Farmington, CT – KBE Building Corporation recently won the Business Champions Award for Community Involvement, made possible by a partnership between the MetroHartford Alliance and the Hartford Business Journal. KBE was honored for its creative approach to corporate philanthropy, including 9,000 volunteer hours logged and $1.5 million donated since 2009.
KBE’s corporate philanthropic program, 50 Ways to Make a Difference, was launched in 2009 to celebrate the firm’s 50 years in business, long history of charitable giving, and new ownership. Since then, KBE and its employees have focused on programs that support children, seniors, and military personnel and their families.
KBE places its charitable focus on a different group of people every year. Employees are given annual paid time off to participate in volunteer activities of their choice.
In 2014, KBE provided scholarships to 34 Conn. Technical High School students pursuing careers in the design and construction industry, along with endowed scholarships at ECSU and WCSU.
The 2015 focus is on not-for-profit hospitals and hospice centers, offering grants to assist in small construction projects or funding of outreach programs.
“Our company has a long philanthropic tradition. When my partners and I acquired the business, it was only fitting to continue,” said Mike Kolakowski, KBE President/CEO and Principal Owner. “Fifty Ways really caught on. That first year was so successful, we decided to keep it going as a way of giving back.”
“Our Fifty Ways committee meets every October to decide what the theme will be for the next year,” said Kolakowski. “They look at what sort of work we have in the pipeline to see if we can blend causes with our projects, talk about new areas to explore, and then present the theme to senior management. From there, we help to implement and provide support for the program.”
KBE is also the founding sponsor for CPTV’s Made In Connecticut documentary, which focuses attention on the critical importance of the state’s manufacturing industry to our state and national economy.
Through KBE’s signature annual event, “The Gift of Gobble,” employees have provided complete Thanksgiving meal kits to nearly 1,000 families during the last five years. “We are fortunate to be in a position to do these things,” Kolakowski said. “It’s the right thing to do to be a good corporate citizen.”