GCI's Paul Landes honored for philanthropy work
He's a well-to-do guy that seemingly has it all.
“I have a 1982 Corvette that has five miles on it," said GCI vice president of marketing and sales, Paul Landes. "I’m pretty proud of that. [The Corvette has] never been driven, never been titled, never registered. It's just... in a bubble”
Unlike the Corvette, Landes doesn't live in a bubble. He connects with fellow Alaskans and looks to the community to find true wealth.
"I think as you get older, you also realize a whole lot more that [life is] not about [any one person]," Landes said. "When we’re young... we’re a little more self-focused. And I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that's not as fulfilling as doing things to help other people. That’s how you really feel like you’ve accomplished something.”
By his definition of accomplishment, Landes has had a banner year. In late November, Landes was named the Alaska Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for humbly helping nonprofit organizations set and break fundraising records.
“I struggle a little bit with someone bragging about me," Landes said. "I sort of feel like, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and doing a thing I got an opportunity to do.”
Landes lets his resume and good deeds speak for themselves. He's a man of action, not only leading the charge for local fundraising, but he's served 20 years on the board for Special Olympics Alaska.
He recently helped facilitate a $2 million endowment in honor of former Special Olympics Alaska CEO and president, Jim Balamaci, who passed away suddenly in February. Balamaci was a good friend and an inspiration to Landes, especially when it came to raising money.
“Jim never heard no. He just refused to ever hear no," Landes said. "Every 'no' was closer to 'yes.'”
Another cause Landes champions is Covenant House Alaska.
“You’re helping homeless or at-risk youth. They are our future. And if we don’t care about them, we have real problems as a community and evidenced by our last Sleep Out, our community cares.”
Landes organized "sleepers," including himself, to camp outside overnight while raising a total of $1,055,000 for Covenant House Alaska. It was an incredible record-breaking effort that put Alaska behind only New York in fundraising efforts this year. Even more impressive, New York raised $1.2 million dollars with nearly 300 sleepers.
“The Sleep Out wasn’t just Paul," explained Covenant House Alaska executive director Alison Kear. "He helped bring 38 other champions to the table. Paul’s ability is connecting people to causes that he knows will resonate with them.”
Landes sets the bar high, asking fellow Alaskans who can help those less fortunate to do the same. To him, goal-setting is a way of life.
“I’m a spin class rider and I have a goal of reaching 1,000 classes by year’s end and I’m really close," Landes said.
Living life outside the bubble means helping ensure life is better for all of his fellow Alaskans. It's one goal Landes says he'll never stop striving to achieve.
Editor's note: GCI is the parent company of KTVA.
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