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Giving back is in our DNA

Sep 12, 2022 / ESG Stories

HWI’s deep philanthropic roots can be traced back almost 160 years to the company’s founders and namesake: Samuel Harbison and Hay Walker. Samuel Harbison was a man who believed that giving – of time, effort, and money, should be a constant in one’s life, according to Grove City College, the beneficiary of a campus chapel in his name.

In the 1922 book, History of Pittsburgh and Environs, Harbison was profiled as a man “whose love for humanity recognized no distinction of color, creed, or condition.” Throughout his life, he was a generous donor to numerous causes, particularly faith-based groups and initiatives supporting African Americans, an exceptionally noteworthy distinction during his lifetime.

Over the years, Harbison Walker Refractories grew and merged with other companies. One included the A.P. Green Firebrick company, whose founder Allen Percival Green was also a renowned philanthropist in his home state of Missouri and beyond.

Throughout the 20th century, Harbison Walker operated a Foundation that granted education scholarships to countless children of employees all over the United States. In 1997, the current HarbisonWalker Foundation was created to provide financial support to charitable organizations that HWI employees individually support through time, money, or both.

Since the current Foundation was established in 1997, it has donated well over $1 million to hundreds of local and national organizations across communities where our employees live and work. Above and beyond these efforts, we’ve also contributed to the American Red Cross for hurricanes Katrina and Ida victim relief.

In 2021 alone, the HWI Foundation granted $90,000 to 23 charitable groups supporting the causes most important to our employees who wish to give of their “time, effort, and money.” Samuel Harbison would be proud!

The HWI Foundation is led by a rotating team of directors and officers who conduct two giving campaigns each year. All employees across the globe are encouraged to nominate funding requests for 501(c3) charities. The Foundation gladly supports national charities where employees have a special connection through volunteer activities or personal donations of time or money. But it always encourages employees to consider charities that make a difference in the towns and communities where HarbisonWalker International operates.

Foundation Facts:

  • 157 years of philanthropy (as of 2022)
  • 1997 – Current HWI Foundation Established
  • $1,000,000+  gifts/grants awarded since 1997
  • 235 Award recipients over 10 years (2010-2020)
  • Average of 23 grants/gifts awarded each year
  • Approximately $700,000 awarded (2010-2020)

Example Recipients across HWI Communities:

  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Smile Train
  • Make-A-Wish
  • Family Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Vandalia Recreation Corporation
  • Ashley DeRamus Foundation
  • Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance
  • Tulsa Boy’s Home
  • Windham Brick by Brick Scholarship Fund
  • Mexico Area Family YMCA
  • South Point Local School District
  • Holy Family Foundation
  • Wounded Warriors Family Support

About HWI, A member of Calderys

HWI is the largest supplier of refractory products and services in the United States, with a history that spans more than 150 years. It is part of Calderys and is the brand for the Americas region of the Group. HWI counts 25 manufacturing sites and 20 distribution centers in the Americas, as well as the largest refractory industry research facility in North America. Serving virtually every major industry that requires refractory solutions to enhance production and protect assets, HWI is consistently recognized for its talented experts, industry firsts, and intensely driven excellence.

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