Pequot Manufacturing is 2023 Award in Philanthropy recipient
Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation recognizes company for giving back to community
BRAINERD — Pequot Manufacturing is the 2023 recipient of the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation’s Award in Philanthropy because of the company's generosity and ongoing commitment to give back to the community through the organization and in partnership with their employees.
This award recognizes the efforts of an individual, couple, family or organization that has significantly contributed to the field of philanthropy. Pequot Manufacturing has clearly exhibited all these attributes in a significant way, according to a news release from the foundation.
The award will be presented to Pequot Manufacturing at BLACF’s annual Award in Philanthropy celebration July 13 at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa.
Pequot Manufacturing, a modest company of only five people at its start in 1981, began as many successful companies do — with a dream, hard work, determination and perhaps the most important cornerstone to founders Josef and Agnes Goerges, philanthropy.
Over four decades of expansion, advancement and tireless dedication, giving has remained a core value of Pequot Manufacturing. It's a value in which they encourage giving back to the community through support of schools, service and charitable organizations by volunteering time, talents and treasure to help make a difference in people's lives.
Intertwined into the everyday logistics of Pequot Manufacturing, the legacy of giving is carried out through monthly internal charitable initiatives and a "FUN"draising committee, solely dedicated to coordinating internal giving events and initiatives. The result of this core value, internal fundraising, and collective efforts to give back reflect in local community involvement and donations.
"Shareholders handed down their values and this is just one initiative that we plan to continue with our team," Chad Shogren, president of Pequot Manufacturing, said in the release. "We give back a percentage of our profits and encourage community involvement with our employees."
Each year, Pequot Manufacturing (and its giving-focused committees) work within the local community to support local nonprofits and charitable organizations.
"Culture and community is such an important part for Pequot Manufacturing it became one of our core values," Karlo Goerges, an owner, said. "It is one of the key initiatives that helps guide our company."
From annual, employee-initiated food shelf drives every March, to partnerships with local entities like the United Way, Kinship Partners and Bridges of Hope, Pequot Manufacturing's giving roots are strong and continually growing.
What began humbly, over four decades ago, continues in future generations, employees and in the core values of Pequot Manufacturing. Warehouses expand, the workforce grows, multi-use machines continue to advance, and with it, a company's success. No matter how successful or advanced, it's clear a continued legacy of giving back to the community will always be the heart, mind and motivation of Pequot Manufacturing.
Also being recognized at the BLACF annual dinner will be Jim Kirzeder, who was selected to receive the Global Humanitarian Award in recognition of his kindness, generosity and passion for helping others around the world, especially for his work in Haiti for the past 25 years.
Kirzeder has been involved in many aspects of lifting Haiti up through being a founding member of Haiti Outreach, a nonprofit whose focus is on community-initiated development projects in rural Haitian communities.
Their work focuses primarily in increasing sustainable access to clean water; as well as through construction work in health care and public schools, and restoration of communities after catastrophic events; and most recently by initiating a loan program helping Haitians become self-sufficient.
Kirzeder has made 78 trips to Haiti since the mid-1980s, most of which were paid out of his own pocket.
Bob Skomars, his friend and colleague, said in a news release: “Mr. Kirzeder has been a go-to guy for the people of Haiti when there was no one else with his knowledge to fix the problems they faced. He persevered when most men would have given up. There are many people who are helpful and kind, but I am confident that they could all learn how to better serve others by emulating the life of Mr. Kirzeder.”
Kirzeder is a true giver and genuinely deserves this award.
In addition, the legacy of one local woman, Marilyn Covey, is being honored posthumously with a Legacy Hero Award from BLACF for her compassion and generosity during, and even after, her lifetime.
Covey may have been a small woman in stature, but her heart and aspirations were Paul Bunyan size. She had a deep need and calling to help others, especially women and children who might need a hand-up to try and transform their lives.
One local shelter received the benefits of her generosity by receiving new furniture, including a kitchen table and chair set that would allow those staying there to connect more easily and feel better about their temporary accommodation.
One nonprofit staff shared a story of how Covey once purchased 10 new laptops with printers and even covered the computer software costs for five years.
"Ms. Covey wanted to ensure that we had what we needed and was diligent in ensuring that every detail was covered," they said.
Covey not only supported many nonprofit organizations and assisted numerous individuals, but she was also credited in helping to build the Essentia Health, Marilyn Covey Heart & Vascular Center in Brainerd. This center has saved many lives and provides local and more immediate care.
Everyone is welcome to attend the Award in Philanthropy event; tickets and sponsorships may be reserved online at www.communitygiving.org/events .
BLACF attracts and administers charitable funds for the benefit of supporting favorite charities and causes. BLACF was founded in 1998 and is celebrating their 25th anniversary. The foundation is excited for not only the growth in fund assets that the foundation hosts — over $18.5 million — but even more proud of the $8.5 million in grant funding provided to nonprofit organizations from BLACF and in partnership with its fund holders and donors.
The BLACF is governed by a local board of directors and is a partner of CommunityGiving, which is a collaborative of community foundations creating efficiencies that maximize donor impact. Collectively, CommunityGiving administers over 1,000 funds, totaling nearly $200 million.
Learn more at CommunityGiving.org/blacf.