Corporate giving programs are common among businesses and organizations, and many want to ensure that the joy of charitable giving stretches across their company to every employee. Recently, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s Corporate Giving Network hosted representatives from organizations across the Kansas City metro area to discuss how they can better engage their employees in charitable giving programs.
Kansas City-based architecture and planning firm, Gould Evans, brings charitable giving opportunities to the workplace through STEAM Studio, a program that applies art and design-based learning for kids in and around Kansas City.
David Reid, Principal at Gould Evans, explained that STEAM Studio helps expedite science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) interests in young students by providing a research lab under the Gould-Evans roof. This allows students to engage with employees in a professional environment and experience a custom-made education that includes after-school programs, semester-long programs, summer camps and weekend workshops.
David says the program resonates with employees because they are given the opportunity to share their craft with students.
“STEAM Studio is evidence that we walk the walk and don’t just talk the talk in terms of giving back,” he said.
Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company, gives its employees in the Kansas City area a chance to help educate the next generation of manufacturing professionals through the Honeywell Opportunity through Prosperity for Education (HOPE) Scholarship. The scholarship, administered by the Community Foundation, covers tuition for students who are pursuing careers in skill-trade or manufacturing.
Ashlee Parker-Osborne, leader of Community Reinvestment for Honeywell in Kansas City, said the HOPE Scholarship aims to reach students who are not headed to four-year colleges or universities and provide them with a path to solid careers and competitive pay.
Honeywell matches HOPE Scholarship recipients with employee mentors to help guide them through their career exploration. Employees stay involved as mentors to give students a firsthand look at different facets of manufacturing through tours and shadowing experiences.
Kristi Tahmasiyan of Terracon discussed the work that the Terracon Foundation does for its community. In 2007, the Terracon Foundation partnered with Greater Horizons, the Community Foundation’s national entity, to set up a corporate donor-advised fund. Terracon’s giving program has since grown to a widespread corporate giving initiative.
Grants are awarded each year to nonprofit organizations that focus on STEM initiatives: Community grants, University grants, and National Partner grants. Past grant recipients include the Society of Women Engineers, Girl Scouts, Ace Mentor Program, National Society of Black Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders USA.
Employees have the opportunity to submit grant requests for organizations that align with Terracon’s mission and values. As an employee-owned company, Kristi says the Terracon Foundation’s goal is to focus on the needs of Terracon employees and their families.
“Our goal is to reach out and become a real part of the lives of our employees and the communities they serve,” she said. “We want to champion the causes that are near and dear to their hearts.”
Businesses of any size can involve employees in charitable giving through corporate giving initiatives that support their philanthropic interests. Are you interested in discussing charitable giving over breakfast? Corporate Giving Network events are open to any and all corporate charitable givers and are designed to help employers learn how to make the most of their charitable giving.
Authored by: Hope Thompson, Communications Intern