Giving until it hurts

FirstMerit Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award

Back in the 1990s, Charles A. Koch, then annual fund chairman, prepared to address the trustees of Youth Challenge. In his address, he specifically asked them to “Give ’til it hurts.” It’s not an easy thing to ask of people, but it was also something that he wasn’t simply asking them to do while not being willing to do it himself. Over the next two weeks, Koch gave greatly of himself with his time and talents but also with his treasure by donating to the organization, which helps enrich the lives of children with physical disabilities by giving them opportunities to participate in adapted sports and recreation programs. And he did all of this despite heavy pressures with work, travel and having two children in their teens.

Fast forward to 2010, and Koch, chief administrative officer and partner at PartsSource, is still involved with the organization as vice president of the board, and he is also the longest-serving trustee in the organization’s history, having been involved for 20 years. During his time with Youth Challenge, he has served in a variety of roles including president, vice president, treasurer and assistant treasurer. He has also chaired the organization’s annual fund and helped the organization to grow in many ways. Under his leadership, the Youth Challenge annual budget has grown tenfold and has been instrumental in helping them move into their own facility.

Even during that process, he gave of himself by leading the process of identifying a new building and finding the ways to fund it. He then personally donated funding to provide the new facility with a hardwood gym floor.

In addition to all of these contributions, he has also had an impact on the organization by his careful outlook toward money. Youth Challenge has always been cash-flow positive, and Koch writes the organization’s policies for budget management. He has been conservative with the group’s funds, but at the same time, he has maintained a forward-thinking outlook that has helped position the organization for the future.

Even from the beginning, he understood the agency’s mission and saw the potential that it had to grow. He’s been a true example of leadership starts at the top even in his family, as his wife and children have also been highly dedicated to volunteering and serving Youth Challenge over the years, as well.

How to reach: Youth Challenge, (440) 892-1001 or