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Believing in Better: Kohler Cultivates Strong Communities

Believing in Better: Kohler Cultivates Strong Communities

Published 11-22-23

Submitted by Kohler

a volunteer unloading an insulated bag "Meals on Wheels" on the front. "92% of global Kohler locations with more 100 associates have formal stewardship plans or engage in stewardship activities."

Originally published in Kohler's 2022 Believing in Better Impact Report


Kohler’s stewardship team oversees the assessment of community needs at the locations around the world where we have sizable operations. We work directly with key community partners and humanitarian organizations to mobilize volunteers and provide corporate grants to fund local projects. Through engaging with local leadership, government, coalitions, and economic development officials, we are better able to understand local issues and take a customized approach to find solutions. Our stewardship work is overseen by our Chief Sustainability and DEI Officer, who communicates our social impact results to the Kohler Leadership Team and Board of Directors annually.

Kohler’s charitable giving is targeted primarily on education, health and well-being, and the arts, with $9.3 million in-kind and cash donations awarded in 2022. The annual Kohler Co. College Scholarship Program was established in 1984 to support students in our communities as they further their education. In 2022 we donated $814,903 to fund scholarships for 128 students at more than 50 schools. Since 1990 almost 2.7 million lives have benefited through scholarships and university support with 192,020 lives benefited in 2022.

Several of our partnerships also advance environmental conservation. Since 1990 Kohler has impacted almost 155,000 lives through environmental conservation initiatives and 4,148 lives in 2022.

In 2022 Kohler charitable giving totaled 9.3M in-kind and cash donations

Education Partnerships

In 2022 Kohler continued to expand support of educational programs focused on equity of opportunity and access to education for students at each stage of their development—K–12, higher education, and transition to the workforce. We have invested in programs supporting historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) and organizations dedicated to expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion in education in Huntsville, Ala.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and Sheridan, Ark.

  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund: We also continued our partnership in 2022 to provide scholarships totaling $84,813 to support students attending HBCUs. Through this partnership we launched the Kohler Scholars Program, which selects two students to receive a scholarship along with mentorship and an internship with Kohler.
  • Greater Milwaukee Urban League: Through this partnership, Kohler awarded ten scholarships in 2022 to Milwaukee public high school students to be used towards a pursuit of higher education.
  • College Possible, M-Cubed, and United Way: In 2022 we partnered with three organizations in Milwaukee to host groups of students at the Kohler campus for activities, including tours of the campus, career exploration panel discussions, and visits to the Kohler Design Center and KOHLER WasteLAB® .

$640K invested in programs supporting students at HBCUs and organizations focused on expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion in education in Huntsville, Ala.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and Sheridan, Ark.

Health and Well-Being Partnerships

Kohler formed a partnership in 2022 with the Milwaukee Bucks Foundation and Jrue and Lauren Holiday to address domestic violence by supporting shelters across Wisconsin in honor of Purple Thursday and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Our partnership will bring more than $200,000 of bathroom product upgrades and additional help to shelters and domestic violence organizations across Wisconsin, starting with Sojourner Family Peace Center and Hope House in Milwaukee and The Women’s Center in Waukesha.

Health and well-being partnerships will bring more than $200K of bathroom product upgrades and additional help to shelters and domestic violence organizations across Wisconsin

Health and well-being services 2.6M lives have been impacted through Kohler provided health and well-being services since 1990, with 111,000 individuals receiving services in 2022.

College Possible Corporate Partner of the Year Award

Kohler was named Corporate Partner of the Year in 2022 by College Possible Milwaukee for the company’s commitment to supporting students from under-invested communities through the Kohler Scholars Program.


Kohler supports a range of nonprofit organizations focused on serving critical education, health and well-being needs in our communities.

Kohler provided support for the construction of a new environmental education facility that opened in 2022 in Sheboygan, Wis., in partnership with Friends of the Sheboygan Marsh. The Kohler Center for Marsh Education is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED-certified facility that features spaces for classes, receptions, and exhibits, plus it will serve as the campground’s restroom facility.

Kohler has committed $100,000 over five years to the University of Wisconsin–Platteville to support student scholarships and the naming of the Kohler Mechanical Engineering Technical Elective Lab in the newly constructed engineering building, Sesquicentennial Hall.

Kohler continued to leverage investments in workforce development in 2022 through support of technical education, including the following partnerships:

  • Red Raider Manufacturing (Wis.) 
  • Pearl River Community College (Miss.) 
  • Sheridan High School (Ark.) 
  • Lakeshore Technical College (Wis.) 
  • Waukesha County Technical College (Wis.) 
  • Plumbing academies in India
Three people using a post hole digger. "Associates in action"


We are proud of Kohler associates worldwide who take action to have a positive impact on the quality of the environment, education, diversity, equity, inclusion, and health and wellness in our communities. Our associates contribute their time and talents to meet critical needs and strengthen organizations in their communities focused on these issues. In 2022 Kohler global associates initiated more than 300 community engagement activities.

To support these efforts by our U.S. associates, in 2022 we launched a paid volunteer time off (VTO) program which provides eight hours per year to all full-time U.S. associates. To date, associates have used over 2,000 VTO hours to volunteer in their communities. To help connect associates to volunteer opportunities, in 2022 we launched the Believing in Better® (BiB) app to all U.S. associates. The BiB app offers over two million registered nonprofit and volunteer opportunities, including virtual and skills-based volunteering, helping associates find more ways to take action on the pressing issues they care about.

“Stewardship is something that we can all do, or be part of—it’s not limited to specific teams or businesses. It’s our opportunity to give back.” 

Lelani Bester, Sr. Office & Communications Admin.

Among the Highlights in 2022:

  • Hattiesburg, United States: 20 associates volunteered in the children’s area at HUBFEST, Hattiesburg’s premier arts and music festival.
  • Saraburi, Thailand: Associates conducted a tree-planting drive with local schools and the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, planting 149 trees.
  • Cheltenham, United Kingdom: The Mira IT team organized a donation of 200 PCs and laptops for IT Schools for Africa.
  • Chikarang, Indonesia: Associates supported Rumah Harapan Cikarang orphanage with facility improvements, caring for nearly 1,800 children across four provinces.
  • Sheboygan County, United States: 120 KBNA associates came together to volunteer across four nonprofit organizations. Associates built stage sets at Dare to Dream Theatre, picked up trash and pulled invasive species at KohlerAndrae State Park, fixed up the grounds at Camp Evelyn, and prepared meals and garden beds at Meals on Wheels.
  • Kohler, United States: 1,050 backpacks and 25 special education kits were assembled at the 2022 Associate Picnic. With the partnership of United Way of Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties and United Way of Sheboygan County, backpacks and kits were distributed to freshman attending James Madison Academic Campus, Washington High School of Information Technology, and Sheboygan County elementary schools.
  • Yan’an, Shanxi Province, China: Associates completed the eleventh Kohler forest through planting 3,000 trees, resulting in 436,233 trees planted since 2010.
  • Milwaukee, United States: In September and October, a professional clothing drive was held that collected and donated 1,868 items to the Bottomless Closet, a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee, and raised $840 in online gift credits from Kohler associates. With a match from Kohler, a total of $1,680 was donated to the worldwide nonprofit Dress for Success. 
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Associates partnered with Tan Thong Nursing Home to improve toilets and sanitation conditions in addition to volunteer activities with 102 residents. 
  • Sheboygan, United States: Ten Kohler Waters Spa therapists and The American Club® teamed up to recognize and celebrate over 30 nurses with 15-minute chair massages and take-home meals at Lakeshore Community Health Care.
  • Tangier, Morocco: Supporting 700 people across 14 communities, in partnership with local medical students, associates from the Jacob Delafon plant helped organize the Tangier Morocco Medical Caravan to improve community health outcomes.
  • Visayas, Philippines: Associates organized a donation of a six-month supply of menstrual hygiene products to support 83 women between the Department of Social Work and Good Shepherd Welcome House.
  • Telok Kurau, Singapore: 21 associates volunteered at Willing Hearts organization, preparing meals that benefited an estimated 5,000 elderly or disabled persons, lowincome, children from single-parent or otherwise povertystricken families, and migrant workers in Singapore.
  • Reggio Emilia, Italy: At the start of the war in Ukraine, more than 150 associates donated things such as blankets, winter clothes, masks, and children’s products.

Read the full 2022 Kohler Believing in Better Impact Report here.

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