Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority is a state corporation that administers the Alaska Mental Health Trust established by the Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act of 1956.
About the Trust[edit | edit source]
The Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act, passed by Congress in 1956, established Alaska Mental Health Trust and granted it one million acres of land to generate income for a comprehensive mental health program.
In a class action lawsuit ruling in 1984, the Alaska Supreme Court determined the state breached its fiduciary responsibility to manage Trust land. After many years of litigation, the Alaska Mental Health Trust was reconstituted with one million acres of land and $200 million in a final landmark settlement in 1994.  The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation was assigned management of the cash corpus as a commingled allocation of the Permanent Fund and the Trust Land Office was created to manage the non-cash assets.
The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority administers beneficiary programs that serve Alaskans who experience mental illness, developmental disabilities, chronic alcohol or drug addiction, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, and/or traumatic brain injuries. The Trust works similarly to a private foundation, funding projects and programs that promote long-term systematic change and improve the lives and circumstances of beneficiaries.
A further condition of the settlement established an independent board of trustees appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Alaska Legislature to oversee Trust operations. Trustees are required by statute to recommend to the governor and Legislature operating and capital budgets for state general funds to support the state’s comprehensive integrated mental health program.  The governor must then propose and the Legislature must pass a separate mental health budget bill.
Beneficiaries[edit | edit source]
Beneficiaries of the Trust include Alaskans with mental illness, developmental disabilities, chronic alcohol or drug addiction, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia and traumatic brain injuries. The Trust also works in prevention and early intervention services for individuals at risk of becoming beneficiaries. The Trust considers prevention of these conditions, where possible, to be part of its mandate.
Grant Making[edit | edit source]
The Trust partners with providers, nonprofits, state departments, local governments and tribal organizations and designates approximately $20 million of its operating budget for grants across the state of Alaska.  These grants are awarded to organizations that represent one or more Trust beneficiary groups to provide individual services, equipment purchases, capacity building, planning efforts, outreach and training to have a positive impact for beneficiaries and the providers that care for them.
Individual Grants[edit | edit source]
These grants to beneficiaries range up to $2,500 each to cover a broad range of equipment, supplies and services needs to improve quality of life, increase independent functioning, as well as dental services not covered by Medicaid and to help beneficiaries attain and maintain healthy and productive lifestyles.
Authority Grants[edit | edit source]
These grants include partnership grants that add value to mutual goals or projects that will benefit Trust beneficiaries, and grants for conferences, seminars and training events that are of direct benefit to beneficiaries or those who serve Trust beneficiaries.
Mental Health Trust Authority Authorized Receipt Grants[edit | edit source]
These grants are designated to state agencies and the Legislature must approve receipt authority. This is conducted through the annual legislative budget process and is included in the Mental Health Budget Bill.
Public Policy[edit | edit source]
The Trust works to promote understanding of beneficiaries and the services needed to support them. This is done through advocating for the development and funding of programs and laws that will help Trust beneficiaries. Trust leadership works closely with the administration, Legislature and state departments to advise on funding and policies.  The Trust identifies key issues and funding priorities for which the Trust will advocate for during each legislative session.
Trust Land Office[edit | edit source]
The Trust Land Office (TLO) manages one million acres of land and structures planning around seven asset classes: land, minerals and materials, program-related investments, forests, real estate, energy and mitigation marketing. Revenue-generating uses of Trust land include land leasing and sales; real estate investment and development; commercial timber sales; mineral exploration and production; coal, oil and gas exploration and development; sand, gravel and rock sales and other general land uses.
Lands[edit | edit source]
The TLO generates revenue in order to fulfill the Trust’s goal of perpetuity through the development and management of the surface estate. This includes leases, land sales, interest on land sale contracts and easements. The TLO is also tasked with preserving and protecting the value of Trust resources. This can take the form of monitoring the cleanup of a contaminated site, removing solid waste resulting from unauthorized activities or extensive fieldwork and research to assert ownership of disputed lands.
Minerals[edit | edit source]
The Trust Land Office (TLO) manages natural resources that include coal; oil and gas; minerals; construction material such as armor rock, sand and gravel; and industrial heavy minerals such as garnet, rutile, zircon and epidote.
Forestry[edit | edit source]
The Trust’s forest resources are located throughout Alaska, with the most valuable reserves in Southeast Alaska. The TLO works with landowners throughout the state to manage forest resources in a healthy socioeconomic and environmentally responsible manner. The TLO also issues negotiated timber sales for fuel reduction, biofuels, commercial firewood and other specialty wood harvest projects.
Real Estate[edit | edit source]
The Trust Land Office manages real estate through Real Estate Development (developing existing surface estate for investment), Program-Related Investment Real Estate (real estate program for beneficiary purposes) and the Real Estate Management Plan (acquisition of new real estate for investment).
References[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- University of Alaska Fairbanks Project Jukebox: Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
- Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
- MHT Annual Report
- State of Alaska Mental Health Score Card
- State of Alaska Governor’s Council on Disabilities & Special Education
- Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
- Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Alaska Commission on Aging
- Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Alaska Mental Health Board
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