Education as a Means to Elevate Us All


A passion for education drives much of Slawson’s philanthropic giving. A prime example is the family’s donation of $16 million for the new Slawson Hall Earth, Energy and Environment Center at the University of Kansas. Slawson Hall meets LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards while providing teaching and research facilities focused on geology, engineering, environmental studies and other earth-science related fields.

Caring for Wildlife and Habitats

Don and Judy Slawson were so inspired by seeing tigers in the wild, the family established the Slawson Family Tiger Trek at the Sedgwick County (Kansas) Zoo. There, visitors experience these fierce, magnificent and endangered creatures in a naturalistic habitat. The Trek is one of the most popular stops at the zoo, the state’s top tourist destination.

Slawson Companies is donating land for a unique urban wetlands park in Wichita that will preserve nature in a developing area, providing educational and recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages. The company’s support for wildlife extends to Colorado’s Wild Animal Sanctuary, where more than 400 rescued lions, tigers, bears, leopards, cougars and wolves roam free in open grassland.

Working to Make the World Better

The Slawson family supports fundraising for research into Alzheimer’s Disease, complications from which Don Slawson died in 2014, and has given generously to a multitude of organizations in the communities they call home.

In addition to financial support, Don Slawson contributed his time and talents to a multitude of organizations. He was appointed to the National Petroleum Council by two presidents. He served as chair of the Kansas Health Foundation investment committee, Wichita/Sedgwick County Partnership for Growth and Wichita Development Committee; as president of the KU Alumni Association, and as a board member of Cessna Aircraft Corporation, Kansas Gas & Electric Company, Security Benefit Life Insurance Company and Intrust Financial Corporation.

The Legacy of Giving Continues

Don’s three sons – Todd, Steve and Craig – and Slawson Companies’ employees have followed the tradition of giving back, working with such organizations as Head Start, the Junior League and inner-city schools in Denver and Oklahoma City. In 2013, Slawson Companies donated $300,000 to the North Dakota Housing Incentive Fund, to be used to create housing for low- and moderate-income families. Slawson’s Jamba Juice franchises – under the division name Alameda Juice – do more than offer healthy food options. They also expose kids to gardening through grants in partnership with the National Gardening Association.

Don Slawson’s approach to giving was to do it quietly and let the good work speak for itself, an approach the family and company maintain today.