Rock & Snow owner Rich Gottlieb was surprised when he earned the annual Mid-Hudson Valley National Philanthropy Day Award.
“It was completely off my radar,” he said. “It kind of took me off guard.”
Gottlieb received the Leadership in Corporate Philanthropy Award due to his connection with the community through his store. He was one of four honorees chosen for the annual award ceremony, sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. A member of the foundation nominated him and stated his case to the board of members. They reviewed and compared him with the other nominated philanthropists and on Nov. 10 he received the award.
Gottlieb has worked at the Rock & Snow outdoors store in New Paltz for 28 years. He’s owned the store for 10 years and like the philanthropy award, “It kind of fell into my lap,” he said.
When Dick Williams, the founder of Rock & Snow, was ready to sell the company in 2000 he looked to Gottlieb, his full-time business partner, to take over. Gottlieb felt it was his duty to continue providing the community with an outdoors store that gives back. He believes selling is communicating and when you give back to the community it creates a healthier environment for business.
Gottlieb donates to the Mohonk Preserve, New Paltz Rescue Squad and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. He also hosts raffles in the store and supplies the prizes. Gottlieb lets the New Paltz Farmer’s Market use his parking lot for free on Sundays during their season and hosts climbing events at the store for the rock climbing community. The store has found a niche in the community over the last 40 years, becoming a haven and market for the avid adventurer.
“Gottlieb’s a pretty generous guy, he even gives the workers a little bonus on his birthday,” said Andrew Zalewski, an employee at Rock & Snow for 11 years.
Customers at Rock & Snow are greeted by the owner as they walk in and are asked to feel at home in the store. Tammy Buckner, an active rock climber at New Paltz, thinks he’s done the town justice in so many ways.
“He keeps the town healthy and active, and never stops giving back,” she said.