Skender, a leading building contractor focused on crafting social change through positive impact, continued its legacy of giving in 2023 through a wide variety of charitable donations, volunteer work and civic participation.
Since 2010, Skender has donated more than $8 million to hundreds of charities. In 2023, the firm contributed more than $400,000 to 70+ non-profit organizations, including Northwestern Medicine, IU Health Foundation, American Heart Association, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Over the Rainbow, American Cancer Society, Lurie Children’s Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Steppenwolf Theatre, Easterseals, Epilepsy Foundation, Team Bright Side and Gilda’s Club Chicago.
“Skender has long been centered around four key pillars of social responsibility,” said Lisa Latronico, Chief People Officer at Skender. “Those values include taking responsibility for our employees, our communities, our business and clients, and the environment. Our history has been shaped by our dedication to progressive philanthropy, and it gives me great pride to see the impact of the volunteer work and charitable donations our organization has made in 2023.”
Skender’s 2023 philanthropic highlights include:
ACE Mentor Scholarship: In partnership with ACE Mentor Chicago, a non-profit focused on introducing high school students to the fields of architecture, engineering and construction, Skender awarded its annual $10,000 college scholarship to Ashton Mitchell, a senior at Penn State University who is studying architectural engineering. The scholarship supports the next generation of rising industry professionals, and all ACE Mentor Program alumni are eligible.
Almost Home Kids: Traditions are a meaningful part of the culture at Skender, and each year employees work with Almost Home Kids to buy wish-list gifts and spread holiday joy to families and children dealing with medical complexities.
ASPIRE Monument: In August 2023, Skender unveiled ASPIRE, a new community monument located at 6701 S Wentworth Avenue in Chicago’s historic Englewood neighborhood. This remarkable installation, standing 25 feet tall and crafted by local art activist Maxwell Emcays, commemorates the legacy of the site, formerly home to Kennedy-King College. The artwork celebrates those who foster the academic aspirations of local students and the promise of the area’s future generations to achieve their highest potential.
City of Hope: Skender’s own charity band, the Square Feets (featuring Dan Ulbricht and Courtney Boatwright from Skender, plus other industry friends), once again jammed out at the House of Blues for City of Hope’s 2023 Reach Social benefiting cancer care and research. The event attracted 800 people and raised $228,000.
Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT): Skender continues to provide support to CWIT by participating in their mock interview event for women who are seeking opportunities in the trades. Skender also donated personal protective equipment for the CWIT shop classes.
Cristo Rey Corporate Work Study Program: Skender believes in fostering relationships with non-profits and schools that provide apprenticeship opportunities to their students, especially in cases when this helps to lessen the financial burden for students who could not otherwise afford a college prep experience. In 2023, Skender was proud to offer two students from Cristo Rey High School in Pilsen apprenticeships in the Workplace Culture and Accounting departments.
Feed My Starving Children: Skender employees attended an event with Feed My Starving Children, which helped to pack 100,000 meals to be distributed around the world.
Genesys Works: For the sixth consecutive year, Skender partnered with the nonprofit Genesys Works to provide pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities.
Greater Chicago Food Depository: Skender hosted two events at the Greater Chicago Food Depository in 2023: An all-company volunteer event and a meal packing day where employees packed enough pasta to provide nearly 10,000 meals for people all across Chicagoland.
Habitat for Humanity: In service to Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program, Skender raised nearly $50,000 in 2023 for the global nonprofit housing organization. Additionally, Skender hosted a large Women Build fundraiser event with a performance from the Square Feets and joined three Habitat for Humanity build day events in Chicago and Indianapolis, in which Skender team members volunteered to build homes for families in need of housing.
Joseph E. Gary Elementary School (PK-8) Career and College Days: Skender employees participated in separate College and Career Days at Gary Elementary School, providing insight about construction-related college programs, work experiences and career paths for junior high students. Skender helped students learn about all aspects of the construction business – project management, safety, technology, finance, culture, and marketing.
Memory Rock for Alzheimer’s Association: In another incredible performance, the Square Feets participated in the Memory Rock for Alzheimer’s Association event, helping to raise more than $100,000 for Alzheimer’s research.
Music Will: The Square Feets helped raise over $140,000 while performing at the Music Will Benefit Chicago to support music education in Chicago Public Schools.
Revolution Workshop: To raise awareness about job opportunities in commercial and multi-unit residential construction, Skender hosted a series of Revolution Workshops at multiple jobsites, which allowed participants to shadow workers and see how specific jobs function. As a result, Skender was able to hire a graduate from the Revolution Workshop program, who is currently in a pre-apprenticeship program with the Carpenter’s Union. Additionally, Skender regularly participates in interview days for Revolution Workshop cohorts to prepare them for real-life interviews upon graduation. As part of its DEI goals, Skender annually will sponsor a graduate from RW, a Chicago trade school or other non-profit organization for membership in the Carpenter’s, Laborer’s, or Painter’s union.
The Special Olympics: In February, Skender participated in an annual chair hockey tournament benefiting the Special Olympics.
Women in Construction: Skender is dedicated to providing opportunities for employment, growth and advancement to women in the construction industry. Through the efforts of Chief People Officer Lisa Latronico and Skender’s People & Culture team, women make up 50% of the company’s C-suite and 26% of its leadership team. In the Skender workforce at large, there are 17% female and 35% minority employees.