KBE’s 50 Ways to Make A Difference Program: 12 Years and $3.3M Later

Karen Clarke and Andrea Comstock-Tague at KBE's Gift of Gobble event

Farmington, CT – Since 2009, KBE’s “50 Ways to Make A Difference” corporate philanthropy program has touched the lives of hundreds of Connecticut and Maryland residents. Each year, the firm provides support to nonprofit agencies that help children, seniors, and military personnel and their families. Support ranges from financial donations to pro bono construction services to volunteer time by its staff on both company-organized events and personal charitable work.

In 2020, KBE’s 50 Ways program provided more than $265,000 in support to a wide range of agencies and causes. The donation tally since the program started in 2009 tops more than $3.3 million.

Some of the programs include:

Thanksgiving’s on KBE! – the annual Gift of Gobble event provides Thanksgiving meals to families and organizations. This year, KBE donated 410 Thanksgiving dinners. Forty staff members and their families gathered at Camp Courant in Farmington to assemble and deliver the meal kits. The camp’s open air pavilion provided a safe, socially-distanced setting for employees and staff members to work together on the assembly line event. The firm’s Maryland office assembled 50 meal kits. In total, the Gift of Gobble has provided nearly 3,100 Thanksgiving meals to families in need since 2009.

Helping build the state’s construction workforce – Since 2015, KBE’s Connecticut Technical High School Scholarship program has supported graduating seniors pursuing post-high school education in construction industry. This year’s awards totaled $13,000, given to 13 technical high school graduating seniors. All in, the firm has provided nearly $100,000 in scholarships to help encourage young adults to pursue construction industry careers and help offset the growing shortage of workers.

Habitat for Humanity, Hartford – KBE was a major funding sponsor for a Habitat build of two homes in Bristol by 15 KBE employees who swung hammers, hung sheetrock, and more to provide low-cost housing to two Bristol-area families.

Special Olympics Unified Fishing Tournament – KBE is the founding sponsor of this now-three year old addition to the annual Special Olympics Dream Ride Experience held in Farmington. While the pandemic forced cancellation of the summer fishing event, KBE continued to provide sponsorship-level funding for the program.

Many of KBE’s employees have spouses or other immediate family members working in hospitals, EMT stations, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. The firm decided to focus its donations on helping those individuals with personal ties to KBE. KBE staff put together the care packages  containing hand lotion, energy bars, and other snacks, and also provided meals to family members and their colleagues at 17 area hospitals and nursing homes.  More than 130 meals and 440 “thank you” bags were given to healthcare workers in Connecticut caring for COVID patients.

The 50 Ways program also provides funding for a number of local agencies as well as those farther afield throughout the year, many suggested by the firm’s employees. Among those receiving financial support this year are Bloomfield Social and Youth Services, Connecticut Alliance of Foster Adoptive Agencies, New Britain Community Services, NSW Rural Fire Service (Australia), Currumbin Wildlife Hospital (Australia), Save-A-Suit Foundation, Mutts Mending Mankind, and Ronald McDonald House of Baltimore.

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