by GCI Staff
Founder of YK Delta Lifesavers recognized for years of community activism in Bethel.
GCI’s corporate philanthropy program, GCI Gives, presented Bethel resident Beverly Hoffman with its annual Trailblazer of the Year award to recognize her role in the development of the Bethel Pool and Wellness Center, a facility that was built after years of planning, advocacy and fundraising spearheaded by Hoffman and the YK Delta Lifesavers organization.
The YK Delta Lifesavers was formed in 1991 by a group of mothers in Bethel after concerns grew about the number of deaths by drowning in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. Spearheaded by Hoffman, the group joined together to fundraise and rally support for a public pool to serve as a swim lesson facility and community center.
“If you’re looking for someone who epitomizes the trailblazer spirit, look no further than Beverly Hoffman,” said GCI Chief Communications Officer Heather Handyside. “Because of Bev’s vision, leadership, and persistence, Bethel is now home to a beautiful pool facility and wellness center that the community enjoys year-round. Bev is such a warm and joyful person—it’s easy to see how she was able to engage an entire community to make this vision into a reality. We can’t wait to see what Bev does next!”
November 2020 marked six years since the grand opening of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Fitness Center, the YK Delta Lifesavers’ long-awaited community aquatic center. Managed by the Bethel Community Services Foundation, the group also administers a healthy endowment fund after decades of putting on Christmas Cookie Extravaganzas, collecting earnings from Bev’s Open Gym nights, generous community donations, and proceeds from other fundraisers. Hoffman is now looking ahead to phase two of the fitness center where the YK Delta Lifesavers hope to build a community multipurpose gym facility.
“Today I have people come up to me who remember Bev’s Open Gym which I ran years ago. Now they’re the ones who are going to push this phase two forward. I tell them, ‘It’s not me anymore, now it’s you.’ I’m really honored to get this recognition from GCI. I just can’t say enough how much we appreciate GCI out here for all things you’ve done in our community,” said Hoffman.
GCI is one of Alaska’s leaders in corporate philanthropy, donating approximately $2 million each year in cash, products and connectivity to organizations across the state. GCI is committed to giving back to the communities it serves and provides employees with 16 hours of paid leave to volunteer with local organizations. In 2020, more than 320 GCI employees volunteered more than 2,900 hours.
For more information about GCI Gives, visit www.gci.com/why-gci/gcigives.