For Milwaukee-based architecture firm Kahler Slater Inc., community is more than just a core value. The firm embodies the word community.
From the very foundation of Kahler Slater in 1908, the company has dedicated its time, talent and treasure to the communities it serves.
The company recently formalized that commitment by establishing a program designed specifically for giving back.
“We’ve always done a lot for the community, but it’s always been more on an ad hoc basis. We knew if we focused our energy, we could do more,” said Kelly Gaglione, executive vice president.
Five years ago, Kahler Slater formed a community committee and launched a program through which the firm selects one organization to partner with for two years.
The hope was that by pooling the group’s energy and resources behind a single cause, Kahler Slater could have more impact in the community, Gaglione said.
For the past two years, Kahler Slater has supported Milwaukee-based Hunger Task Force. Before that, it was Habitat for Humanity.
For those two years Kahler Slater becomes a sort of “lifeline” for the organization, according to Gaglione.
“We are there for them to call upon for whatever they may need,” she said. “We are there if they need additional volunteers, event support or outreach. We’re a great first call for the organization.”
For Hunger Task Force, Kahler Slater has been a valuable partner.
In addition to providing volunteers, the company regularly promotes events like the Hunger Task Force peanut butter drive and the Turkey Ticker internally and on the firm’s social media accounts.
In 2015, the company took about 120 Kahler Slater employees to the Hunger Task Force Farm in Franklin to help with the annual harvest.
“The Kahler Slater team has brought an incredible amount of excitement, energy and teamwork to support Hunger Task Force,” said Sherri Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force. “We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity and support of all our Kahler Slater volunteers.”
Kahler Slater is just finishing up year two of its commitment to Hunger Task Force. The firm is currently in the process of selecting the next organization it will support.
Organizations are selected from nominations submitted by Kahler Slater staff and are based on a set of established criteria, said Alison LoCoco, marketing manager at Kahler Slater.
Criteria include: enough volunteer opportunities to accommodate Kahler Slater’s size; opportunities to serve the mission of the organization in each of Kahler Slater’s locations (Milwaukee, Madison and Singapore); and similarly aligned values and goals.
Nominations are open to all Kahler Slater staff members, and often include nonprofits with which they are already involved, Gaglione said.
“We receive several nominations every year, which just goes to show the commitment to community extends far beyond this formalized program,” she said. “Our people are heavily involved in the communities where they live and work.”
The nomination list will be narrowed down to three before a final selection is made in January 2017, LoCoco said.