Edwards headquarters located on 9th Street in Oshtemo Township.

At Edwards, "People Matter." That's one of their core values, but when they say people, it's not just their 175 associates. It's also the community they've called home for more than 150 years.

The company has been supporting the community in many ways, including making annual contributions to KZCF's Love Where You Live Fund for more than two decades. Because the company's gifts over the years have far exceeded the $5,000 necessary to establish an unrestricted fund, KZCF invited the company to name a fund. The new Edwards | Family Enrichment Fund will forever support the greatest needs throughout Kalamazoo County and serve as a reminder of the philanthropic legacy of Edwards.

Edwards, headquartered on 9th Street in Oshtemo Township, services uniform apparel programs for corporate, career and casual markets specializing in hospitality, restaurant, casino, health care, hotel/resort properties, transit and security.

When you visit their offices you're greeted by an oil painting of their founder, Samuel Rosenbaum. He created the Kalamazoo Pant Company in 1867 in downtown Kalamazoo on East Michigan Avenue; the building -- now the site of the Kalamazoo Entertainment District -- still bears the Rosenbaum name. It's on the corner of South Edwards Street, the namesake of the garment manufacturer and distributor. With a market covering all of North America and the Caribbean, the company outgrew that location and moved to it's current location in 1988.

Gary Schultz, president and CEO, has been with Edwards for 17 years and is proud of the shared history the company has with the community. "Our founding family, through multiple generations, appreciated how the vitality of the community is important for business success. When the business was sold in the early 1970s those same beliefs were continued by the new owners who have supported multiple charitable missions, including the Community Foundation."

Jennifer Feinman, director of Human Resources, says "Edwards and our associates are making a lasting impact for future generations through in-kind and monetary donations, along with volunteer opportunities that emphasize children, education and families."

Community outreach initiatives include partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, First Day Shoe Fund, Communities In Schools, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes and Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. Working with the YWCA last year, Edwards provided 50 outfits for people re-starting their careers. And Feinman adds that associates may participate in volunteer activities during their work shifts.

Schultz says their corporate gift to KZCF made sense because "the Community Foundation is in a better position to decide the best use of these funds."

In addition to "People Matter," another core value at Edwards is "Results Tell the Story." That applies to the fund they've established at KZCF, which is already impacting the community. Combined with other unrestricted gifts held at KZCF, the Edwards | Family Enrichment Fund becomes another part of the community heritage begun by founder Samuel Rosenbaum.

Contact a Donor Relations Officer at 269.381.4416 to learn more about KZCF’s unrestricted funds.

This article was featured in the latest issue of our UPDATE newsletter. Click here to read the full issue as a digital magazine.