When a single pebble meets the surface of a still lake, it does so quietly. It may only kick a few drops of water with its splash. You may not even realize it reached the water if you aren’t looking at the point of impact. That is, until the ripples start.
Less than a moment after impact, that single pebble radiates waves that can completely reshape the surface of a lake. Long after the pebble has come to rest on the lake’s bed, those ripples continue. They stretch far and wide, touching far more than that single pebble could have on its own.
In our work, we often talk about the ripple effect one person can have on the greater good.
Just as a single pebble can reshape the entire surface of a still lake, a single person can bring about great change in service of the common good. No individual personified this notion more than our good friend, Ed Rasmuson.
Ed was born into a family of givers. His grandparents, E.A. and Jenny Rasmuson, took on leadership of the Bank of Alaska in the difficult years of World War 1 not because they were passionate about finance, but because of what they knew the institution could provide to the region. When E.A. passed away, his son (Ed’s father) Elmer would step up to take the family mantle of service for the greater good of Alaska. In 1955, Jenny would establish The Rasmuson Foundation to honor her late husband. What began with a gift to a local church for a film projector has blossomed into a force for good across Alaska.
Ed would follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both as the leader of National Bank of Alaska, but as one of the great champions of his community and state. He loved the Pacific Northwest, regularly enjoying the outdoors, fishing, and flying. Ed gave of his time as a volunteer and board member and he gave of his resources. But the fascinating thing about Ed was that he did so quietly. There is hardly a sector – the arts, education, economic development, human services, health care, and so many more – that he did not impact. He did not propose flashy ideas or speak with the loudest voice, he simply kept coming to the table time and again to roll up his sleeves and offer his support to the ideas and projects that would serve the common good of his community and the state of Alaska. Through his stewardship and faithfulness, countless lives across the state of Alaska have been served in innumerable ways.
At the Murdock Trust, we were fortunate to know and work closely with Ed and the entire Rasmuson Foundation team, a partnership we intend to continue long into the future. We had the opportunity to see the vast ripples of good that came from one man’s generosity. The state of Alaska and the entire Pacific Northwest is a bit darker following his recent passing. But we are heartened by his legacy. We will continue to feel the “ripple” for generations. We are inspired to know that the work and mission of Ed, his parents, and his grandparents will continue to live on in service to the community he loved so dearly. And we are excited to meet the next “Ed Rasmuson” of the Pacific Northwest who will step forward to do the hard work to help ensure every individual has the opportunity to flourish and thrive.
To the Rasmuson family, we continue to send our love and thoughts. Rest in Peace Ed. Well done good and faithful servant.