The Bay College Alumni Association is proud to announce Gary L. LaPlant of Escanaba as Bay College’s 2011 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.
Born and raised in Gladstone, Michigan, Gary graduated from Gladstone High School in 1960. Gary served in the US Army until his honorable discharge in 1963. After serving his country, Gary attended Bay College and received an Associate degree in 1973. Gary began his career working for and on the behalf of the public and has continued that mission to this day. Throughout his career, Gary has worked with unions, local businesses and community foundations. His extensive fundraising experience gained by working with the community foundations led him to receive a Certificate of Achievement from The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University in 1996.
Gary has held his current position as Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Delta County since 1999 and as the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula since 2003. During this time, Gary has been instrumental in helping many small community foundations in the Upper Peninsula come together to share resources and ideas. Gary has played an instrumental role in securing many gifts/bequests for the Community Foundation of Delta County, which has distributed funds to over 100 non-profit organizations in Delta County. In addition, Gary was instrumental in the development of the Financial Information Materials Service (FIMS) model, which has become a national pilot and model for the cooperation of community foundations for their mutual benefit.
In addition to his professional contributions, Gary has a personal commitment to encourage individuals in their own philanthropy and service to their community. He is dedicated to teaching the principals and importance of philanthropy to people of all ages. He has dedicated his time and provided leadership to organizations such as the General Board of the Michigan state AFL-CIO, Marquette General Health Services Board of Trustees, Board of Midwest Community Foundation Ventures, Escanaba Industrial Foundation Board, Delta County Economic Development Alliance, and the Economic Alliance for Michigan.