LEGACY FOR ALASKA SPECIAL OLYMPICS IS LONG-LASTING
Alaska is a young state in many regards, but especially when it comes to philanthropy.
In any state, the efforts of Alaskan Paul Landes would be noted with gratitude.
The Alaska Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals named GCI’s senior vice president of consumer services as the 2018 Outstanding Philanthropist for Alaska, an award that recognizes his history of service and support of the nonprofit community. He received the recognition at the organization’s annual December banquet.
In 2018, the CEO of Special Olympics Alaska died suddenly and his passing was felt widely across the state. Alaska Special Olympics community has more than 2,000 athletes, and Jim Balamaci was said to know nearly all of them by name. Those athletes, in turn, had thousands of supportive family members.
Balamaci was cherished by thousands of Alaskans and Sen. Lisa Murkowski paid tribute to him last. year on the Senate floor.
In recognition of all that Balamaci had accomplished for Alaska Special Olympics, Landes helped launch a $2 million endowment supporting the organization. Landes is a board member of Alaska Special Olympics and has served as chairman. Board duties for nonprofits include supporting the mission and raising money for the mission.
Landes took that role on with gusto. A $2 million endowment can spin off up to $100,000 a year in perpetuity for the organization, which helps disabled athletes find a place in competing for athletic medals.
Landes also persuaded dozens of business executives and the community at-large to raise more than $1 million for the Covenant House.
GCI, where Landes works, donates easily more than $2 million every year to Alaska nonprofits, and also pays the volunteer hours of its 2,200 employees statewide as they dedicate 32,000 hours a year to charitable efforts.
Before joining GCI in 1999, Landes was an executive with Carr Gottstein Foods.
“It’s such an honor to be recognized by the AFP Alaska chapter, but it’s important to remember that this hasn’t been a solo effort. The level of compassion and willingness of our community to lend a helping hand never ceases to amaze me,” said Landes. “At the end of the day, we all want to better our community, especially for those who need a little extra help, and giving back is the best way we can make that happen.”