The Mat-Su Health Foundation, one of the most powerful and well-funded organizations in the Mat-Su, will hold its annual membership meeting tonight, June 13. It will be a chance for members to address some heated controversies that have come to light in recent months.

Earlier this year it was discovered that the Foundation was intimately involved in helping fund a scheme by the Palmer Chamber of Commerce to rebrand and remove the word “colony” from Colony Days and Colony Christmas. The Health Foundation is also pushing a divisive educational program called “Braided Conversations,” which disseminates many of the ideas contained in critical race theory, an ideology that portrays America as a fundamentally racist nation that is rooted in systemic and ongoing racial inequity.

With hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal, the Health Foundation issues millions of dollars in local grants to local organizations. The foundation receives its income from a business arrangement with the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. In recent years the Foundation has ballooned its assets to almost a quarter of a billion dollars by capturing 35% of corporate profits from the patients of the hospital who are subject to some of the highest fees for care in the entire country. The Foundation redistributes a portion of its wealth to programs that its committees deem worthy. The Foundation wields tremendous power and influence on institutions that rely on grant funding to operate, or expand. 

This year, however, several prominent figures with former ties to the Mat-Su Health Foundation have spoken out against the direction the organization has taken in recent years.

Scott Johannes and Craig Thorn have both served as chairmans of the board for Mat-Su Health Foundation. Earlier this year, the men said the organization has embraced an increasingly leftist ideology that focuses more on divisive social issues than improving the health of Mat-Su residents.

The Colony Days rebranding dispute is just the latest instance of the Mat-Su Health Foundation wading into hot-button social controversies while expressing either disregard for majority-held views or disdain for their decisions and beliefs.

Earlier this year, Mat-Su Health Foundation President Elizabeth Ripley claimed the reason nearly 60% of Mat-Su residents have declined experimental Covid shots is because of irrational and emotional fixations on anti-vaccine “tribalism” regardless of the preponderance of science that has emerged, and continues to, worldwide regarding efficacy as well as the ever-expanding database of adverse event side effects and deaths.

A growing number of conservatives in the Mat-Su have decided to become members of the Health Foundation with the aim of reforming the organization as voting members. Becoming a member of the Mat-Su Health Foundation is relatively simple. Membership is open to Mat-Su residents who are 18 years or older. The application entails a $5 membership fee, which must be paid annually. The June 13 meeting will be held at 7 p.m., following a 6 p.m. dinner at the Mat-Su Health Foundation building (777 N. Crusey Street in Wasilla). Only members can attend.


— Click here to become a member of the Mat-Su Health Foundation

— Click here to read the Health Foundation’s bylaws, which include the voting rights of all members.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Tonight’s Mat-Su Health Foundation membership meeting may be contentious

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    It sounds to me reading this article that the Mat-Su Health Foundation people are the ones pushing the racism onto the rest of the people in tge Mat Valley. Maybe they need to take a long hard look in tge mirror if they can sneak up on one!

  • JC says:

    Since this connection between Mat Su Regional Medical Center and the Mat Su Health Foundation has been brought to light by Alaska Watchman, I am steering any of my medical business away from the hospital. The costs I’ve encountered in the past there have seemed unusually high. And even if another facility charges the same, I’ll take my testing elsewhere. It is, unfortunately, the closest Emergency Room if needed.
    Thank you conservative Valley residents for stepping up to get involved.

    • Elizabeth Henry says:

      The Matsu health foundation is connected to the old valley hospital which was a non profit organization and retained a presence at Mat su Regional for various non profit endeavors such as Senior Circle etc. The hospital itself is owned by a private company based in Tennessee and Matsu Health Foundation has no bearing on their direct operations.

      • Elizabeth Henry says:

        From my understanding, from family members employed ……

      • Chris Emond says:

        As a former CFO of the foundation – I can assure you the foundation has influence over the Hospital. MSHF is a 35% owner in the joint venture that owns Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. As an owner MSHF seats 1/2 of the Board of directors of the Hospital and holds tremendous power to approve rate increases or changes in service. It is public knowledge how much income the foundation receives from the hospital and simple math tells you how much $$ the hospital is making annually.

    • Proud Alaskan says:


      • Matthew says:

        Hey Chris, as the former CFO of the foundation, I’m wondering if you can elaborate on the healthcare fees that the Mat-Su Regional Hospital charges. I’m assuming you would have been privy to that information. The article stated that they are some of the highest in the country. I’m curious if you can validate this statement with your experience within the organization. As many healthcare institutions are “for-profit” and not subject to full financial public disclosure, I’m interested to find out how they compare with other healthcare institutions. Thanks for the help.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Matsu Health Foundation needs to stay out of politics, period. Outside of the political stupidity they have done some good, especially with their scholarship program for Matsu students pursuing healthcare related fields. As for Matsu Regional, they are owned by a Tennessee corporation but there is a connection to the old valley hospital that is connected to Matsu Health foundation. Overall they have done much good and my understanding is that it is the new director (wacky wokey) that evidently has political aspirations. Misguided at that. Our daughter, a conservative Christian, is getting her masters through a private Christian college in a health care field and received a very generous scholarship from Matsu Health Foundation. She is very appreciative of that help. But, again, , they should stay out of politics and focus on health and well being only, I would not throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Certainly they should be sent a strong message and need to get back on track and leave the woke cxxp behind (excuse my insinuated language).

    • JC says:

      Thank you for explaining . I agree, they should stay out of politics. Still, I have eyes opened now and hopefully with some conservative members on board they will adjust back to center.

  • Chris Emond says:

    Beware! They have already weeded out conservative Board Members and Conservative employees…..conservative members only have so much say and the ultimate change will need to be to the Articles of Incorporation and the By Laws… allow the MEMBERS to select the Board Members. Right now….Elizabeth Ripley and her hand picked Board select them.
    I am NOT saying the foundation has not done some good or doesn’t have some well intentioned people there….but when they are pushing a political ideology and CRT based trainings while ignoring the values of the broader population the foundation purports to serve…there needs to be a change. Yes – scholarships are great – grants to MatSu Non-profits who serve people are great….but Most people don’t know there are STRINGS attached….and and reporting which only serves the political ideology.
    The current perspective at the foundation views MatSu residents negatively….unless they are “People of Color” or LGBTQRSTUV ……or some other group aligned with the liberal left.

  • Matthew says:

    This is an interesting article, I’d like to know more. Is there really data that shows that the healthcare fees that the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center charges some of the highest fees in the country? That would be good to know.