ANCHORAGE -

The Bristol Bay Native Corp.'s Education Foundation is no longer an investor in the contentious Pebble Mine project, after deciding to sell stock which it had received as a gift.

On April 5, the foundation received nine million shares as a donation, when Rio Tinto parted ways with Northern Dynasty Minerals, owner of the Pebble Partnership. Foundation officials announced on Friday that they have sold those shares, generating $6.48 million. The foundation says the money will be deposited into an endowment and used to support scholarship programs.

While BBNC has been against the Pebble project from the beginning, foundation officials say they've never taken a position on Pebble.

“The decision to sell the shares really came about because we are a non-profit organization. This particular gift represented a very large-share, concentrated position and didn't meet our investment policy,” said Greta Goto, the foundation's executive director.

In addition to scholarships, the foundation plans to fund a cultural heritage program with the proceeds.