Utility owner plans to donate millions after sale


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JUNEAU (AP) — The longtime owner of a Juneau utility is planning to donate millions of dollars from its expected sale to the Juneau Community Foundation.

Bill Corbus was president of Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. from 1987 to 2002, when he retired. He also has served on the foundation's board and supported its efforts.

It was announced earlier this week that Washington-based Avista Corp. would buy the utility's parent, the privately owned Alaska Energy and Resources Co., for $170 million, minus debt and other adjustments. The sale is subject to regulatory approval and company officials said they expected it to close by July.

Corbus plans to donate 90 percent of his shares, or about $40 million, to the foundation after the sale is complete, the Juneau Empire reported (http://bit.ly/1hmH8q1 ).

The foundation's executive director, Amy Skilbred, said the donation would be a "game changer" for her organization, which supports charitable groups in southeast Alaska with donations and grants. The foundation currently has two part-time staffers and has given just over $1 million to local organizations since 2005.

"All I could think about was, 'This is extraordinary,'" Skilbred said of reading about Corbus' plans. "It's been a whirlwind of a day and an extraordinary gift to the Juneau community."

Skilbred said her group has had very limited discretionary funding in the past.

Corbus said he thought the proceeds from the sale of the company should stay in the community. And he said he knows what the foundation is all about. "I think that they are established to further the philanthropic interest of Juneau, so it seemed like a good organization to do business with," he said.

He said he doesn't need publicity for giving back.

According to the foundation, it will come to terms with Corbus on how the donation will be used once the sale of the utility is complete.

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