The Midland area was an easy choice for Bob Kafato when he decided to open his business in 1995. Fond memories of summers spent at his grandparents’ Balm Beach cottage drew him to this area permanently and his attachment to the region has continued to grow. What started as a small business when it opened, LabX Media Group has grown to 43 employees and about a dozen contractors.
There are four businesses that fall under the LabX Media Group umbrella: LabX, which is an online vehicle for companies to buy, sell or trade laboratory equipment; Lab Wrench, a social media place where scientists can learn more about the products they are working with; Lab Manager magazine, which garners 45,000 subscribers who are at management level; and The Scientist, a magazine for life science research professionals that has about 60,000 subscribers.
The positive economic spinoffs for the area through employment and service opportunities are quite incredible, but what LabX Media Group is doing philanthropically is nothing short of amazing. In less than 10 years, the company has quietly given $92,940 back to the community through Huronia Community Foundation grants and the flow-thru fund Bob has started. As a result, 57 local charities have been assisted. “I want to invest in the community; it’s that simple,” says Bob. “What I really like is if I see someone doing something good in a charitable sense, and I really like it, I get to support it.” Regular contributions to the Huronia Community Foundation have provided Bob with the opportunity to financially support causes in which he believes, while receiving tax benefits. At times, LabX Media Group will also fund special projects and has given anonymously, above and beyond their regular donations. “Sometimes, Huronia Community Foundation will come to me and tell me about an interesting project they are involved in and ask me what I think. If I like it, then I’ll give money,” he explains. “A week or two ago, Garry [Morehouse, Executive Director] approached me and said they wanted to support a scholarship fund for students from Christian Island and I thought, that’s great. I like that idea. So, I gave them $2,000. I really like that kind of thing.” As LabX Media Group continues to grow, Bob plans to increase contributions to Huronia Community Foundation because he likes the good work they have been able to do together. He also likes the fact that his employees feel good about what the company is able to accomplish in the community.