KLH Group Is On a Mission to Change the Corporate Events Industry One Social Impact Activity at a Time

Staff Report From Charleston CEO

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Just when luxury corporate events seem to have exhausted every imaginable criteria: memorable, exciting, provocative and even outrageous, one event production company has added a new standard, impactful. The KLH Group, headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, specializes in pairing social impact service projects with corporate objectives and is changing the industry of upscale event planning.
 
In recent years, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a bit of a buzzword — and corporations are eager to jump on the bandwagon. From big-name brands like Starbucks and TOMS to Fortune 500 companies like Pfizer and Wells Fargo, companies are increasingly embracing socially conscious and sustainability initiatives like charitable giving and reducing corporate environmental footprints. 
 
KLH Group Founder and Principal, Hope Caldwell, spent 14 years working at five-star properties in the luxury event and hospitality industry. Caldwell understands that while corporations are eager to formalize their CSR policies, they may be defaulting to easy options, rather than developing initiatives that align with company values.

That is where Caldwell and the KLH Group comes in. Her team takes time in the pre-planning process to uncover the ideals and commitments unique to each of their corporate clients, and carefully curating community service opportunities that match company core values. The result: a meaningful, one-of-a-kind luxury event experiences that also fulfill CSR goals.

“If done right, CSR programs can improve employee retention, stakeholder engagement and consumer loyalty,” Caldwell explains. “Doing good is infectious and inspiring and we want to show that corporate social responsibility can make a tangible difference.”
 
Cadwell’s journey to forming the KLH Group began in 2012, when she signed up to volunteer with OneWorld Health, a global non-profit that facilitates sustainable health clinics in developing countries. During her mission trip to Africa, while distributing Tylenol and building wheelchairs for handicapped residents, Caldwell marveled at the organization’s approach to poverty alleviation and their end goal of making the clinics self-sustaining through hands-on training of local healthcare providers.   
 
OneWorld Health was modeled on the philosophy described in When Helping Hurts, a book by two economists who argue that Western civilization’s poverty alleviation efforts often failto consider the enormous complexities of third-world poverty, and actually end up doing more harm than good. The philosophy was one Caldwell whole-heartedly agreed with and she came to realize that the organization was a model she wanted to emulate.

“After returning from Uganda, going back to work at one of the most opulent hotels in the country seemed inappropriate,” Caldwell explains. “It was also confusing to me because I loved my career in event production and destination management — I loved designing and relishing every detail when creating custom events for my clients.”
 
Soon after, Caldwell launched the KLH Group as a way to marry her two passions; combining the beauty of a magnificently planned top-tier event with the importance of real, sustainable community service.
 
Despite the enormity of the CSR trend, the KLH Group is one of only a few companies specializing in creating events that meet socially-conscious requirements. As a pioneering presence in the movement, KLH offers unique luxury corporate events by coupling superior destination management services with values-aligned community engagement. KLH events deliver value-driven, socially responsible experiences that will inspire a company's employees and leadership.
 
“Throughout my years of experience, I can tell you that nothing will inspire guests more than attending an event that touches their heart,” says Caldwell. “And for companies interested in team-building and employee satisfaction, participating in a fulfilling volunteer activity will leave a lasting impression on their team.”
 
Currently, KLH’s social impact activities range from building clubhouses for pediatric cancer patients to filling care packages and meals for disaster relief to developing mentorship programs for underserved kids in disadvantaged communities. Last year, Caldwell was honored with the 2018 Social Impact Award by Local Choice for her work with the KLH Group.
 
KLH Group has worked with large corporations such as Wells Fargo and Newell Brands, as well as industry organizations such as Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) to incorporate a CSR service experience into their company meetings, regional conferences and industry events. Additionally, KLH partners with local Lowe’s Home Improvement stores, non-profits like Doors to Dream and Seamark Ranch and other event management companies and meeting planners to facilitate the community service connections that Caldwell and her team have worked to cultivate.

“We had the huge privilege of working with Hope and her team on an event we organized on behalf of a large corporation,” says Chris Pote, of Devote Consultancy, which represents Newell Brands. “I have organized many ‘team builds’ as part of events we have done with global leadership and activities are often great fun, but had little lasting impact. But when we partnered with the KLH Group, our participants were truly moved by the importance of their service, realizing that work with purpose can transcend many obstacles.”