Creative Approach to Corporate Philanthropy Earns Business Champion Award for KBE

Firm has logged 9,000 volunteer hours, $1.5M in donations since 2009

FARMINGTON, CT, June 19, 2015 – In honor of its creative approach to corporate philanthropy, including 9,000 volunteer hours logged and $1.5 million donated since 2009, KBE Building Corporation won the Business Champions Award for Community Involvement, made possible by a partnership between the MetroHartford Alliance and the Hartford Business Journal.

Read the official congratulatory note from CT Governor Dannel Malloy here.

What is 50 Ways to Make a Difference?

KBE’s corporate philanthropic program 50 Ways to Make a Difference was launched in 2009 to celebrate the firm’s 50 years in business, long history of charitable giving, and new ownership. Since then, KBE and its employees have focused on programs that support children, seniors, and military personnel and their families.

“Our company has a long philanthropic tradition. When my partners and I acquired the business, it was only fitting to continue,” said Mike Kolakowski, KBE President/CEO and Principal Owner. “Fifty Ways really caught on. That first year was so successful, we decided to keep it going as a way of giving back.”

Yearly Charitable Focus

KBE places its charitable focus on a different group of people every year.

“Our Fifty Ways committee meets every October to decide what the theme will be for the next year,” said Kolakowski. “They look at what sort of work we have in the pipeline to see if we can blend causes with our projects, talk about new areas to explore, and then present the theme to senior management. From there, we help to implement and provide support for the program.”

In 2014, KBE provided scholarships to 34 CT Technical High School students pursuing careers in the design and construction industry, along with endowed scholarships at ECSU and WCSU. KBE is also the founding sponsor for CPTV’s Made In Connecticut documentary, which focuses attention on the critical importance of the state’s manufacturing industry to our state and national economy.

KBE’s 2015 focus is on not-for-profit hospitals and hospice centers, offering grants to assist in small construction projects or funding of outreach programs. “We went to hospitals and hospice centers to find out what their needs are and how we could help them,” said Kolakowski. “We recently awarded grants to eight facilities.”

Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

KBE employees are given annual paid time off to participate in volunteer activities of their choice, along with many KBE-sponsored volunteer events, including working at soup kitchens, providing back-to-school backpacks for children in need, and various charitable walks and runs.

Through KBE’s signature annual event, “The Gift of Gobble,” employees have provided complete Thanksgiving meal kits to nearly 1,000 families during the last five years. “We are fortunate to be in a position to do these things,” Kolakowski said. “It’s the right thing to do to be a good corporate citizen.”

A link to a video about KBE and 50 Ways to Make a Difference is available on the KBE home page.
Credit: Susannah MacNeil

Photographs of KBE’s featured charitable events are available below.
Photo Credit: KBE Building Corporation
Caption: KBE Principal Owner and SVP Eric Brown helps beautify Simsbury, CT.
Photo Credit: KBE Building Corporation
Caption: KBE staff members gather after preparing Thanksgiving meals for needy Connecticut families in 2013.
Photo Credit: KBE Building Corporation
Caption: KBE presents a donation as part of its 2011 charitable campaign.
Photo Credit: KBE Building Corporation
Caption: KBE Principal Owner and SVP Simon Etzel presents a donation to benefit the town of Killingworth, CT.

About KBE Building Corporation

Located in Norwalk, CT; Farmington, CT; and Columbia, MD, KBE Building Corporation is a full-service, single-source commercial construction company strategically positioned to serve the Eastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. Founded in 1959 and incorporated in 1966, the firm provides preconstruction, construction management, design-build, and general contracting services to clients in the retail, educational, senior living, federal, corporate, hospitality, health care, and institutional markets. KBE has managed more than $2.5 billion in construction volume over the last decade and is ranked among Engineering News-Record magazine’s top 400 construction companies nationally. Learn more at

Media Contact: Jonelle Lawhorn | KBE Director of Marketing

t: 860.284.7431| c: 860.836.7517 | f: 860.284.7831 | e: