Each year at the Annual Dinner, the South KC Chamber recognizes 10 organizations that have made a positive impact in South Kansas City.
Meet the 2020 Impact Award Winners…
Since the company was started over a century ago, A.L. Huber General Contractor is enthusiastically committed to serving the communities in which they live, work and play. The community provides them with the opportunity to construct great projects, support their families and grow personally and professionally, so for the Huber family it’s a natural response to desire to give back. Their employees achieve this through gifts of time, skillsets and resources to organizations that serve our community. In addition, the A.L. Huber Family Foundation supports this mission through targeted reinvestment in the community. Community involvement is not just a corporate responsibility, it’s part of their culture and identity.
A.L. Huber gives back to their community in many ways including serving meals at the Olathe Good Samaritan Society two to three times each month, providing Christmas gifts for the clients and their families of Healing House, assisting Grace United Community Ministries with maintenance and repair projects at their facility, donating bedding and helping with distribution of beds for Sleepyhead Beds, volunteering at the Community Assistance Council Holiday Store and much more. Last year they volunteered with Inclusion Connections at their Activities Center helping their clients with disabilities work in the Pawsabilities program, which provides translatable job skills training along with opportunities to learn marketable business skills leading to meaningful employment.
For the past couple of years A.L. Huber has partnered with the Center School District Alternative School through the Caring for Kids program. They have made an impact at the school by:
- Providing daily treats to teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day
- Collecting donations to help Alternative School families have a great Christmas
- Kicking off the holiday season at the Alternative School with an ice cream social and bag of candy with gifts cards for each student. In addition, they collected socks and winter coats for the students.
A unique way that they give back each year is the “Huber $100”. Each year at the annual A.L. Huber Christmas Party each employee receives a goodie basket, which includes a small envelope with a $100 bill inside. Each employee is asked to give the $100 to somebody they run into that could use a little extra at the holidays.
Since 2016, Fishtech Group has evolved from one small building along Holmes to a state-of-the-art campus. This cybersecurity solutions provider is proud to call Martin City home. One of the company’s six core values is community engagement, and they’ve found a unique way to fulfill that mission through school tours and education support.
Founder and CEO Gary Fish says there are two reasons for this: to give back to the community that supported his company’s growth and to help foster interest in cybersecurity as a possible career choice. By 2021, it is estimated there will be 3 million open positions in cybersecurity; 500,000 in the U.S. alone. Seeking something more meaningful than profit, Fish encourages Fishtech staff to regularly participate in opportunities to mentor, educate, and share about their path to cybersecurity. Among the ways technical and non-technical staff participate include:
School Tours – Regularly scheduled tours of Fishtech headquarters and the adjacent Cyber Defense Center for high school groups and others. Each tour culminates in a panel of experts who talk about their varied career paths, how to enter the cybersecurity industry, potential internships, and take one-on-one questions. Recent groups who have toured include: Lathrop High School, Liberty Public School Administrators, Liberty Public School Teachers, Raytown Schools Teachers, UCM Cyber program (2x), Liberty Academy, Summit Tech CyberPatriots, BV CAPS, UMKC Bloch School, Center High CompSci & Robotics, and Southland CAPS (Raytown).
High School Girls Cybersecurity Summit – 100 high school girls from six schools visited all day for a panel discussion on women in cybersecurity with successful women in the industry, tours, and focused presentations from every segment of Fishtech and CYDERES.
Comp Sci Pathways – Fishtech Group engages with several local high schools and colleges to help them build out new and fledgling Comp Sci and cybersecurity programming and pathways. Recent collaborations include Grandview Principal and team as part of a larger multi-district effort.
Community Support – Team members have supported the SKC community with gifts of time and donation through Martin City Elementary Junior Achievement on entrepreneurship in grades 2-7 and Martin City Elementary Adopted student families for Christmas 2019. Fishtech staff serve on the boards and committees of the Martin City Community Improvement District, the Martin City Business & Community Association and the South KC Chamber.
They may be a small company with fewer than 15 employees, but the owners at Grade-A Tree Care have big hearts. They are always ready and willing to provide hands-on volunteer assistance to help organizations that serve South Kansas City and beyond.
Grade-A employees are regular volunteers for Community Assistance Council, a social service agency serving less fortunate families in South Kansas City. They can be seen picking up and disposing of boxes, unloading trucks of food, and completing numerous other tasks at CAC and typically spend 15-20 hours a month volunteering there. Phil Giordano, the owner, also serves on the Board of Directors for CAC as well as the Finance Committee.
Last year the company painted a 75-foot bucket truck and chipper pink in support of Breakfast Cancer Awareness. When a customer calls and requests “The Pink Crew” Grade-A will donate 5% of the revenue from that job (10% in October) to breast cancer awareness to help local cancer survivors meet their day-to-day needs.
Each year Grade-A sponsors a team in the annual Brew to Brew 42-mile run between the West Bottoms and Lawrence, KS to raise funds to combat cystic fibrosis. This cause is near and dear to the company’s heart as Giordano’s son Nick, who serves as Manager at Grade-A, is a CF survivor.
The Grade-A Tree team is grateful for the success they have had and are always ready and willing to step up and help when they find someone needing their help.
Honeywell and its predecessor companies have been a proud part of the South Kansas City Community for 70 years. They manage and operate the US Department of Energy’s Kansas City National Security Campus, the largest Gold LEED-certified manufacturing facility in the country, and their commitment to the community is steadfast.
Since 2017, they have invested nearly a million dollars annually to support critical programs and organizations supporting their key pillars of giving: Workforce Development, STEMM Education, Veterans & Military Families, Family Safety & Security, Diversity & Inclusion and Civic Engagement. In 2019, more than 600 employees dedicated over 8,000 hours of community service and STEMM outreach.
Honeywell’s scholarships are the heart of their community outreach program. Since 2017, they have awarded nearly 80 scholarships to deserving students to help them gain the skills and education needed in today’s workforce. The Honeywell Opportunity for Prosperity through Education (HOPE) Scholarship is for students who plan to pursue technical careers in manufacturing or information technology. The majority of students in the HOPE program are from Center, Grandview and Ruskin High Schools.
Additionally, Honeywell piloted a mentorship program with Grandview Middle School in 2019. Twenty boys were selected for the program and members of Honeywell’s Black Employee Network (HBEN) provided weekly mentoring sessions with the students providing engaging STEM activities and coaching for the students. The program will be expanded in 2020 to also include female middle school students.
Honeywell conducts IGNITE STEM events at Grandview Middle School and Martin City Middle School each year, sparking an interest in STEM careers in middle school students, with a focus on girls. Additionally, they provide STEM engagement at Center Middle School through monthly activities with 20 Honeywell volunteers providing their time and talent to support the educational outreach.
Their commitment to education also extends to their employees. Honeywell provides a generous educational assistance program to help employees obtain higher levels of education and training related to their work in national security.
With military veterans accounting for more than 13% of their workforce, they have a strong connection with veterans and the military community. They partner with organizations like Camp Valor Outdoors and Warriors Ascent to support veterans who are recovering from the physical and mental impacts of their service to our country and they are incredibly proud of a new partnership they developed in 2019 with Hiring Our Heroes, program that helps members of the military successfully transition into civilian careers.
After giving South Kansas City residents what they had been wanting for years…a coffee shop in Martin City… owner Penny Romero continues to give to the community on a regular basis. In the first year after opening a new business, many business owners don’t always support an abundance of causes because they are just trying to build their business and pay the bills, but not Romero.
In their first year in business Martin City Coffee has been found at many events in the community volunteering and giving away free coffee. Two of these events include the Martin City Holiday Lighting and Whiskey Run 5K.
Other organizations the coffee shop has supported through time and donations over the past year include: Martin City Melodrama’s dog rescue fundraiser, Missouri Pitbull Association’s volleyball tournament fundraiser, Rides for Hope KC – Downtown for Dillon
Cornerstones of Care’s annual plant sale fundraiser, Calvary Lutheran School’s annual auction, Saint Thomas More’s annual holiday market, the South KC Chamber’s annual golf tournament, Missouri Right to Life’s annual golf tournament and the Shadow Buddies Foundation annual gala.
The culture at Martin City Coffee not only supports the community but it’s employees. Romero can be found have discussions with employees about personal and life goals and she continuously coaches and encourages them to be the best they can be.
Established in 2012, NorthPoint Development is a privately held real estate development firm specializing in the development of Class A Real Estate facilities. They have made it a company goal of helping people who are less fortunate to be a part of the fabric of their company; an active goal of the company to seek out and help others.
Since their inception seven years ago, NorthPoint has given over $4.1 million in charitable contributions back to the community. This money was raised through numerous fundraising events, their employee match program and community outreach programs.
NorthPoint is committed to helping support their employees’ charitable endeavors by matching 100% of the charitable donations that all their employees make. This allows the charity of their organization to reflect the values of each of their employees.
In addition to supporting employees’ charitable endeavors, NorthPoint also supports its employees. They believe in taking care of their people and created the “Pay It Forward” program to offer employee assistance to team members experiencing hardships. Over $45,000 in grants was given to employees in 2018.
Other events they have participate include bike drives, blood drives and they support many organizations through event sponsorships. In 2019 the NorthPoint GoFeed event raised nearly $190,000 and provided 280,368 meals to children in need around the world.
While the education of students at Ruskin High School is extremely important, the staff and administrators also teach the importance of giving back to your community. Students are involved in many fundraisers and events that benefit those less fortunate including:
Around Halloween each year STUCO, in conjunction with the Theatre Department “Trick or Treat so Tots can Eat” collect food that is donated into our KC metro community through the Educational Theatre Association and the International Thespian Society
Each year STUCO and 20/20 Leadership donate personal care and hygiene products to Giving the Basics.
This year 20/20 Leadership will be making and donating blankets to Restoration House KC, an organization that works with victims of human trafficking.
Each year the 20/20 Leadership participates in the bi-state, tri-county 20/20 Olympics. One of their “in-house” service projects is their coat closet. Teachers and students alike donate coats to have on hand for students, and overflow coats are given to their local partner, the Community Assistance Council.
Each year, Ruskin High School partners with the local chapter of Pennies for Patients. Students and staff, through a variety of activities to including Penny Wars, collect pennies over a 3-week time period and all proceeds are given to the local chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Sock it to Poverty is a sock collection by the faculty during the cold winter months, and all socks are donated to a local Kansas City homeless shelter.
This year all staff donated $5.00 and the proceeds were given to the Ruskin High School Special Olympics Team.
Students who are part of the Upward Bound program held a diaper drive to benefit Happy Bottoms, an organization that helps families who are in desperate need of diapers for their babies.
Upward Bound also partners with Wayside Waifs every year. Students do everything from feeding animals, walking animals, cleaning or washing bedding for kennels, and playing with animals…anything the agency may need during service.
Ruskin hosts monthly visits of the Harvesters’ mobile food pantry, a semi-truck filled with fresh fruit, vegetables and other health food items for the needy.
In addition to the events listed above students also volunteer for Math Relays, serve on a student panel at Teacher’s Professional Development, collect donations for Community Assistance Council, have a Lemon Club for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, serve in the IMAGINE group, which works with special needs students in the building, participates in an anti-bullying campaign day, collects candy donations for Bethel church and much more.
ThinkViral is a social media business development company that works with commercial development, construction, manufacturing, and supply chain companies to help them create and manage important business relationships online.
Although ThinkViral is a small business, they have made a large impact on a lot of Kansas City organizations through donations, community involvement and connecting companies to resources they may not have found on their own.
A few of their recent contributions include:
- In 2019, they donated over 200 hours of IT consulting and website work, and at least 75 hours of graphic design and photography work to businesses in South KC. They also gave away over $40,000 of social media training.
- Last year, they wrote over 60 stories about South KC businesses making an impact and spoke at 18 career day events to make high school and college students aware of opportunities online and in skilled trades.
- ThinkViral staff are mentors for startup companies involved in ScaleUp and Missouri Small Business Development Center programs, and they frequently advise South KC businesses on growth strategies. They also work with Determination Incorporated, a startup that helps previously convicted felons start reputable businesses.
- Their team donated over $1000 in hygiene products to Giving the Basics in 2019.
- ThinkViral helped plan and work Dozer Days KC, a two-day event at the Kansas Speedway designed to get kids interested in construction careers and skilled trades.
- They’ve attended numerous municipal and neighborhood meetings to advocate for better services in South KC and to make sure businesses without an online presence have a voice.
- They also relentlessly pursue transportation decision-makers on Twitter to expand services in South KC!
Anne Cull, President of ThinkViral, donates many hours of her time by serving as a board member or advisor to several organizations in Kansas City, including South KC Chamber, National Institute for Construction Excellence, National Utility Contractors Association-KC Chapter, Missouri Economic Development Finance Committee, and she is also an instructor at the UMKC Small Business Technology Development Center.
Three Trails Community is a church that got started in South Kansas City just a few years ago, however, you will not find “church” in their name because they want to serve the greater community and welcome everyone.
Their entire congregation is always looking for ways to serve the community and here are just a few of the things they have done recently:
- Volunteered with the Center Friends program which provides positive relationships between caring adults and our students and staff.
- Provided childcare for families attending events at Red Bridge Elementary.
- Provided an entire team of people to serve as the “clean up crew” following the South KC Chamber’s annual Block Party at Red Bridge Shopping Center.
- They adopt families in need during the holidays to ensure they have a blessed Christmas.
- They are planning to host a block party in March for the entire Red Bridge Elementary community, providing food and entertainment for all.
- Members of the church leadership team have also been very active in many community events and meetings. They are always looking for ways to connect to and serve the community.
Traders Insurance is a privately owned, Midwest company that has been providing insurance services since 1976. They not only focus on serving the insurance needs of their customers, they are also engaged in serving the community they live and work in.
Some of the ways they do this include:
- The company began “No Trash on Troost”. This employee led effort collected over 20 bags of trash from the area around the Traders Insurance office on Troost (from 95th to 89th).
- Traders Insurance helps support the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, South Patrol Division’s free Family Movie Night by employees volunteering at the event as well as buying food and bringing goodie bags for kids. They also participated in their Trunk-or-Treat event.
- Over the last 5 years, Traders Insurance staff have done an annual Harvesters Food Drive and have donated enough food to create almost 8,000 meals for needy families in our city.
- Traders Insurance employees take part in an annual blood drive for the Community Blood Center at their location and averages about 30 donors each drive.
- Traders Insurance adopted 30 kids this year for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree donation drive.
- They helped support and deliver bags with awesome gifts inside for children that are hospitalized and will continue that effort in 2020.
- Traders Insurance had puppies brought to the office from Unleashed Pet Rescue for employees to cuddle on Valentine’s Day. These puppy visits resulted in four shelter pet rescues being adopted!
- Traders continues to improve the office property, improve the South KC part of town, and give back to the community!