November 16, 2018
Facility will also be dedicated in honor of late Special Olympics Alaska President & CEO Jim Balamaci
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – GCI, Special Olympics Alaska and the Alaska Community Foundation today announced a successful fundraising effort to jumpstart an endowment in honor of Jim Balamaci, the late president and CEO of Special Olympics Alaska. The initial $1 million goal ultimately resulted in $2 million being pledged. Additionally, Balamaci’s nearly four decades of dedication to the athletes and community he loved so much is commemorated through the official dedication of the Special Olympics Alaska Jim Balamaci Training Center.
The $1 million fundraising goal was announced by GCI Senior Vice President of Consumer Services Paul Landes on March 11, 2018 at Balamaci’s celebration of life.
“Jim embodied the core values of Special Olympics Alaska, an organization he dedicated so much of his life to,” said Landes. “When we started out on our original $1 million fundraising journey, we thought that would be an extraordinary push, but Jim was an extraordinary man, and you can tell that through the way the community came together to not just reach that goal, but double it – further enabling Special Olympics Alaska to carry on Jim’s legacy.”
The additional $1 million donation has been pledged in the estate plans of a generous donor, who learned about the fund and was motivated to give.
The endowment, spearheaded by Landes, will support Special Olympics Alaska’s staff, programs, athletes and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the state.
“The impact Jim had on Special Olympics Alaska athletes, staff, volunteers, and our community at-large over his decades of dedication and service is immeasurable,” said current Special Olympics Alaska President & CEO Nicolle Egan. “Watching the community come together like it has over the past eight months in honor of Jim is inspiring and an incredible testament to the impact Jim made on so many people.”
“Jim’s influence in shaping and creating a community of inclusion, cooperation, and achievement for Special Olympics athletes throughout Alaska is undeniable,” said Nina Kemppel, President and CEO, Alaska Community Foundation. “Through this endowment, the organization he dedicated so much of his life to will be better equipped to continue, expand and further improve in the years to come.”
At an event Friday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Special Olympics Alaska building in Anchorage, Landes, Egan and representatives from the Alaska Community Foundation will announce the current $2 million endowment to a room full of athletes and community members. Also, the event will feature an unveiling of brand new exterior building signage, dedicating the Special Olympics Alaska Jim Balamaci Training Center. Donors, business leaders, and representatives of local lawmakers and Alaska’s federal delegation are expected to attend. Members of the media are also invited to attend.
GCI provides data, wireless, video, voice and managed services to consumer and business customers throughout Alaska and nationwide. Headquartered in Alaska, GCI has delivered services for nearly 40 years to some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com. GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of GCI Liberty, Inc. (Nasdaq: GLIBA, GLIBP). Learn more about GCI Liberty at www.gciliberty.com.
About Special Olympics Alaska
Special Olympics Alaska provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness to demonstrate courage, to experience joy and to participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Heather Handyside, GCI
Jessica Bjornstad, Special Olympics Alaska