Motors when she and her friend asked him to keep a junk station wagon they had bought running. She and Jim eventually married and had two wonderful children. She and her family have lived here on and off ever since. Ginger has frequently served in the nonprofit sector and is especially proud to be a part of the Seward Community Foundation. This style of local grant governance is very effective in meeting community needs. Having a local board guide the grants ensures the donations remain in the community and contribute to our fabulous area’s overall health and well-being. Ginger especially likes the endowment aspect of the Seward Community Foundation, which allows legacy funding for generations to come.
Marc came to Alaska in 1980 to teach in several rural village settings. It was a time when oil money flowed thick, and as a result, Alaska schools were innovative and looked to change the face of bicultural education. In this setting, he met a fellow ‘bush’ teacher, Letty. Together they continued to teach in rural Alaska until they moved to Seward in 1992 with newborn Tara, and later, son Jerry joined the clan. After retiring as a teacher, Marc continued his passion for education as a consultant for various environmental and historical-focused nonprofit organizations. It was through these experiences that Marc realized the power of philanthropic foundations. The generosity of these foundations provided the needed grease to create and implement programs and projects that benefited others. This is why Marc is excited to be part of the Seward Community Foundation, which has the power to encourage positive visions for Seward’s future.
Originally from Fairbanks and Bethel, Melanie moved to Seward in 2006 when her husband, Smitty, attended AVTEC. After finishing her Master of Social Work degree from Walla Walla University, Melanie moved back to Seward in 2012 with her husband and two children. “I love the warmth and friendliness of the people in Seward and Moose Pass,” said Melanie when asked what she loves most about our communities. “We always join together to serve those in need, to solve problems, and to have fun while making our community a better place.”
Melanie served on the board of the Homeless Connection for several years and enjoys painting with the Seward Mural Society.
Katie is originally from north Atlanta in Georgia. She and her husband, Morgan, honeymooned on the Kenai peninsula and immediately fell in love with Seward. An opportunity arose to move to Alaska shortly after, and all the pieces fell into place very quickly. After a short time in Talkeetna, they settled in Seward and have never felt more at home. Katie’s professional background is in secondary education, but now she spends her days with her two sons, Neely and Turner, and volunteers around Seward. Katie is passionate about participating actively in her community and is excited to finally have found the perfect place to put down her family’s roots.
Jennifer is a proud resident of Moose Pass and an active community member. She is deeply committed to improving the lives of those around her, and her involvement in various local organizations is a testament to that. In addition to her community involvement, Jennifer is a local small business owner. When she is not working or volunteering, she loves spending time in the great outdoors with her husband and daughter. Moose Pass is a truly special place, surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, and she feels grateful every day to call it home. Jennifer says, “In the time I have lived in Moose Pass, I have been overwhelmingly impressed with how so many people are willing to help each other and our community. By serving on the Board of the Seward Community Foundation, I am excited to have the opportunity to represent this core value of our town. I love what our community is today, and I want to make it even better for tomorrow.” She believes that together, we can make a difference in the lives of those around us and is proud to be a part of such a dedicated and passionate group of individuals.
Amy Hankins, SCF Program Manager
Moving to Alaska with her husband in 1998 to work in commercial fisheries. Amy’s passion for nonprofit work and volunteerism is reflected throughout her community. Amy loves finding new ways to better the place she calls home, and she believes anyone of any age can positively impact their community. Amy enjoys her family, her garden, getting lost in the backcountry, and spending time in her studio as a ceramic artist.