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GCI Senior Vice President Aims to Raise $1 Million for Special Olympics Alaska, Honoring Late CEO and President Jim Balamaci

GCI’s Paul Landes hopes to provide long-term endowment for Special Olympics Alaska


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The Special Olympics facility in Anchorage will formally be renamed the Jim Balamaci Special Olympics Alaska Training Facility.

Image courtesy of Thompson & Co.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Paul Landes, senior vice president at GCI, announced efforts to raise $1 million for Special Olympics Alaska in memory of the late President/CEO Jim Balamaci, who passed away Feb. 1 of this year. 

The endowment, spearheaded by Landes—the chair elect of Special Olympics Alaska—will support Special Olympics Alaska’s staff, programs, athletes and advocacy for people with developmental disabilities across the state. 

The announcement was made during celebration of life event for Balamaci, held at the Alaska Airlines Center during the 2018 Special Olympics Alaska Winter Games Closing Ceremony. The event was attended by more than 800 members of the Alaska community, including his family and friends; Special Olympics athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers; and representatives from Alaska’s legislature. During the event, it was also announced that the Special Olympics facility in Anchorage will formally be renamed the Jim Balamaci Special Olympics Alaska Training Facility. 

“One million dollars is an ambitious goal, but I know that Alaskans can move mountains, especially when it comes to an incredible cause,” said Landes. “Jim had an immeasurable impact on the Special Olympics community, and we want to do everything we can to ensure that Special Olympics Alaska has the resources to remain focused on the athletes during this difficult transition.” 

Balamaci started out as a Special Olympic Alaska volunteer in 1979 and later coached in the 1980s. In 1996, he became the president/CEO of Special Olympics Alaska. Under his leadership, Alaska hosted the 2001 World Winter Games. Balamaci was a friend and mentor to each and every athlete, constantly stressing the importance of inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He fully dedicated his life to Special Olympics. It was Balamaci’s sole mission and purpose that every single person in Alaska be aware of and support the Special Olympics organization and its core values: community is our focus, sport is our passion, health is our commitment and excellence is our goal. 

Balamaci and his team’s most recent work included developing an Aging Unified Athlete Program for Alaska athletes and their families. The goal is to further research the needs and outcomes of healthy initiatives for aging athletes. 

For more information about the endowment honoring Balamaci and to donate directly, visit http://specialolympicsalaska.org/

 

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