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Santa Rosa-based Quattrocchi Kwok Architects receives a North Bay GIVES award

North Bay GIVES Awards

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Name of CEO or Leader of the charitable efforts or your group: Mark Quattrocchi / Steve Kwok

Their title: Principal and Founder

Company headquarters address: 636 Fifth Street, Santa Rosa 95404

707-576-0829

www.qka.com

As an organization, there’s clearly a determination to encourage employees and the company as a whole to support nonprofits and their causes. In what ways is this culture embedded in your organization.

While Quattrocchi Kwok Architects has policies and opportunities in place for staff to support nonprofit organizations, perhaps this is most embedded in the firm by example.

For instance, a portion of QKA’s giving is allocated for staff to direct funds to specific classroom needs through a program called Donors Choose, which illustrates to staff the firm’s commitment to charitable giving.

Likewise, the high visibility of principles and others in the firm serving on non-profit boards or volunteering for charitable organizations such as COTS and Wild Care best illustrates to staff the firm’s ethos for supporting social good.

Additional ways that giving is embedded into our culture is the encouragement and financial support for staff to present at school career days, participate in community events or engage in personal philanthropy in practical ways like allowing a staff member who volunteers for a rescue organization to bring an animal being nursed to health into the office each day.

In our thinking, charitable giving and community support are best illustrated and encouraged through example.

How have you and/or your employees seen the benefits of this investment in the company? These can be specific examples or in general from feedback you have received.

While there is great interest and support for community giving by Quattrocchi Kwok Architects’ staff, an interesting source of feedback on QKA’s commitment to social good is during staff recruitment.

There is a genuine interest by potential employees on the social good done by companies they are considering for employment. As part of recruitment, we make a point of sharing some of the community work done by the firm and staff.

However, it’s remarkable how much research they have already done on QKA and the passion they feel for working with organizations which display a real commitment to giving back to their communities. It is reassuring when we hear from potential new employees that our charitable giving attracted them to us and how much they admire our work in schools for the societal benefit.

The company has a program which allows each employee to direct $500/year to programs to support schools. To date, QKA’s total investment to various schools and classrooms has reached $130K and 450 projects. What’s been the reaction among employees to this very specific outreach?

Empowering staff to direct contributions to specific classroom needs has likely been the most meaningful giving QKA has done.

Not only does it provide funding directly to teachers for their specific classrooms, but our staff has shared how touched they are by this act of supporting significant classroom needs – from a teacher in need of crafts supplies for an economically disadvantaged school, to supporting a science teacher with supplies for a new experiment.

Often, the students send a card or photo directly to the QKA staff who selected them for funding; these are lovely affirmations to QKA staff that bring them great joy and satisfaction.

The other program begun by you and other executives was to answer the specific needs of some schools in the midst of COVID-19, like delivering copy paper and WiFi hotspots. These donations totaled more than $27,000 allocated to families and schools across Sonoma County. How does the firm identify what schools need this help?

Our donations of hotspots and copy paper was a specific response to the early days of the pandemic. Faced with this disaster, passionate teachers turned on a dime to create all-new lesson plans and launch distance learning on digital platforms that previously didn’t exist for them.

Like so many of us, we watched this unfold in schools across our communities with an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

For years, I have been aware of the educational inequities that exist in communities of color and economically disadvantaged schools.

When the coronavirus struck, it shined an even brighter light on this unlevel playing field as these districts tried to implement distance learning. The schools with resources managed far better than those without.

The nexus for my reaching out to rural and economically disadvantaged schools throughout Sonoma and Lake Counties was an article in The Press Democrat on the difficulties schools faced during early transitions to distance learning.

I reached out to the individual schools, selecting by need and not familiarity as many of the districts I contacted were not our clients.

I simply started calling and emailing rural and economically disadvantaged North Bay schools and was moved by their stories of material shortages. These under-resourced schools were experiencing shortages even at the most basic levels with many struggling with just one copy machine, no copy paper and — most heart wrenching — out-of-work parents with few groceries and, for the undocumented, no access at that time to unemployment or stimulus checks.

Among all of its outreach efforts, your company specifically supports Sonoma County Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation – providing funding for countywide CTE K-12 programs. This effort helps those students who might one day work in the construction trades. In what ways does this specifically support the community?

Career Technical Education was born out of a recognition that the talent and interest of some students had no avenue for success in schools.

In my 30+ years of working almost exclusively on educational projects, I’ve watched CTE programs make their way into schools through the educational spaces we design.

As a local organization that brings relevancy to the classroom, the Sonoma County Career Technical Education Foundation supports our community by promoting and funding enriched technical programs that effectively reach students who might otherwise find limited success in school.

These programs better-prepare students for post-secondary education and careers. Our community benefits through the well-trained graduates who meet local needs for highly skilled technical careers.

North Bay GIVES Awards

Read profiles of other awards winners.

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