A History of Volunteerism: The Barton Malow Foundation


With a mission to “help build our people, projects, and communities through charitable giving and volunteerism,” the Barton Malow Foundation reflects the organization’s devotion to community service and to making lives better in an ever-growing number of ways.

Volunteering with the Forgotten Harvest Rescue Team during the 2022 Community Week.

A Strong Foundation of Giving Back

Though its formal introduction was in 1954, the roots of the Barton Malow Foundation can be traced all the way back to Founder C.O. Barton, his faith-based values, and the way he viewed life, civic responsibility, and his community. His desire to make life better for people, and how that notion was built upon by each successive leader, became the inspiration behind the ever-expanding scale of today’s Barton Malow Foundation.

For former Chairman of the Board Doug Maibach, who also oversaw the foundation in his role, “I looked at it as this incredible opportunity of legacy, that this is one of the ways that Barton Malow has given back — in good times and bad — to our community. It was that teaching from the Bible, ‘Unto whom much is given, much is expected.’ We’ve been blessed, so we have this obligation to give.”

Barton Malow’s 100th Anniversary also marks the 70th year since the foundation was established.

"Primarily, officers would come with an opportunity. They'd heard of some way we could connect, some way we could support an initiative or something going on in the community around us. And then we realized, 'Wow, we're really undershooting the opportunity. What if we ask our team members to participate?’"

Doug Maibach

Former Chairman of the Board

The foundation’s role began to expand with the scope of team member involvement, and opportunities to support an ever-widening variety of worthy causes grew. In celebration of Barton Malow’s 90th anniversary, Community Day was created, which quickly expanded into a full week of volunteer activities timed to coincide with the company’s corporate anniversary in the first week of August.

Throughout the years, Barton Malow team members have found inventive ways to increase the reach and impact of the foundation. In 2014, the Building Communities Golf Classic Fundraiser was launched, bringing sponsors, partners, subcontractors, and suppliers together for the foundation’s premier fundraising event. Successful community-based fundraising activities continued with additional fundraisers for 2023 in Richmond, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; Columbus, Ohio; and Orlando, Florida. Donations collected through foundation initiatives also continue to grow, and has seen steady and significant increases in engagement and contributions.

Another signature program for the Barton Malow Foundation is the Build Your Community Team Member Giving/Match Campaign for which Barton Malow matches up to $2,000 per team member each year. Intended to increase the foundation’s impact by allowing team members to participate in causes personally important to them, the Team Member Match Program in 2023 involved team members donating more than $277,000  and supporting 233 different charities as diverse as The American Heart Association, the Gary Sinise Foundation, and Ferris State University.

Philanthropy at Barton Malow: Past, Present and Future

Foundation Manager Dawn Lyman and Foundation Coordinator Gabby Schefka note how well-positioned the foundation is in Barton Malow’s 100th year to do things smarter and better than ever, finding different ways to engage team members with volunteering and giving throughout the year.

“It’s always been part of our family, I think, making our communities better,” Chief Community Officer Ben Maibach III recently said. “And so, giving back was how we were raised. And when you have your leadership involved and a good number of our people, you set the example, and they follow and get engaged, and it makes all of us feel good about not only who we’re working for but what we’re doing, and makes life a lot more fulfilling.”

For the foundation, it’s more evident than ever. When Barton Malow’s core purpose — Building with the American Spirit: People, Projects, and Communities — connects with team members’ generosity and desire to give back, important, impactful, and amazing things happen.

Barton Malow’s Golf Classic is hosted every August at Oakland Hills Country Club.

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