Conservatives turned out in force during the June 12 annual membership meeting for the Mat-Su Health Foundation. Like last year, the meeting revealed a growing ideological divide between the largely conservative rank-and-file membership and the governing board of directors.

Founded to promote the health and wellbeing of Mat-Su residents, the enormously wealthy foundation has been mired in controversy after multiple reports showing that it pushes far-left programs and projects rooted in critical race theory and LGBTQ political ideology.

Thanks to a business arrangement with Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, the health foundation has ballooned its assets to almost a quarter of a billion dollars by capturing 35% of hospital profits. Much of this money is redistributed to myriad nonprofit and educational groups that align with the health foundation’s philosophy and ideology.

In addition to funding noncontroversial scholarships and community programs, the health foundation also backs critical race theory workshops for educators, funds LGBTQ advocacy events and works with hard leftist organizations in an attempt to undercut the largely conservative social environment of the Mat-Su.

“I acknowledge that the MSHF does some good things, but I made it very clear that conservatives have a lot of concerns about the social agenda they are pushing.”

Rob Johnson

To address these concerns, a growing number of Mat-Su conservatives have joined the health foundation’s membership to help reform the organization. Several of these conservative members spoke out at the June 12 meeting, including Mat-Su Borough Mayor Edna DeVries.

Ron Johnson, a long time Mat-Su resident and political activist, was also on hand. He and others have been warning Mat-Su residents about the direction of the health foundation, and urging people to become members in order to address the board of directors’ increasingly leftist agenda.

According to Johnson the June 12 meeting included had just over 100 members in attendance, the majority of whom were conservatives.

Prior to the meeting, Johnson met with Mat-Su Health Foundation leaders to express concerns with the organization.

“They know that the conservatives in the Valley are very unhappy,” Johnson said in an interview with the Watchman. “They do some good things, but we have a problem with their support of certain social issues.”

Johnson said his meeting with health foundation leaders was largely unproductive.

During the membership gathering he reiterated his grievances to the board of directors.

A top priority is to change the way board members are chosen. Current bylaws allow the board of directors, alone, to choose and replace all of its board members with no input from the membership.

“I acknowledge that the MSHF does some good things, but I made it very clear that conservatives have a lot of concerns about the social agenda they are pushing,” he said. “I do not think this is in keeping with their mission or bylaws.”

In 2021, the Mat-Su Health Foundation’s ideology was widely exposed when it was discovered that the organization funded an attempt by the Palmer Chamber of Commerce to rebrand “Colony Days” to “The Braided River Festival.” This was met by widespread community outcry and the decision was reversed within days.

The health foundation was intimately involved in helping to fund the rebranding plan, which had the explicit goal of removing the word “Colony,” due to a belief that it was a “highly offensive and hurtful historical term.”

Since then, the foundation has continued to push its “Braided Stories” program which teaches critical race theory to educators and social influencers. The organization also helps fund LGBTQ initiatives that target children and teens.


According to Johnson, the Mat-Su Health Foundation’s total membership currently sits at 359 members, comprised of Mat-Su residents, ages 18 and older who fill out a one-page form and pay a $5 annual fee.  Many of these members are conservatives who have recently joined over the past two years. It is Johnson’s hope that more members will join the ranks and eventually demand that the board of directors steer the organization in a direction that reflects the values of the majority of its membership.

A top priority is to change the way board members are chosen. Current bylaws allow the board of directors, alone, to choose and replace all of its board members with no input from the membership.

In order to change the bylaws, however, the board of directors must first approve putting it up for a vote of the members. So far, they have adamantly refused to do so.

While 25% of the members can call a special board meeting, they do not have the authority to set the agenda. Only the board members can do so.

Given these circumstances, the board of directors enjoys immense power over the Mat-Su Health Foundation and its agenda.


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

— To contact Mat-Su Health Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Ripley, email or call (907) 373-2805

— Click here to contact other members of the Mat-Su Health Foundation administration.

— Click here to see who serves on the Mat-Su Health Foundation Board of Directors.

— Click here to apply to serve on the Mat-Su Health Foundation Board of Directors.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Mat-Su Health Foundation meeting exposes leftist agenda in a divided organization

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.


  • Mary says:

    The MSHF is out of control and does not represent the Mat- Su. Several months ago I drove by their building and decided to go in and do a tour. Wow! What a beautiful state of the art structure. I puzzled over the idea that it was supposed to be helping people in need, yet needed such a gorgeous, and expensive building to do so. What a waste of money!

    Then when I discovered that MSHF was partially funded by the most expensive medical care facility in the State if not the Nation, I was sick! Why does the hospital feel it necessary to charge exorbant fees to heal the sick and turn around and give it away to MSHF. There are many people in the valley that would directly benefit from lower medical costs.

    Sorry, I just cannot support an organization that functions in this way. Obviously, I am not the only one of this thinking. If there was a way to boycott the hospital, I would, just to make a point with them too.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    We the people, Not we the Mat-Su Health Foundation.
    Stop the madness

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Thank you Mr. Johnson for be willing to speak with Mr. Davidson on this. I have spoken with Mr. Johnson about the membership drive. I was left with the impression that there are enough members with conservative values, there might be the possibility to get the foundation back on the track of serving the community as we thought it was set up to do. This makes sense. I agree with Mary about not being able to support this organization; HOWEVER, if we do not get involved, the crazies will keep driving that train and our beloved Mat-Su Valley into the bottomless ravine. This needs to be handled like the School District issues – we need to get involved whether we want to or not and get it back on track to serve the community as it should be doing.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Correction: I was left with the impression that IF there are enough members with conservatives values,…..

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    What is dunleavy’s roll in this? Should he be involved? Could he be involved? Will he be involved? What the hell does he do?

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Dunleavy is too busy pushing the ESG with his PFD management buddies and Germany to be bothered with petty Alaskans issues.

  • Reggie Taylor says:

    Thank you Alaska Watchman for keeping this story alive and continuing. I and my wife were among those who joined the association after you brought this to light last year. This whole game reminds me of the previous Valley Hospital Association game with Justice Dana Fabe’s “quasi-public hospital” abortion ruling and the subsequent line of events which resulted in the sale of the hospital. They are essentially repeating history. The control that the Health Foundation board has over voting proposals and board appointments is alarming, to say the least. I look forward to ideas on how to topple this totalitarian regime.

  • Nunya says:

    I want to take a moment to thank all the conservatives in the valley for being so proactive and understanding where and how to fight the enemy. I’ve traveled around quite a bit and I’ve seen this battle lost over and over because conservatives refused to understand how the left operates and how hyperlocal they get with their infiltration of society. They always thought they could just elect “Republicans” and they’d magically save their culture. I had honestly lost all hope in there being a chance that sanity could prevail in these local battles in the greater culture war. The tide does indeed seem to be turning nationally, but as someone well traveled and very tired, Matsu, you have my full endorsement for what little that means. Keep it up and always keep your heads on a swivel. Christ is King.

  • micah6v8 says:

    > Conservatives turned out in force

    I would add libertarians and Ancaps as well. We all need to turn out and save our state. The country may be gone, but I do not think there will such a country much longer, but we can and must save Alaska. Kudos for Mat-su showing up.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Dr. Merritt and Dr. Northrup had an interesting conversation about fooling people.

  • Charlotte says:

    Sounds like it’s time to increase the foundation’s membership! There’s more of us than there are of them. Should they change their name to Foundation for the Destruction of Matsu? Since when does attacking the word, “Colony” have anything to do with health? How does implementing critical race theory make one healthy? And, how does infiltrating LGBT issues into public schools help children? Are they involved in bringing pornography to schools too? I wonder if this organization is staffed by liberals hell-bent on turning every nook and cranny in this failing country into a giant cesspool. Who funded their new office where they strategize? Georgie Soros? His son, Alex?
    We the people need to increase the membership numbers at this laughable foundation where the word “health” is only an excuse to destroy Matsu.
    Thank you, Joel, for providing all the contact info and for exposing this story in a large way.

  • Mary Newcomb says:

    The mat su health organization had a lot of nerve when it came to rebranding colony days because of the word “colony”. What about during covid when one of their own wrote a piece in which she labeled those who would not get an injection as tribal! Hello! Colony vs tribal. Not a lot of difference.