Keith and Doreen Koenig:
Written By Ellen Crane Schulman
City Furniture President Keith Koenig and his wife, Doreen, are uncomfortable with accolades about their good deeds in the community. They believe the rewards they receive in return are even greater.
“The rewards of community involvement are the wonderful relationships you develop. I get so much more from giving than I give,” says the CEO of the successful 25-store chain of furniture stores.
The philanthropic couple has contributed their time and financial support to a litany of organizations throughout South Florida, including the Museum of Discovery and Science, Covenant House, Holy Cross Hospital, Archdiocese of Miami, University of Florida, Junior Achievement, Beaux Arts, Alonzo Mourning Charities, Camillus House, Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Options (JAFCO), and the Ann Storck Center.
In addition to quietly donating furniture to several shelters and organizations, the Koenigs have been tapped repeatedly to assist with multi-million dollar capital campaigns. Under their leadership or involvement, the Koenigs have been instrumental in raising millions of dollars for the Museum of Discovery and Science, St. Gregory’s Church in Plantation, University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration, and the Archdiocese of Miami. Each year, Keith helps to raise $75,000 or more for Covenant House through a golf tournament he founded in memory of his brother, Kevin.
Keith moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1961 and grew up in what he describes as a “classic middle class family.” He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida. Upon graduation in 1975, Keith decided to join his brother, Kevin, who founded Waterbed City in 1971. When the popularity of waterbeds began to wane, the brothers decided to transform Waterbed City into a broader furniture retailer. The first City Furniture (www.city-furniture.com) opened in 1994.
Decades before this change, however, the Koenigs had also started building their devotion to community causes. Keith recalls the Museum of Discovery and Science as their first charitable focus. Family friend and community volunteer, Barbara Grevior, urged him to join the board after a visit with his children to the former Discovery Center convinced him that the facility had huge potential. More than 25 years later, he remains active with the Museum.
“With this program, we felt we had to put our money where our mouths are,” says Koenig, who rarely seeks recognition for his gifts, except for one exhibit where he was able to put his company logo on an alligator, his alma mater’s mascot. “If you do good works, you don’t need to talk about it.”
After his early Museum experience, Koenig began setting aside a portion of his company’s income to support charitable service. For example, when Miami Heat’s former player Alonzo Mourning called requesting assistance for his 18,000-square-foot youth center in the depressed Overtown neighborhood near Miami, Keith responded by contributing three truckloads of furniture.
Through the business and privately, both Keith and Doreen devote themselves to giving back. Doreen, a skilled special events planner, is credited with starting the largest Museum fundraiser, the annual Bank of America Wine and Culinary Celebration. A former president of the Museum’s fundraising auxiliary, SPARK, she also is involved with the Susan B. Komen Foundation and the Humane Society’s PAWS support group.
“Doreen says we share because we’re blessed,” says Keith. “I think we’re blessed because we share.”-DUO