Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Trust do?

The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority is a state corporation with more than $500 million in cash assets and one million acres of land, all of which are managed on behalf of Trust beneficiaries. The Trust was established as a perpetual trust and operates much like a private foundation, using its resources to ensure that Alaska has a comprehensive integrated mental health program to serve Trust beneficiaries.

Our goal is to serve as a catalyst for change and improvement in Alaska’s behavioral health continuum of care. To accomplish this, the Trust funds system change, capacity building demonstration projects, partnerships, rural technical assistance, and Trust initiated projects that will improve the lives and circumstances of Trust beneficiaries.

What is the Trust Land Office?

The Trust Land Office (TLO) is a unit attached to the Department of Natural Resources that is specifically responsible for managing the land and other natural resources owned by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (The Trust). The TLO generates revenue by land leases and sales; real estate; timber sales; mineral and energy exploration and development; and material sales.

When and why was the Trust established?

Prior to statehood, there were few mental health services available in the territory of Alaska for individuals who experienced mental illness or intellectual and developmental disabilities. At the time, mental illness was considered a crime. Those were sent by the federal government to live in an institution in Portland, Oregon, sometimes for the remainder of their lives.

The case was ruled on in 1984, by the State Supreme Court, which ordered that the original trust be restored. In 1994, a final settlement reconstructed the Trust with 500,000 acres of original Trust land, 500,000 acres of replacement land and $200 million in cash. The Trust settlement also established an independent Board of trustees appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature.

Who manages the Trust?

The Trust operates under the leadership of a board of trustees and in partnership with the Trust Land Office, which manages the land and other non-cash assets and the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, which manages the cash assets. Trust staff work under the direction of the board of trustees in carrying out the day-to-day business of the Trust.

Why does The Trust own land?

Prior to statehood, Alaska did not have a mental health system. Individuals with a mental disability, such as a mental illness, Down syndrome, dementia or chronic alcoholism, could be charged as an “insane person at large” and sent by the federal government to a mental hospital in Oregon. In 1956, Congress passed the Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act, entitling the Territory of Alaska to select one million acres of federal land to be used for revenue generation to support mental health services after Alaska became a state.

Who are the Trust’s partners?

The Trust works closely with a variety of state departments, local and tribal governments, and nonprofit and for-profit entities, including four governor-appointed advisory boards. In addition to financial partnerships, Trust staff serve on boards and committees to identify, expand and add value to mutual goals.

Who is a Trust beneficiary?

Trust beneficiaries include Alaskans who experience:

  • Mental illness
  • Intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders
  • Traumatic brain injury

How can I receive assistance if I am a Trust beneficiary?

The Trust works on behalf of all beneficiaries, but does not provide individual services.

Where does the Trust get its funds?

Similar to the way private foundations distribute funds, the Trust spends a percentage of its principal each year to improve the lives and circumstances of Trust beneficiaries. This percentage, referred to as the “payout,” is established by the board of trustees, and is 4.25 percent of the Trust fund principal. The payout is combined with income from the Trust Land Office, interest income from cash investments, and any lapsed or unspent funds from the previous fiscal year to establish the amount available each year for trustees to spend. This funding system ensures that the Trust has a predictable and relatively constant cash flow from year to year.

What does the Trust Land Office do with revenue?

Revenue generated by the Trust Land Office is transmitted to the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, deposited in the principal fund of the trust or used to acquire additional assets and improve the value of Trust land.

Can I receive funding?

The Trust offers funding through the allocation of grants. Grants are awarded to grantees who represent one or more beneficiary group and whose priorities are consistent with the Comprehensive Integrated Mental Health Program. Individuals, by regulation, are not eligible to apply for grants.

What types of grants are available?

The Trust offers the following grants:

  • Mini Grants
  • Partnership Grants

Learn more about Trust grants here.

What kinds of programs does The Trust fund?

The Trust administers some programs and projects outside of the regular state budget process that are approved by trustees. The programs must benefit one or more beneficiary group and be consistent with the Trust mission and guiding principles.

Does the Trust provide services to individuals?

The Trust works on behalf of all beneficiaries, but does not provide individual services.

How do I log in to WebEx or call in via teleconference for a meeting?

For WebEx and/or teleconference codes go to “ board meetings” and select the desired type of meeting. The specific meeting codes will be under the “downloads” section.

Can I buy Trust land?

The Trust Land Office typically holds a land sale auction each fall. If there is a specific parcel you are interested in, you can contact the Land Office (see below) to learn more.  Information about the sale of Trust land can also be found here.

Who do I contact for Trust land issues?

Questions or issues regarding Trust land or resources can be directed to the Trust Land Office at 907-269-8658.

General Information?