Sheri Buretta Family Scholarship Established

Her tenure on the UA Board of Regents began in 2015 and ended in 2023. While serving as a Regent, Sheri wholeheartedly supported UA’s mission to inspire learning, and advance and disseminate knowledge through teaching, research, and public service, while emphasizing the North and its diverse peoples.

As she steps down from her regency position, her legacy at UA will live on through the Sheri Buretta Family Scholarship, which will provide financial assistance to students who demonstrate need and are Alaska residents.

Sheri Buretta was born in Anchorage. Her family is from the village of Tatitlek, located in Prince William Sound. She holds a degree in accounting from UAA, and she has a heart and passion for young people in need in Alaska and, through this scholarship, wants them to provide a support system for them to achieve their higher education dreams.

Sheri remembers a time in her adolescence when similar support allowed her to learn and prosper in the classroom. “Sheri told me that she wanted to support a scholarship for students in need, because she remembers her school, Nunaka Valley Elementary, was a ‘safe haven’ for her,” said former Alaska Governor Sean Parnell who is currently serving as the UAA Chancellor. “And she hopes that the support of the scholarship named in her honor will help to changes lives – personally and economically.”

Chancellor Parnell went on to say, “We intend to endow the Sheri Buretta Family Scholarship and make it available to assist UAA students for generations to come.” To this end, the Chancellor and his wife Sandy were amongst the first to step forward and contribute funds to place this scholarship on the path toward endowment.

“I want to thank the Chancellor and Sandy for this gesture, and it was a privilege to work with Chancellor Parnell and my friends who serve on the UA Board of Regents,” said Sheri Buretta. “At Chugach, I know the scholarships we provide to our shareholders and descendants are the most meaningful way that we serve our community, so I am incredibly touched to have my name attached to this new scholarship at UAA.”

“I am so thankful for my eight years of service on the UA Board of Regents. It has been a wonderful and rewarding experience,” Buretta expressed. “I cannot think of a better way to pay it forward than to provide funding for education at UAA for those in need.”

During the recent UAA Giving Days, the $25,000 endowment goal was surpassed, so the new goal is $50,000 and a process for distribution for the next year school year is being developed. So please consider contributing to this worthy effort by clicking here.

Sheri Buretta Receives ATHENA Leadership Award

Chugach recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and Sheri has served on its Board of Directors for half of those five decades helping to guide Chugach through significant growth.

Sheri’s professional career extends beyond her leadership position with Chugach. She is an active community member, serving on the board of Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) for 25 years; Native American Contractor’s Association; Silver Salmon Creek Leadership Institute; Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska (ROSSIA); and The Tatitlek Corporation and Copper Mountain Foundation. In 2015, Sheri was appointed to serve on the University of Alaska Board of Regents where she was elected to serve 3 years as Chair through her term ending in February 2023.

She also served as President for the ANSCA Regional Association (ARA) Board of Directors from 2004 to 2008 and as a board director from 1999-2008. Sheri is especially proud to have safeguarded the ancestral waters of the Chugach Region through her services on the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Public Advisory Group.

During Sheri’s tenure as Chairman, Chugach has maintained its standing on Alaska Business Monthly’s Top 49er List for more than a decade, regularly earning the 5th or 6th rank amongst Alaska’s most profitable businesses. During her time leading Chugach, the corporation has also been the recipient of numerous awards from Best of Alaska Business, the Anchorage Chamber, and the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

Within the corporation, Sheri was recognized with a Visionary Award for her work to get legislation passed for Alaska Native settlement trusts to benefit generations to come; and for lobbying the California Air Resource Board to include Alaska forests in their inventory for potential carbon sequestration projects and her contributions leading to the successful Bering River Coal Field (BRCF) coal rights sale. Bringing the carbon market to Alaska and retiring the coal rights was a huge component of Chugach’s 100-year plan, placing Chugach on a path to intergenerational prosperity and funding the CHF educational endowment.

Sheri serves as Interim CEO for Chugach during periods of transition in leadership and is also Chairman of the Chugach Heritage Foundation and Chugach Heritage Museum & Archaeological Repository, both nonprofits serving the Chugach people.

Chugach President Josie Hickel said “The Chugach family is so proud of the accomplishments that Sheri has made in her role with the corporation, as well as with the many organizations she has served to promote a strong and healthy Alaska. She has established herself among an elite group of strong Alaska Native leaders for her diligent efforts to elevate the lives of the Alaska Native people. She is well deserving of this recognition, and we offer our hearty congratulations.”

Her accomplishments earned her a previous induction into the ATHENA Society, which recognizes excellence. Sheri is also the recipient of the YWCA Women of Achievement Award.

Above all, Sheri is a steadfast advocate for Alaska Native self-determination and this advocacy manifests itself in all aspects of her life – including her work, community involvement and personal passions.

Sheri was born in Anchorage, Alaska; though, her family is from the Native Village of Tatitlek located in Prince William Sound. Sheri holds a degree from the University of Alaska and from Gulf Coast Community College in Florida. She and her husband Gary have two beautiful children, Anastasia and Bo.

Please join us in congratulating Sheri on being the well-deserved recipient of the ATHENA Leadership Award.


About Anchorage ATHENA Society

A part of the International ATHENA Society, which bears the name of the Greek goddess of wisdom, the Anchorage ATHENA Society (AAS) is a program of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce that works year-round to encourage the potential of all women as valued members and leaders of the business community. In addition, the members of the AAS devote themselves to raising money for scholarships, creating leadership initiatives, and establishing local mentoring and scholarship programs.

The AAS now approaches 275 members, representing a diverse group of professionals with 11 new inductees joining the group each year through the annual ATHENA Award ceremony. The first award was given to Dr. Joyce Murphy in 1988, and then in 1995, it was presented to Eleanor Andrews, the current Anchorage ATHENA Society Chair. That year she traveled to the National ATHENA Conference which inspired her to start Anchorage’s local group.

Chugach’s 2023 12 Months of Giving Kicks Off in a BIG Way!

Youth who join BBBS report increased confidence, do better in school, have a better relationship with their families, and feel better about themselves. Mentors, too, have an increased sense of purpose and connection, all while having fun and providing space for Littles to safely enjoy being a child.

Currently, there are 140 children on the BBBS waiting list in Alaska. Of these, there are six times as many Alaska Native and American Indian children looking for mentors, with a critical need for Alaska Native men. This stat prompted Ashley Christensen, Chugach’s Community Development Program Director, to take action, reach out to BBBS and become a Big.

“I spent this summer going through the volunteer process, which was extremely thorough,” Ashley recalls. “But the BBBS staff were accommodating, made it easy, and I was matched with my Little Sister just before Thanksgiving! They do a wonderful job pairing youth with mentors. It was wild all the similarities between my childhood and hers, which allowed us to create a stronger initial connection than I thought possible. It’s important to note not all youth in this program are troubled or come from troubled homes, many just need the space to be a kid and have one-on-one time to form healthy relationships.”

Ashley went on to say, “There are so many Alaska youth who are in need of a connection with someone outside their immediate circle, and there are also so many Alaskans who would make excellent role models. My Little is her own inspiring force who teaches me something every time we get together. The reward is very reciprocal; Littles add just as much, if not more value to a Bigs life, and this is the beginning of what I hope will become a lifelong friendship for us both. Being a Big does not require much. Yes, it takes some of your time and commitment to being available two to four times a month for one year, but the activities are all required to be low cost or no cost. BBBS of AK provides monthly activities at discount or free through their community partnerships.”

Volunteering to be a Big is just one way to support BBBS. “This incredible non-profit also requires donations to continue matching and supporting stable and consistent relationships,” Ashley expressed. The need for monetary support was one of the reasons that Ashley nominated BBBS in Chugach’s 12 Months of Giving, and we’re proud to say her submissions kicked off the year with BBBS being selected as the January winner in the campaign and being the first non-profit of 2023 to receive a $1,000 donation from Chugach.

To learn more about the incredible work that BBBS does and to become involved in the Big Program, go to Individual donations to BBBS can also be made using the same link.

Who will be the February 12 Months of Giving winner? That’s up to you. Make your nomination at

Lauren Johnson Named 2023 Top 40 Under 40!

Johnson’s accomplishments, professional excellence, and deep commitment to community and education, and her rise from a former Chugach intern and to an emerging leader who has played a key role in increasing Chugach’s ability to deliver benefits and services to the Chugach people, make her well deserving of this recognition.

Johnson’s leadership journey has had two paths: one grounded in a solid and extensive academic foundation, and another that goes back nearly three decades and transitioned through her adolescence to her becoming an adult as, through those years, she helped to establish and manage Nuuciq Spirit Camp, the centerpiece of Chugach culture and the annual gathering place of learning for our shareholders and descendants.

Johnson graduated from University of Alaska Anchorage in 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Administration Management. She then went on to complete Alaska Pacific University’s Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program (ANELP), and in 2019, she graduated with a Master of Business Administration.

Today as President and Executive Director, she manages the $33 million plus CHF educational endowment and oversees an organization that has awarded nearly $11 million in scholarships to Chugach shareholders and lineal descendants. In total, this represents more than 4,300 individuals who have received education funding assistance to pursue their academic and vocational dreams. Johnson has further supported education and mentorship for our shareholders and descendants through the establishment of the Chugach Connections Forum and the Chugach Native Professionals group.

In addition to CHF’s regular operations and the annual educational assistance that Johnson manages, she still oversees all of the work that makes Nuuciq Spirit Camp happen every year, orchestrating the many arrangements that bring people together from throughout the Chugach region for two-weeks of Sugt’stun language and dance classes, subsistence education, arts and craft, and other cultural related activities. Her duties also include hosting Chugach’s annual Russian New Year celebration and an array of culture workshops that take place throughout the year, each serving to keep the Chugach culture alive and vibrant.

Beyond Chugach, Johnson sits on the board of directors for the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Co-Chairs the ANCSA Educational Consortium. Without question, she has risen through the ranks of Chugach to become a shining star of the Chugach region.

We are proud of all that Lauren has done to better herself and to better our community, and we would like to thank the Alaska Journal of Commerce for honoring Lauren Johnson with a 2023 Top 40 Under 40 Award.

​​​​​​​Click here to see the full list of the 2023 Top 40 Under 40 Award recipients.

Chugach Sleep Out Participants Raise $80,000+ For Covenant House

Since 1988, Covenant House Alaska has provided that place to sleep for the Last Frontier’s homeless youth. In the last 34 years, more than 30,000 youth have passed through the Covenant House doors under the organization’s guiding vision to end youth homelessness so that Alaska’s young people can grow into the best versions of themselves.

While Covenant House serves on the frontlines to end homelessness for Alaska’s youth, they don’t do it alone. Covenant House depends on individual and corporate donations to fulfill their mission. It truly takes a community, and that’s what Chugach is great at – building community. This year, Chugach built community for Covenant House and the youth they serve to the tune of more than $80,000.

What’s more, four members of Chugach’s executive team took part in the 2022 Great Alaska Sleep Out, Covenant House’s annual flagship fundraising event, including Chugach Government Solutions VP of Business Development Christopher Crosta, Deputy General Counsel Samantha Beehner, and Director of Marketing & Communications Randi Jo Gause. On the cold evening of November 17, Chugach’s Sleep Out participants donned winter gear and sleeping bags, and braved a night outside to raise awareness about Alaska’s homeless youth and, more importantly, to raise funds for the Covenant House and their ongoing pursuit to end homelessness.

Melanie Osborne, Chugach Executive Vice President and Chief Legal & Administrative Officer, has been a longtime participant in the Sleep Out, and she shared her motivation for her commitment to the Covenant House and its mission. “I’m always struck by meeting the youth and hearing their stores of courage,” Osborne said. “This year’s Sleep Out was particularly meaningful as we had three new Chugach sleepers brave the tents and sleeping bags. I’m grateful for all the work that Covenant House Alaska does for our community and honored to participate in the Sleep Out.”

Covenant House Alaska accepts donations year-round. This crucial support goes toward programs such as shelter services, educational assistance, employment placement and youth enrichment activities, all of which are a bridge to success for the youth who depend on Covenant House Alaska. To learn more about this incredible organization and to make a donation, click here.

Thanks to individual donations that came in over the last year and through funds raised by events like the Sleep Out, 799 youth were cared for in Covenant House’s residential and outreach programs; 100 youth graduated from their education programs with a diploma or GED; and 90 beds were kept open and available for youth in need, every single night.

AWAIC selected as October’s 12 Months of Giving Winner

AWAIC provides safe shelter and support services to women, men, and children affected by domestic violence. AWAIC strives to empower survivors with a full range of choices to make their own positive life decisions, providing support and encouragement along the way. AWAIC is committed not only to providing vital services to survivors of domestic violence, but also to preventing future violence through education and prevention.

When asked about what prompted her to submit AWAIC, Holly said, “Domestic violence is something we can strive to eliminate in our state with proper funding and education, and AWAIC helps support those in need and helps to prevent the cycle of domestic violence from recurring.”

While, today, Holly is a strong supporter of AWAIC and the role it serves to eliminate domestic violence, her support for AWAIC originated at an early age with the encouragement and example set by her grandmother. “As a child, my grandma always had us do a spring and fall clean up, and after these clean ups, we would donate clothing and other items to AWAIC to help those in need.”

This lifelong commitment to AWAIC has also been guided by the results this non-profit has consistently achieved. “They give women and children of abusive situations a fighting chance to live a life without that abuse,” Holly said. “I am over the moon happy that this incredible resource is getting some extra help!”

Chugach is proud to lend extra help to AWAIC through the 12 Months of Giving campaign, and those interested in providing additional help can do so by visiting the AWAIC donation page.

Chugach Leadership Join Sleep Out To Raise Funds For Anchorage’s Homeless Youth

This year, on the dark and cold evening of November 17th, the following Chugach executives have agreed to take off their corporate hats and don warm, winter beanies:

  • Sheri Buretta, Chugach Chairman
  • Josie Hickel, President of Chugach
  • Angie Astle, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Melanie Osborne, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal & Administrative Officer
  • Sam Beehner, Deputy General Counsel
  • Chris Crosta, Vice President of Chugach Government Solution’s Business Development
  • Randi Jo Gause, Director of Marketing & Communications

Click here to join our Sleep-Out champions and join them in making a donation to the CHA. Since 1988, Covenant House Alaska served more than 30,000 at-risk youth experiencing homelessness. Chugach and our Sleep-Out participants are proud to support CHA and its mission to protect and safeguard all youth and place them on the path to a better life.

For Melanie Osborne, Chugach’s Sleep-Out Captain, this year will mark her seventh Sleep Out. Melanie’s dedication and enthusiasm for CHA’s annual fundraiser began on her first night out, and she’s never looked back. “My first Sleep Out changed my life. I thought the experience would be about raising funds for youth in need. That night we toured wooded areas of Anchorage and the city’s alleys and motels and other dismal structures that were identified as places where homeless youth congregate and where they were preyed upon. We ended at a cemetery, where one of our tour guides used to sleep, because a dark cemetery is scary to most people and that made it safer for her.”

This experience and others Melanie has had over the years reinforced her commitment to supporting CHA’s mission. “I sleep out to raise funds for the safe shelter and loving care that the Covenant House provides. More importantly, I sleep out to raise awareness about these hidden parts of the city and help make the dreams of young people to overcome homelessness a reality.”

The Great Alaska Sleep Out takes place on November 17th at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. To support CHA and the youth who depend on CHA’s service, join Chugach’s Sleep-Out champions and make a donation by going to Chugach’s Team page.


Best Beginnings Alaska Wins 12 Months of Giving’s September Slot

Since 2006, BBA has invested funds, resources, time, and energy in growing readers, building strong families and – like Chugach’s Building Community – has engaged community to the betterment of all those they serve. To this end, BBA has endeavored to ensure that all Alaskans know that early learning and literacy are important to society and that Alaskans understand that investments in early learning pay big dividends to the state as a whole. Moreover, BBA endeavors to ensure that sufficient funds are available – from public and private sources – for every Alaska child to have the opportunity to begin school ready to succeed.

One of BBA’s programs, in particular, has drawn Josie Hickel to support this non-profit’s mission: the Imagination Library. “Dolly Parton started Imagination Library in 1996, and this program mails books to children five and under each month at no cost. This is a truly amazing resource.” Hickel went on to encourage parents to take advantage of what this program has to offer. “Reading is so important for children and fostering a love of reading at an early age helps improve literacy. If you have young kids at home, go sign up for the Imagination Library!”

Hickel also noted one of the key challenges that many Alaskans face and how the BBA overcomes this obstacle. “Not all families have access to the same resources to help their children. That’s where the BBA steps in and provides important resources to kids, parents and educators to assure all children have access to reading resources.”

To learn more about the BBA and its early childhood investment, go to Donations to BBA can be made here. Thank you to Josie Hickel for submitting this incredible non-profit for consideration in Chugach 12 Months of Giving Campaign, and thank you to all of our employees for participating in this yearlong Community Building effort.