Electronics employee giving circle growing

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — Employees at a locally based company are pooling money together for a good cause, and the public is invited to contribute to the pot.

Kimball Electronics Gives (KEG) is an employee giving circle inspired by the efforts of Jasper Engines Today and Tomorrow, Emerging Leaders as well as the Dubois County Community Foundation.

The Kimball Electronics World Headquarters circle formed about a year ago with the goal of giving back to the community. Tonight, it will team up with local fundraising group Will Read and Sing for Food to raise money for its first big act of giving, which will take place this fall.

Scott Saalman, director of communications for Kimball Electronics Inc., leader of WRASFF and co-leader of KEG, said a few thousand dollars will be eligible to be granted this first time around.

“We’re hoping to do some good, just like all these other things are doing good around here,” Saalman said.

Saalman said Kimball Electronics has donated money to community efforts for years and will continue to in various ways, but the giving circle is a new, employee-driven way of giving. Forty-five shared services employees working at the Kimball Electronics global headquarters in Jasper — and a few remote employees — participate in the giving circle program, each of them contributing $120 or more to the program. Electronics has matched each employee donation, so Saalman sees the circle as a way of promoting a compounding pot of money, allowing donors to be part of a big network of giving.

A portion of that money goes to an endowment Kimball Electronics started at the Dubois County Community Foundation last September. Participating employees will vote on and select a charity or organization (or multiple groups) to give the rest of the money they’ve raised.

Prior to forming the giving circle, Saalman looked at Jasper Engines and was touched by the idea that workers would willingly give money for a cause. He’s paid attention to how that circle has evolved since it formed in 2013 and has noticed how the donation numbers have raised over the years.

Jasper Engine’s first grant was a $7,575 donation to Dubois County Community Meal, and four years later in December of 2017, the group handed out eight grants totaling $28,830. In the future, Saalman would like to promote the KEG giving circle to Kimball employees at the company’s other locations. The program will continue to grant money annually.

Friday’s WRASFF show will be held at Venue 1408 in Huntingburg (formerly Reflections) from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $10, with all proceeds going to KEG. Donations from the public can also be made online through the Dubois County Community Foundation’s website to the Kimball Electronics Gives Fund to contribute to the KEG grants or the Kimball Electronics Inc. Endowment for long-term giving.

Saalman said the majority of the money will stay in Dubois County, though some may be granted to where a remote employee works if a charity addresses in that location the online application.

“It’s all about our community,” Saalman said. “And it’s just a way to help.”




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