EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE: Edwards Garment Receives Trendsetter Award from United Way

Edwards Garment receives the 2015 Trendsetter award from the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region. 

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KALAMAZOO, Mich.-Edwards Garment receives the 2015 Trendsetter award from the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region. The award was presented at a ceremony on May 4, recognizing the company for community contributions. The United Way designates the award annually to organizations that actively participate in both support of the United Way and philanthropy within the community.

“Like a lot of companies, we’ve been using the mode of continuous improvement,”  comments Gary Schultz, CEO at Edwards, adding that Edwards company culture involves both a spirit of charitable giving as well as volunteerism among employees.

Presence of the company in the community goes back more than 150 years, explains Schultz. Originating in 1867 as the Kalamazoo Pant Company, Edwards Garment began as an offshoot of the 19th century retail company in the 1970s, and has been a fixture in the Kalamazoo, Mich. area since the company formed.

In 2015, Edwards employees participated in First Day Shoe fund, a shoe drive for local elementary students. The drive provides the students with new shoes for the first day of school. Employees contributed financial donations and volunteered time towards the effort.

This year is the first time Edwards has been the recipient of the Trendsetter award. The local United Way, which originally represented only Kalamazoo, joined forces with nearby Battle Creek, Mich., in 2012 making the pool of nominees much larger.

“To win the award with a bigger number of potential nominees is equally satisfying,” remarks Schultz, pointing out that the city of Kalamazoo has a broader culture of philanthropy. An annual pledge, known as the Kalamazoo Promise, by anonymous donors, provides 100 percent of tuition to Michigan state colleges for a select number of public high school graduates. 

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Mike Clark

Mike Clark is the editor-at-large for GRAPHICS PRO. Contact him at

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