ANCHORAGE -

The organization that manages the investments of the Alaska Permanent Fund says the account has reached an important milestone: it's value has passed $50 billion.

Michael Burns, the executive director and CEO of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, said the fund’s collection of stocks, bonds, real estate, and other investments closed at an unaudited value of just over $50 billion on Thursday.

“What it should mean is, Alaskans should be proud of themselves, of their forefathers, for having the foresight to create the fund,” Burns said. “It’s an extraordinary amount of money to put aside for this and future generations.”

Burns stressed that, despite the milestone, there’s no direct link between the value of the fund and the annual dividend checks Alaskans look forward to each October.

The fund’s stock portfolio makes up about half of the fund’s assets, and is mostly responsible for it's recent growth. Stocks managed by the fund grew in value by more than $5 billion in the last year alone. Those stocks will not be part of current or future dividend calculations unless they are sold.

Still, Burns said the milestone is important in the wake of the “financial calamity” of 2008 and 2009. The $50 billion mark means the fund has doubled since that time, and “should point to a healthy dividend stream” in the future.

“The $50 billion doesn’t have a lot of meaning in and of itself, but it is meaningful,” Burns said.

The Permanent Fund was established in 1976 by a public vote. It’s the 24th largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. The biggest, Norway’s Government Pension Fund, is valued at over $818 billion.