Thinking Local

In recognition of those in need during the holidays, the OneBeacon Charitable Trust once again has made a generous donation. The Trust allocated $60,000 for distribution to those communities where we work. Each location selected a worthy nonprofit where we may already volunteer or offer support, or that is simply well recognized for helping our neighbors.

For your reference, here is the list of the nonprofits we supported through this holiday donation, with the sponsoring office noted in parentheses. Wishing you all a very happy holiday!

Annapolis Area Ministries (Annapolis)
Cavalry Children’s Home (Atlanta)
Feel the Warmth (Blue Bell, PA)
Pine Street Inn (Boston)
The Greater Boston Food Bank (Canton)
Canton Area Helpline (Canton)
Boys Hope Girl Hope of Illinois (Chicago)
Food Bank of the Rockies (Denver)
St. Jude’s Research Hospital (Los Angeles)
Neighborhood House (Minnetonka)
Dorothy Day Center (Minnetonka)
Interfaith Food Pantry (Morristown)
Holy Trinity Church Parish Food (New York City)
RFK Center for Justice & Humanity (New York City)
Bailey House (New York City)
American Cancer Society (New York City)

How to dish out dinner for 2,500+ guests

If you happen to be in Southeastern Massachusetts next fall, then look up IT’s Joe Topale, who’s an old hand at managing this guest list. You see, Joe and his family (and the OneBeacon Charitable Trust) are longtime supporters of Personal Best Charities, a local nonprofit that provides complete Thanksgiving dinners to 2,500+ families who reside in 40 area communities. The effort is known as the “Turkey Brigade” and has delivered over 50,000 pounds of food to area families.

Joe first got involved through his kids’ karate school. “It’s a great opportunity to give back as a family,” said Joe. “Each year, we help sort the collected food items and then deliver baskets the weekend before Thanksgiving. And the fundraising includes a road race that we’ve run in several times, which is a lot of fun.”

All of the students attending schools associated with Personal Best take part in raising money, donating canned goods, packaging the food and delivering the baskets to needy families.  In fact, Personal Best’s motto is “Building Character…Enhancing Lives.”

We think that’s a pretty powerful theme and we salute the Topale family and the entire Turkey Brigade’s efforts. To read about the 2012 events, click here

Topale family volunteers!

Topale family volunteers!

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Helping Feed Southwest Virginia

Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s mostly about enjoying good food with family and friends. But what if your pantry is bare? How can you celebrate? Thanks to community volunteerism, many food banks are able to provide for those in need. Quite recently, our Salem colleagues held a food drive for Feeding America Southwest Virginia, which serves 26 counties throughout the area, and happens to have a Salem-based warehouse. 

The office collected nonperishable food items from October 29 through the morning of November 15 and delivered the donations to the food bank warehouse later that day .  “It was a successful effort due to the support and participation of the entire office,” noted event organizer Esther Greene.

For perspective, in 2011, Feeding America distributed over 17.5 million pounds of food and related product from its two distribution centers in Salem and Abingdon, Virginia, as well as it’ direct distribution program serving the Alleghany Highlands region. Based on audited calculations, this food had a value of over $24 million dollars.

Great effort by our Salem colleagues, who ensured that more local families will enjoy a plentiful table on Thanksgiving!

 

Bald for a Cause!

On this blog, we’ve previously posted about a nonprofit —Small Army for a Cause—and their annual fundraiser “Be Bold Be Bald.”  The event was founded by Boston ad agency Small Army after losing their co-founder to cancer in 2007. 

The 2012 fundraiser was held last Friday, November 2nd with more than 4,000 participants worldwide taking the challenge to simply wear a bald cap from breakfast to bedtime and getting others to sponsor them for their bold move.  To date, Small Army for a Cause has raised close to $600,000 through this annual event. Proceeds are donated to more than 30 local and national cancer organizations including Dana Farber/The Jimmy Fund, MGH and LiveSTRONG. Be Bold Be Bald participants select the organization to benefit from their proceeds when they register. 

Corporate Legal’s Jane Freedman is deeply involved in this cause as her husband is the event’s founder.  Our hats off (no pun intended!) to Jane for going bald this year to show solidarity with those who battle the disease and helping in the fight back.  To read about the event or to sponsor Jane for her bold move, go to: http://www.beboldbebald.org/.  You can also visit them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest.

 Jane Freedman: Bald for a Cause

Using Trust to Strengthen Producer Relationships

Obviously, trust is a critical component of any successful relationship. But how about capitalizing that “T” as in the OneBeacon Charitable Trust as a way to create an even stronger bond with our producers? Well one business has taken that advice to heart – IMU’s New England region has relied on the Trust to support their key producers’ charitable interests for many years. And in one case, we were in on the ground floor, supporting a Massachusetts agency that established their own foundation as a way to commemorate a century serving the local community.

Said IMU regional manager Meredith Atwood, “Rogers & Gray is one of our largest marine producers. They established this foundation six years ago in celebration of their 100th anniversary. We are happy to support their fund-raising efforts as they work to positively impact their community’s safety and well being.”

This year’s Rogers & Gray Foundation fund raiser was a performance by the international touring group “Up with People.” The Trust was able to support IMU New England with a donation to the Rogers & Gray Foundation, and thereby helped reinforce their relationship with a top agency.

Read our community giving guidelines to see if you have an opportunity to strengthen your producer relationship!

Destination Jersey Shore; But NOT in Search of Snooki!

MTV and their reality crew may have put the Jersey shore on the international map, but for IT’s Dave Egan, it’s just a place where he and a few friends like to head every fall. See Dave’s a loyal fund raiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and together with former colleagues, he rides 150 miles every September in an event titled: Bike MS: City to Shore.

The route starts in the Philadelphia suburbs and winds up in Ocean City, New Jersey. Team OneBeacon has pedaled faithfully for over 20 years so we believe it may be our most consistent example of employee community giving. (Originally, the group was formed by some legacy company employees from General Accident. But the habit continued post-Commercial Union merger and the White Mountains purchase to this day!)

At this point, Dave is the only active OneBeacon representative and overall, the team has gotten smaller, likely due to some weary knees and busy schedules. No matter, the Charitable Trust is once again pleased to support Dave and wishes him dry, cool weather the weekend of September 28!

Way to go Dave—and team OneBeacon!

Struttin’ the Riverwalk

Come fall, many of us take our place along the sidelines to watch our kids or friends compete in team sports. But in Kansas City, OBPI’s Tamara Johnson will be joining her 30 “Struttin for Scott” teammates for their seventh annual walk to support ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. These walks are taking place across the country, with an overall goal of raising $22 million dollars for the ALS Association this year. Team Struttin’ has collectively raised over $70,000 over their past walks along the Berkley Riverfront in Kansas City.

“My family will be walking in this event, in honor of our dear friend Scott Cart, who was diagnosed with ALS seven years ago,” said Tamara. “It’s a great event and we look forward to walking along with Scott and his family each year.” So far, 800 walkers have signed up to participate in this event, with pledges of $165,000 to date.

The OneBeacon Charitable Trust is very pleased to support Tamara’s efforts, and we’ll be thinking of you come September 29!

Question: When is Fruit a Code Word for Music?

If you happen to live in Hopkins, Minnesota, the answer would be easy! The Raspberry Festival has been hosted for nearly 100 years to celebrate the area’s designation as America’s raspberry capital. More recently (meaning about 25 years ago!), it’s also become an opportunity to showcase community bands from the Twin Cities area. The festival was recently hosted, featuring an afternoon of music and a full day of arts and crafts, food and family activities.

OneBeacon’s Susan Witcraft has been an event champion and organizer, focused on the band festival. “This year, my role was to work with the bands on scheduling and logistics. And on event day, I organized the companion activities including balloon twisters, magicians, face painting and the like,” said Susan. She also recruited and organized volunteers to help showcase the local talent.

Sometimes community giving is about giving back to your hometown through volunteerism, just like Susan. If you have a similar story you’d like to share, just let us know.

In the meantime–Way to give, Susan!  Not only did she help ensure another successful Raspberry Festival but she helped entertain the crowd firsthand! (P.S. that’s her band in the photo below)

Salem Striders

For most of us, when the calendar approaches summer, our thoughts turn to lazy vacation days. But for our Salem colleagues, this is when they focus on endurance walks as they anticipate their annual participation in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fund raiser. This year’s event took place over the weekend of June 15-16 at  Salem High School and fortunately for the team, featured excellent weather.

OneBeacon’s team was 19 strong and took honors as the second highest fund raiser, with contributions nearing $8,000. Reports team leader Clark Grasty, “The overall total for Salem was $108,700. However, this will go up somewhat as more money comes in and gets counted.”

The American Cancer Society made a OneBeacon banner in support of team Salem. The event featured special guests, including NFL player Mark Huerzlich, a linebacker for the NY Giants. He was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was a student at Boston College but quickly recovered and was cleared as cancer-free. He visited Salem’s event and spoke with many of the walkers

Congratulations to team Salem for supporting cancer research and survivors once again!

16 College Scholarships Awarded by OneBeacon

Drum roll please….. The winners of the 9th annual OneBeacon College Scholarship program have been announced!  The OneBeacon Charitable Trust awarded sixteen high-school seniors with a $2,000 scholarship, a $500 increase from prior years. These recipients are all children of OneBeacon employees or children of our distribution partners. Our 2012 winners were chosen and recognized for their exemplary achievements in academics, leadership and participation in extra-curricular and community activities. The program is administered by Scholarship Management Services®.

As these future engineers, doctors and hopefully a few underwriters go forth, all of us at OneBeacon wish them well and offer our congratulations!  This year’s scholarship winners are listed below: 

Scholarship Recipient Company (parent’s employer) Office Location College Attending
Caitlyn Baker First Niagara PlymouthMeeting, PA La Salle University                   
Elysa Bond OneBeacon Boston, MA St. Olaf College                      
Bernadette Burke OneBeacon Philadelphia, PA Rutgers University
Lauren Burnette Burnette Insurance Suwanee, GA Freed-Hardeman University             
Bess Glanton J. Smith Lanier Carrollton, GA Auburn University                     
Tyler Hoover J. Smith Lanier Columbus, GA Auburn University       
Lauren Johnson OneBeacon Zionsville, IN University of Southern Indiana
Kathryn            Le Claire OneBeacon Minnetonka, MN University of Wisconsin-Madison       
Marshall Lougee Corcoran & Havlin Wellesley, MA College of the Holy Cross             
Connor McCarl IMA of Colorado Denver, CO Chapman University                    
Deirdre Murphy OneBeacon Canton, MA Lehigh University                     
William O’Connell Hub International of NE Wilmington, MA Northeastern University               
Jillian Spinney OneBeacon Canton, MA Trinity College                        
Tyler Van Kirk OneBeacon Farmington, CT University of Maine                   
Liam Wallace Starkweather & Shepley East Providence, RI Haverford College                     
Lindsey Womac OneBeacon Cumming, GA University of Georgia