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Native dance groups, community raise over $30K in 2 hours for Juneau shelter

About 400 people attended the Glory Hole fundraiser Monday night at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Five local Native dance groups organized the event, raising about $32,000. (Photo by Anne Stepetin)
About 400 people attended the Glory Hole fundraiser Monday night at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Five local Native dance groups organized the event, raising about $32,000. (Photo by Anne Stepetin)

Five local Native dance groups organized a fundraiser Monday night, raising about $32,000 for Juneau’s shelter and soup kitchen. About 400 people attended and contributed money to the Glory Hole through donations, silent auction, fry bread sales, dancing, raffle and a $9,500 matching donation by the Rasmuson Foundation.

Nancy Barnes is head of the Yees Ku.oo dance group. She helped organize the fundraiser with Kolene James, who was inspired by a Juneau Empire story on the Glory Hole’s financial deficit. Barnes was blown away by how much the event raised in two hours.

“I don’t think anybody thought we were going to make that much money. Somebody said, ‘What’s your goal?’ And I was saying, ‘If we raised $5,000 just to help them have a wonderful Christmas that will be great,'” Barnes said.

The other dance groups at the fundraiser were Ldakát Naax Satí Yátx’í (All Nations Children), Eagle/Raven Dancers, Yaaw Tei Yi and Woosh.ji.een.

Martin Stepetin Jr., Konrad Frank and Bryson Stepetin dance in the Woosh.ji.een dance group. (Photo by Joyce Frank)
Martin Stepetin Jr., Konrad Frank and Bryson Stepetin are part of the Woosh.ji.een dance group. (Photo by Joyce Frank)

The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska donated planning space and the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall for the event. President Richard Peterson said the Central Council was happy to help.

“Our culture is about holding each other up and the Glory Hole is an entity that’s always holding our people up, so it’s time when they’re hurting to give back and help them out,” Peterson said.

Glory Hole Executive Director Mariya Lovishchuk said the funds raised Monday night, plus other donations, will close the $58,000 deficit the shelter was in when the story ran in the newspaper earlier this month.

Lovishchuk said the deficit was largely due to a burst pipe that flooded and closed down the shelter last December. The inside of the building had to be rebuilt. The shelter has also been focusing more on getting the Housing First project built than on fundraising.

Lovishchuk said she can’t say thank you enough to the dance groups, community organizations and people who contributed to Monday’s fundraiser.

“This is beyond gratitude. This was a really amazing thing and it really ensures that we’re going to be able to meet our mission of providing everyone in need of food, shelter and compassion. It also means that we’ll keep on working on the Juneau Housing First project and making it a reality,” Lovishchuk said.

She said it’s an honor to be supported by the Alaska Native community and to start the New Year on a positive note.

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