Created as a corporate donor-advised fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in 2008, the Black & Veatch Foundation has granted more than $20 million to nonprofit organizations in the communities where Black & Veatch employees live and work. With a robust corporate giving program, the global company is committed to supporting charitable organizations and programs that create significant, measurable impact aligned with the company’s mission and values.
In this Q&A, Black & Veatch Foundation representatives share their insight on the structure of the Foundation, employee engagement, and what the future of the Foundation looks like. Business leaders interested in establishing or enhancing their own corporate giving program in partnership with the Community Foundation can learn more online or contact us to get started.
1. How is the Black & Veatch Foundation structured and how are funding priorities determined?
The Black & Veatch Foundation is governed by a board and committee structure. The Global Board meets quarterly to discuss large grants and set direction for the Foundation. Regional Committees representing the US and APAC meet quarterly to approve smaller grants and engage with our charitable partners. Foundation grants must be aligned to one or more of our funding priority areas: STEM education, humanitarian aid, reducing inequalities, or a signature program where Black & Veatch has a long-standing history and active involvement of our professionals.
2. What is the culture of giving like at Black & Veatch, and how has it evolved?
Our professionals are passionate about giving to their communities, causes they believe in, and those in need. Our professionals have been giving in an annual campaign drive for United Way for more than 20 years. Our professionals are passionate about many topics and many spend time volunteering with youth to raise the next generation of engineers and STEM lovers. Most recently, the Black & Veatch Foundation has evolved in response to professionals’ input. Our employee matching gift program that matches employee donations to the charity of their choice was expanded to include our construction sites. Previously, our construction staff was unable to participate due to the form being only available electronically. We are now able to match the cash donations our thousands of construction staff raise each year. In 2021 we also launched an employee disaster relief fund, providing assistance to our global professionals in their time of need.
3. How are employees engaged in the company’s philanthropic efforts?
We engage our professionals through stories on our internal communication channels and media press releases. During specific events throughout the year, or in response to a humanitarian crisis, we run matching gift campaigns that match employee donations for designated organizations. We also share Foundation stories and information through events and employee gatherings. Every year, we designate funds for our employee resource groups to donate to organizations of their choosing in celebration of their group events such as International Women’s Day, Pride Month, and Black History Month.
4. How does Black & Veatch stay connected and aligned with the communities it serves?
Our professionals are active in their local communities. Any professional in the company can submit a grant request for a charitable organization, allowing Foundation money to reach the communities where we live and work. Our matching gift program also allows professionals to submit requests for a 501(c)(3) they have already donated to. Our professionals are supporting hundreds of organizations, from animal shelters to food pantries to local schools and beyond!
5. What does the future of the Black & Veatch Foundation look like?
The Black & Veatch Foundation has evolved and grown quite a bit in the last three years. We look forward to continuing the work to greater align with the UN Development Goals, bringing a strategic focus to assisting in the fight against human trafficking, and actively participating in our communities to close the opportunity gap in STEM.
6. What advice do you have for companies who are just getting started with their own giving programs?
Partner with an organization like the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and utilize their expertise to set yourself up for success. Put governance and procedures in place to make sure your processes are clear, equitable, and well-documented and listen to your employees, leverage Employee Resource Groups if you have them to better understand the causes they care about.