Embattled Anchorage nonprofit presents no proof it raised matching funds

Revive’s $750K federal grant requires them to raise matching funds, both muni and group provide no proof match was met
An update on an Alaska’s News Source investigation into a nonprofit group that received $750,000 in federal grant money uncovered questions regarding the group’
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 6:20 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An update on an Alaska’s News Source investigation into a nonprofit group that received $750,000 in federal grant money uncovered questions regarding the group’s fundraising efforts.

The Anchorage Assembly has already expressed serious concerns after Revive purchased a church with grant money intended to build a food pantry in South Anchorage. Part of that grant agreement required the group to raise matching funds, but no proof has been provided to show that has happened.

Last year, Revive Alaska Community Services (RACS) received a $750,000 grant from the Municipality of Anchorage as part of a federal pandemic-relief fund known as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The APRA grant agreement signed between the city and RACS’ president, Prince Nwankudu, required RACS to raise an additional $750,000 in matching funds on their own. Since last November, neither the city nor the nonprofit group has provided proof of that match, despite multiple requests.

Alaska’s News Source uncovered emails between Anchorage city administrators that may explain the current status of RACS’ grant.

On July 7, 2022, Nwankudu emailed Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance stating: “Yes, we have raised the matching fundraising commitments exceeding $750k.”

But another email recently sent to city administrators may contradict that. Last year, the company Denali FSP was awarded a contract to administer APRA grants for the city. Ken Miller is the president. This month, Miller emailed administrators explaining the terms of RACS’ grant and the status of their matching funds requirement.

Miller wrote, “in their signed grant agreement [Revive] stated: The overall budget of the RACS Life Center/Food Pantry is $5M. We plan to commence fundraising in winter of 2021 and plan to raise the matching funds by December 2022.” Miller went on to write, “in approximately August of 2021 the funds were disbursed without the match documentation ... I have not followed up with proof of match due to nature of potential Federal investigations as indicated to me by email from Muni legal in October 2022.”

So much about RACS’ finances remains unclear. In June of last year, RACS told the Assembly they used that grant money to buy a church in Midtown. But it is unknown how much of that money was actually used.

“This place is under mortgage, we put down a hundred and something thousand,” said Nwankudu, during an interview last November. “It is less than $750,000.”

Nwankudu also said the grant was being used to build a new food pantry in South Anchorage.

“The money that was given to us is supposed to be to build that pantry and I showed you the picture, I showed you the picture over there,” said Nwankudu. “I will show you the design, I will show you the engineering companies.”

RACS did show Alaska’s News Source the pictures and design of a new food pantry called “Revive Alaska Life Center.” It’s estimated to cost between $3 to $5 million to build. According to the terms of RACS’ grant, the pantry must be built by the end of this year. It’s something RACS promised to do but, so far, there are no signs of construction.

“We have projects, and these projects are going to be finished within the time that the contract was given for those projects,” said Nwankudu.

RACS has recently begun contacting various community councils throughout Anchorage, asking for permission to make a presentation detailing their progress in constructing the new food pantry in South Anchorage.