Investing At Home: Why This Family Business Gives Back To Their Community
DFW Plastics is a family company in the truest sense. Founded by Bob and Carroll McKinnon in 1978, the polymer manufacturer now rests firmly in the hands of that couple’s children. But Jim McKinnon, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, says that the company’s family ties go beyond himself and his three sibling coworkers; Tom, Tina, and Bob Jr. The entire business is built around the community that raised them.
Both Jim and DFW Plastics have supported 6 Stones since its founding in 2009.
A Tale of Two Bedfords
Jim remembers Bedford as a very different place compared to the city we know today. He was raised in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District, attending Bell Manor Elementary and Central Junior High before transferring to Harwood when the school opened in 1972. At that point in time, the city was more rural: the McKinnons owned cows and horses, and could see parts of Arlington from their yard. His parents used to say that they would stay in their home until they couldn’t see the roller coasters at Six Flags anymore. Then, it would be time to move back to the country.
In time, DFW Plastics shifted their headquarters into Fort Worth. Jim went to college and returned to run the company, settling down in Colleyville. His new address wasn’t far from the old homestead, but his family found themselves in a new school district. He still loved the community that raised him, but he wasn’t attached to it anymore.
So, when his church launched 6 Stones in 2009, it shocked him to learn how much the community had changed. He remembers listening to pastors at the church as they explained the need for a local nonprofit to serve the area that, in his memory, never needed support.
“We were on the upper end of this side of town. We didn’t have poverty. Didn’t have homeless kids. We didn’t have that going on, that I was aware of. It could have happened and I didn’t know it,” Jim remembers. “They started talking about it, telling us about 70 different dialects; kids living in cars or in bridges or somebody’s sofa. It touched my heart… in my neighborhood, where I grew up?”
Armed with the knowledge that his hometown needed help, Jim set out to extend his father’s legacy, both personally and in business.
Passing Along the Blessings
In his son’s eyes, Bob McKinnon was defined by two traits: innovation and generosity. Jim compares his father to Walter Brooke’s character in The Graduate: one of the first to see the immense potential of the plastic industry. He built his company by re-imagining traditional products, making them longer-lasting and more affordable. He wanted to create things that everyone needed and nobody thought about. If you live in the mid-cities area, there’s a good chance that you have one of his water meter enclosures buried in your front yard.
As visionary as Bob was, his son remembers him most vividly as a man who loved others well.
“He was very loving and gregarious. And giving: he would have just given the shirt off his back to anybody,” Jim said. “As God blessed him, he always looked for opportunities to bless others… That’s something he instilled in all four of [his kids]; that when God blesses you, you bless others. He’s blessing you so that you can bless others.”
It was impossible for Jim to ignore the needs in his hometown. He felt that his company — and his family — had been blessed and supported by the community that raised him. That made it his duty and his privilege to return the favor.
“Being able to give back to the community that helped raise me is a privilege. At the same time, it makes you feel like you’re part of it still. You’re still involved… we’re going to give back to them to say Thank You for the education that I received, but at the same time to say ‘this is home.’”
“Lives Are Changing”
Over the years, Jim has worn many hats at 6 Stones. He volunteered in the food pantry and served on advisory teams for nearly every program. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. At first, he valued the nonprofit for the way it connected him to his childhood home. Now, he’s excited to be seeing results.
“When you go to these events and everybody is there, you’re talking to the kids and loving on them and their families, it feels like home. It feels like ‘This is where I belong. This is where I’m from. These are my people.’ They might be from all different parts of the world, different nationalities and speak a different language and have different cultures. But they’re all in my home. That’s the exciting part,” Jim said.
“We’re not just a nonprofit trying to do good. We’re also a nonprofit that’s trying to change lives; trying to bring the church and the city and the community together so they’re all one. So giving money to that organization, I understand what the end goal is and what we’re trying to accomplish. I see it happening, not just numbers. Not just on a report… but when people’s lives have changed.”
For Jim, and for hundreds of donors like him, 6 Stones offers a powerful return on investment. He sees it in every thank you note, email, and video update.
“Those bring tears to your eyes, because you’re like ‘Yes, Lord! I did what I was supposed to do. These people’s lives are changing. I’ve got to keep doing this. I’ve got to keep supporting this,” he said.
“I think everybody should have an opportunity to be involved in their local nonprofit. The one that is helping the neighbor down the street. Or is talking with kids that go to school with your kids, or families that go to church with you and your family. Those are the opportunities where you get to build that community and build those relationships. Without those relationships, the community will begin to dissolve. It will begin to erode from within.”
Maybe what this community needs, more than anything, is a few visionaries who see a new way to work together. Maybe what we need now is an injection of good old-fashioned love for whoever lives next door.
Want to help build relationships like the ones Jim is talking about? Make a donation in support of 6 Stones through our giving page or register as a volunteer today! Every contribution draws us closer together, and we want you to be part of the transformation!
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