OPINION: Commit to giving back to your community in 2018
GCI opened its doors for business in 1979 and has been serving Alaskans with long distance, cable, internet and wireless service ever since. But GCI is more than just Alaska's technology leader, we are a company founded and operated by Alaskans. We are committed to being a good neighbor and supporting our local communities. That's why GCI donates more than $2 million to Alaska organizations each year and provides more than 32,000 hours of paid volunteer time to our 2,200 employees statewide.
GCI's Alaska roots go back almost 40 years and our employees help make sure that we stay true to those roots by giving back to the communities where they live and work, giving back is part of our company culture. You'll find our employees regularly restocking local food pantries, plunging into polar waters to raise money for Special Olympics athletes, tidying up neighborhoods and restoring local homes, mentoring Alaska students and providing toys, coats and meals to Alaska families in need. GCI believes in connecting with and making a lasting impact in the communities we serve.
GCI helps our employees support the causes they love through GCI's Community Service Volunteer Program. Every year, GCI provides each full time employee with 16 hours of paid leave to volunteer. Employees are encouraged to use their time to support the organizations that speak to their personal passion. Our volunteer program helps experienced volunteers spend more time with the organizations they love and guides new volunteers to find a cause that inspires them.
In addition to human-powered resources, GCI gives back to the community through direct donations, in-kind services and products totaling about $2 million per year. Examples include:
Over the past decade, GCI has donated more than $2.6 million in scholarships to young, promising Alaska students. These scholarships will help launch the next generation of Alaska leaders who will create innovative products and services, develop cutting-edge technology, promote positive social change, and help local economies thrive.
This year, GCI employees donated more than $250,000 to the United Way, a 20-plus year partnership. We are proud of this long-term commitment, and the generosity of GCI employees and their families. We know that United Way provides critical support to educational programs. United Way's programs play a critical role in giving Alaskan families in need the resources and opportunities necessary to create a better future.
This year, GCI's Suicide Prevention Grant has provided a combined $100,000 in grant funds to nine organizations across Alaska to establish and strengthen their suicide prevention efforts. We've been incredibly impressed with diversity of solutions by these nine organizations and how they approach suicide prevention in the most effective ways for Alaska's communities. Suicide is a tragedy that affects far too many Alaskans, and GCI plans to continue to fund programs that provide suicide prevention support.
These are just a few examples of the Alaska organizations GCI contributes to every year. If you have a favorite organization that needs support, applications can be submitted at www.gci.com/gci-gives.
At GCI, we believe giving back at the corporate and individual level is key to fostering strong, vibrant communities. For those of you who have found your worthy cause, thank you for giving back to your communities with the generous gift of your time and your care. For those who don't currently volunteer with a local non-profit, I would encourage you to give it a try. If there's a social issue that ignites that spark of passion inside of you, get involved. Make an impact.
Many thanks to all of the GCI employees who dedicate their time, doing their part to strengthen communities throughout Alaska. It's your commitment to creating a better tomorrow that enables and inspires GCI to be an integral part of Alaskans' lives —as more than just a cable company.
Paul Landes is the senior vice president and general manager of Consumer Services at GCI.