Apr. 8, 2021 10:30p
(WGTD)---Candy-maker HARIBO hasn’t even begun production yet in Pleasant Prairie, but the German company has already become a leading corporate citizen in the Kenosha area.
The company unveiled its fifth large-scale donation Thursday, with two top HARIBO officials traveling to Carthage College to participate in an announcement ceremony led by Carthage President John Swallow. "Today we celebrate the beginning of a partnership between Carthage College and HARIBO of America," Swallow said. "Thanks for a generous gift from HARIBO, we begin the HARIBO Scholars Fund that will help students from Illinois and Wisconsin with financial needs attend Carthage," he said.
HARIBO’s U.S. headquarters is located in Chicago.
The $250,000 Carthage donation over a ten-year period is expected to fund at least 10 scholarships a year.
Carthage senior Emily Benitez, representing this year’s HARIBO Scholars recipients at the ceremony, said for her the money eases some of the financial pressures of going to college. "It has actually allowed me to pull back from some work," she said. "I've been able to focus on my physical therapy job that I have and really focus on my neuroscience career and graduate with the high GPA I need to get into graduate school."
Thursday's announcement was made in the school’s aquatic center. That’s because the school’s large swimming pool is taking on the HARIBO name.
The new HARIBO plant that’s going up along the interstate in Pleasant Prairie is expected to be finished in time for production to begin in 2023.
The list of entities that have already benefited from the company’s charitable giving includes Gateway Technical College, UW-Parkside, the Boys and Girls Club and Pleasant Prairie’s RecPlex.
A bit of insight into the values of the company came during comments from HARIBO of America chief operating officer Rick LaBerge. He told an anecdote that took place as the family-owned company was deciding where to locate its North American plant.
In making a site visit to Pleasant Prairie, the grandson of the founder, shunned LaBerge’s formal evaluation of the location in lieu of touring the area. LaBerge said the small delegation motored to the Brat Stop, the RecPlex, a day care center, Kenosha’s lakefront "and we went to your college. And we drove through the parking lot. I kept saying to Herr Riegel why are we doing this? And he goes 'because I'm not building a factory. I'm becoming part of a community. And what's going to help me make this decision is to understand what Pleasant Prairie, Kenosha and Wisconsin is going to be like.'"
And LaBerge said that’s how Pleasant Prairie beat out some 100 other potential locations scattered across several states.