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From left: Tim McCaleb, Barry Green, Lori Suman and Geoff Gold
Rebecca Green | SBJ
From left: Tim McCaleb, Barry Green, Lori Suman and Geoff Gold

2023 Economic Impact Awards Philanthropic Business of the Year: Kum & Go LC

Funding Awareness

Posted online

For many Springfield residents, Kum & Go convenience stores are ubiquitous in the community with over 25 locations in the metro area and new ones popping up annually.

What many may not know, however, is the philanthropic impact parent company Kum & Go LC has for the area.

“Since the company was founded in 1959, we’ve given back 10% of our profits to communities,” says Emily Bahnsen, the Iowa-based chain’s community investment manager. “That was built into the family motto.”

Another company motto, Bahnsen adds, is “make days better,” and giving back to the community is one way she says they achieve that.

Over the past several years, Bahnsen says Kum & Go has donated over $150,000 in philanthropic gifts to organizations in Springfield through grants, event sponsorships and in-kind donations.

The company has partnered with such organizations as Ozarks Food Harvest Inc., Downtown Springfield Association, Boys and Girls Club of Springfield Inc. and the Ozarks Area Community Action Corp.

“We are proud to make these investments in the community,” Bahnsen says.

One successful community fundraiser on the fuel side is Gallons for Growth, a partnership with the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools.

During the annual event, launched in 2010, Kum & Go works with its vendors, such as Pepsi, and gives 5 cents of every gallon sold over a 24-hour period back to the Foundation for SPS.

 “We have now raised over $89,000 for the school,” Bahnsen says, noting with this year’s fundraiser scheduled July 27, officials hope to see the total top $100,000.

Kum & Go locations across the country have started adding Gallons for Growth fundraisers because of the success of Springfield.

Bahnsen says the company works closely with nonprofit organizations and vendors to help drive traffic to the stores on those days.

“It goes beyond just writing a check,” she says.

“It brings awareness to the nonprofit organizations and celebrates the partnerships we have with them.”

During the pandemic in 2020, Kum & Go looked inward at needs and created an Associates Relief Fund. Employees are able to quickly apply for a $500 gift and up to 10 days of paid time off, regardless of how long they have worked for the company.

“We have 5,000 associates at the store level,” says Bahnsen.

“We want to help them when life’s challenges arise.”

Bahnsen says without the store associates and managers, this meaningful community impact would not be possible.

“I am really proud of the work we do, but I couldn’t do it without the local district supervisors and associates serving as their community champions,” she says. “They really are the thread that connects us all.”

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