That's significant, considering that the regional corporation has only paid dividends five times in its history.
Calista is one of the 13 regional corporations created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971.
For years, Calista shareholders have watched shareholders for corporations like CIRI draw thousands of dollars in dividends. CIRI shareholders will receive checks on average of $853 for the first quarter of 2010.
Calista shareholders will receive less than one-third of that for the entire year.
"If you even just look at those different regions around Alaska, they might have been born at the same time and they might have been given somewhat equivalent monetary resources, but all those different regions within Alaska don't have equal natural resources," said Jonathan King, a senior economist at Northern Economics.
Calista did not have the Arctic Slope Regional Corp.'s oil or NANA's zinc deposits. But it does have 13,000 shareholders, many of whom live in Southwest Alaska, one of the poorest regions in the state.
But things have been looking up for the corporation.
"We understand margins. We understand cash flow. And that sure makes a difference," said Calista CEO Matthew Nicolai.
Nicolai says it's been a long journey to get to this point.
Back in the 1980s, Calista lost millions on investments like the Anchorage Sheraton, partly because its board did not understand how to manage the huge cash flow hotels require.
In 1971, Calista started out with $80 million. By 1988 it had only $4.2 million in shareholder equity. Now it's up to almost $125 million.
For three years in a row, Calista has paid annual dividends that climbed steadily from $150 to $225. In 2008 and 2009, the corporation also gave elders checks for $300.
"The money that we send out to the communities is used for hunting and fishing locally," Nicolai said.
He says he doesn't fault previous boards for their mistakes and that the corporation just didn't have the expertise that it has now.
It also has government contracts.
One of those contracts was for a national campaign for the Army National Guard. That helped put Calista's newspaper and publishing business in the black for the first time in its history.
Also on the horizon is the Donlin Creek Mine, which could establish Calista as a huge player in Alaska's economy.
"Those regional corporations have become engines for growth. (Particularly) the more successful regional corporations have been very good at finding little niches that they can grow businesses in. Those are homegrown Alaska businesses that otherwise might not be here," King said.
The word "calista" means "one who works" in Yup'ik, and the corporation has had to work through a lot to get to this point.
Fifteen years ago, Calista had less than four dozen employees in Alaska. Now it says it has 1,500 employees in 27 states. Calista also has employees in Afghanistan and Iraq. It owns a diagnostic equipment company that measures bombs.
The company says the education of its board has made the biggest difference in its comeback. When it first started, a college education was rare. Now, two board members have masters degrees.
Another key to its success is the profit sharing program that was set up when Native corporations were first created -- for most of its years, Calista was buoyed up by the profits of other corporations.
The final key to success is government contracting, which makes up 60 percent of its business.
Contact Rhonda McBride at email@example.com