Kitchell finalist for Corporate Philanthropy award

Kitchell was named one of three Community Impact finalists in the mid-size companies category as part of the Phoenix Business Journal‘s Corporate Philanthropy Awards.

Excerpted from The Business Journal:

What is the driving factor behind your corporate philanthropy? Our employee-owners are the heart and soul of our company, and they drive our community engagement while fulfilling our corporate mission,“Together, building value every day”. Our people take great pride in fulfilling our mission by building value in not only the physical structures we create, but also building value in our communities.

How do you inspire employees to be involved in your corporate mission? Our corporate mission and purpose, “Together, building value every day.”is our mantra. We are bound together by this purpose and passionate about the flexibility of it. While the “value” might change in this phrase, we are builders at our core.

What is a signature program that shows how your company conducts philanthropy? We recently rolled out our inaugural “Founder’s Day,” recognizing the spirit of service and philanthropic legacy of Founder Sam Kitchell. We charged employees, teams, jobs sites and offices with facilitating community engagement projects and committed to donating $25 per employee per hour to the nonprofits where they dedicated their time. The activities were all timed to coincide with the anniversary of Kitchell’s passing and National Day of Service and Remembrance on Sept. 11. The tangible results of this effort were 1,012 hours donated by 255 employees (some with friends and family members), and more than $17,000 in contributions to nonprofits in Arizona, California, Washington and Texas.

How do you decide what philanthropic efforts to be involved with? We have some organizations that are supported on a corporate level, but for the most part our employee-owners drive the efforts we support through their passion, advocacy and business networks. Our philanthropy is geographically representative of our locations.

How much in terms of money and volunteer hours did you give during the past year? Our total nonprofit giving as a company for the 12 months ending June 30 was $977,314. Of that, nearly $800,000 benefited nonprofit organizations in Arizona. We do not record all volunteer hours, but those who do report their time totaled 1,612 hours in that time period through June 30.

What are the benefits you’ve seen in your office from corporate philanthropy? Organizations want to work with companies that are good stewards of the community. They want to see companies that get deeply involved in causes that are important to them. Similarly, today’s new generation of workers is attracted to workplaces that encourage and reward community involvement.

What is better to give: money, time or both? Why? Both time and money are important, and neither can survive without the other. Fortunately our state leaders have created incentives for companies to be able to contribute to worthwhile causes and often receive dollar-for-dollar tax credit. And charitable organizations – especially here in the Valley – have made volunteer recruitment much easier. Several nonprofits outline specific tasks for teams of people to accomplish in one or two hours.

How do you measure the impact of your corporate giving efforts? Several ways:

  • Hours contributed – more than 1,200 hours so far in 2018
  • Dollars contributed – not only our corporate donations but the amount of money employees give through our 50 percent match program
  • Informal feedback/comments
  • New work – when we do good, we get work. It’s as simple as that
  • Attrition – our younger employees value the work we do in the community and as we publicize this work internally and through social media channels, our culture improves and retention rates increase.

#KitchellGivesBack in a big way

Sam Kitchell was a man who believed doing good reaps rewards. During his lifetime he and his wife Betty gave time and money to dozens of nonprofits, ranging from the Desert Botanical Garden to the Arizona Kidney Foundation. He was a man of incredible energy and kindness. And in the name of the community spirit he espoused, Kitchell employees recently volunteered for a total of 27 community service projects throughout Arizona, California, Texas and Washington, representing more than 1,000 hours.

Kitchell’s inaugural Founder’s Day was Sept. 11, marking the day of Sam’s passing in 2006 and National Day of Service and Remembrance. In Sam’s name, teams of Kitchell employees (wearing an iconic Sam Kitchell insignia) hit the streets with their tools, time and energy and tackled efforts ranging from vegetable harvesting for food banks to school maintenance projects. Community projects took place starting Sept. 5 with the San Diego Food Bank and ending with a project 10 days later, painting rocks to spread joy on behalf of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Sacramento on Sept. 15. Some employees took time away from work, and others dedicated time on weekends.

Participation was not mandatory, but the all-volunteer effort resulted in 260 volunteers and 1,012 recorded hours. Kitchell donated $25 for every hour employees volunteered up to four hours per person. The total contributions over the 10 days were $17,150 for charitable organizations in Arizona, California, Texas and Washington. The organizations we supported throughout the campaign include:

UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge

San Diego Food Bank

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northern California

Ranger Road Freedom Jump

Santa Barbara Food Bank

Honor Health Desert Mission Food Bank

Bright Beginnings Preschool

Assistance League of Phoenix Operation School Bell

Feed My Starving Children

UMOM New Day Shelter

Community First! Village Mobile Loaves & Fishes

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento ReStore

Anaheim Cove Park Clean-Up

Rebuilding Together Houston

Eloise’s Cooking Pot Food Bank

Green Apple Day of Service at Chula Vista High School

MiraCosta College

Ben’s Bells

St. Mary’s Food Bank

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

Sacramento Food Bank

San Luis Obispo Food Bank Coalition

Operation Care & Comfort

Folsom Cordova USD Adult Education Program

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of Greater Sacramento