INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am part of a team that allocates grant funding to local nonprofits that align with the core values of RK, its seven business units and the RK Foundation (RKF). RKF’s focus areas include: workforce development, education, veterans, human services and community development. I participate in reviewing grant requests, and personally visit a significant percentage of the organizations we grant to. I like to see first-hand what the organizations are doing and meet some of the staff and clients, if possible.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Because I believe in our mission statement, which is: Building better lives by strengthening communities and providing opportunities for those most in need. We “give where we live” because we are committed to supporting the communities we live and work in. We (the RKF) believe that strong businesses are good for communities, and strong communities are good for business. We are passionate about Denver and the entire Rocky Mountain region, and we are proud to support so many of the great organizations that have worked to make our city one of the top places in the nation to live, raise a family and work.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
RKF awarded its first grant in 2012, and to date, we have granted more than $1.2 million dollars to various organizations. Just in fiscal year 2018, we have granted more than $200,000 to more than 40 different organizations.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
I am continually inspired by all of the people who are working for, or partnering with, the wide variety of nonprofits in this area. I am inspired by RK’s employees and the wide range of organizations they personally support. I am inspired by Rick and Jon Kinning, two brothers who have built a business that takes pride in family values and a strong sense of community. I am inspired by the pride we feel in being builders of our region’s buildings. We also want to be known as a builder of our community! I am also inspired by our peer businesses in the construction and manufacturing industries who are giving every day in so many ways.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
My dream is to continue to be able to give. RKF is unique in the way we are funded. RK funds our foundation by recycling all scrap metal generated in our manufacturing facilities and project sites. So, the more we build, the more we recycle, and the more funding our foundation receives. I strive for RKF to be an example and industry leader in giving and community support. And, I would like the construction and manufacturing industry in Denver to be the most philanthropic in the nation.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
That’s a tough one. So much giving is being done within our industries, so I believe we just need to ‘keep on keeping on’ and continue to pay attention and celebrate as other businesses and foundations find ways to fund and give back to the community as well.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
A big challenge has been narrowing our focus down to the four areas that we currently grant to. A second challenge is finding the balance between continuing to fund certain organizations year after year, versus when to give to new organizations. It is a balance between giving our money, our time and our voice. Sometimes it’s just one of those, sometimes all three. Many times it is hard to say ‘no’ to a grant request because there are so many organizations doing such noble work!
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Find what you and the people you are representing are passionate about. Be creative and confident in the many ways there are to give. You can give your money, give with your time, and give with your voice. All are important, and impact isn’t always directly related to dollars spent. Figure out how you would like to allocate your resources. For example, do you want to give large amounts to one focus area or organization, or smaller amounts to many different organizations? Finally, learn to be comfortable saying no. Most times, ‘no’ doesn’t mean I don’t believe in your organization or the work you are doing. It means I have limited resources, and at this time my resources are tapped.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Make giving part of your culture. Participate in your community and find a place to do what you do best to make a positive difference.
Orapin Marketing + Public Relations is an award-winning communications agency that generates awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for mission-driven organizations. We amplify their voice and reach so they can increase their impact. If you would like to be featured on INSPIRED IMPACT, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.