Joy to these Kids!

In Farmington, the team decided to renew its support for Covenant to Care, a local nonprofit dedicated to supporting at-risk youth, including those who may be placed with foster families. According to volunteer organizer Nikki Nelson, gifts were generously collected on behalf of 30 kids served by this agency. This is the second year that our Farmington colleagues have gathered holiday gifts for Covenant to Care kids.

Way to give, Farmington!

Donating from the heart, literally!

In Canton, employees had two holiday giving options: participate in our first on-site blood drive or bring in a gift for the Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” program. We had great participation in both programs, including both employee donors and volunteers!

The Red Cross reported that most donor slots were filled, and walk-in traffic was actually more that could be handled! In total, 32 pints of blood were collected, exceeding expectations. And nearly 130 toys were generously donated for area kids.

Thanks to the Canton team for helping make the holidays a little healthier and a little brighter!

A sampling of the toys donated in Canton for the Toys for Tots drive.

It’s Often Nicer to Give than to Receive

As we fast approach the holidays, I’ll try to post a few updates about the good deeds you are pursuing to help neighbors in need have a happier holiday. First stop, Salem, Virginia!

This year, the Salem Operations staff decided to redirect some of their personal holiday budgets to replenish the shelves of a local food bank. And while the idea started in Operations, it quickly caught on with the entire Salem office.

In two short weeks, they collected:

–85 jars of peanut butter

–395 cans of food

–Plus bags of rice, pasta, beans and cereal

As Linda Huffman, Operations Manager noted, “This is definitely an example of celebrating the true spirit of the holidays! I’m very proud of the team and their sense of responsibility to our community.”

We’re proud, too, and know the Southwest Virginia Food Bank must have been very grateful.

A Family That Runs Together Makes A Difference!

We are always amazed to learn about the commitments many of you make to causes that are dear to your hearts, but I think you’ll agree that this family’s efforts earn the high-water mark for team-based community giving!

Steve Spinney from Corporate Finance has a niece, Michaela, who was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome as a toddler. Her family became involved with the Williams Syndrome Association (WSA), a group organized to support people and families living with this condition. In fact, Michaela’s mom currently serves as president of the WSA’s New England chapter. She also set up Team Michaela to run the Amica Half-Marathon as a way to raise money and awareness of this medical condition. 

Team Michaela’s roster featured 13 members of her family, including Steve and his son and daughter (his wife would have run but was sidelined by injuries). Everyone completed the race and the OneBeacon Charitable Trust was able to support their efforts through a contribution. 

And as you suspect, this team keeps on going; in fact, they’d previously participated in fund-raising walks and Michaela’s mother is helping organize the national convention being hosted in Boston this summer.  Way to Give, Steve, and Team Michaela!

Insurance Industry Donations Top $500M

This blog provides you with insights on how OneBeacon employees, producers and our Charitable Trust consistently give back to local communities through donations of time and money. We thought you may also be interested in hearing how our industry engages in charitable efforts overall.
The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recently shared a McKinsey report indicating that the insurance industry awarded over $500 million to nonprofits in 2010. Most of the funds were allocated to education, health and social services, and community and economic development efforts.
The MetLife Foundation ranks first in terms of grants awarded. MetLife allocated $39.5 million in 2009, according to a report compiled by the Foundation Center, a leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide.  Also in this top group were Nationwide, State Farm and Allstate. Here is the summary report
Also noteworthy is that eleven of the 50 largest foundations are those established by insurance companies. So by any measure, our industry is well represented in the community giving realm.


Breakdown of Supported Industry Causes

Helping Prepare for Thanksgiving; 450 baskets and counting!

When my kids were old enough to work—but not old enough to drive themselves to a job—we encouraged them to volunteer at our local nonprofit agency: TAPIN or “Touch a Person In Need.” This all-volunteer organization provides food, household goods, children’s clothing and transportation assistance to needy families in the East Bay of Rhode Island, where we live.  A few years ago, I followed my daughters by volunteering at TAPIN once a month, and before I knew it, I’d joined the web design committee, helped produce some promotional materials, and more.

Perhaps my favorite activity is the annual Thanksgiving basket distribution, which took place this past Saturday, November 19.  This effort succeeds due to contributions from many different groups: local grocers donate gift cards for turkeys; other food items come from the RI Community Food Bank; roasting pans and reusable fabric bags are donated by area merchants; and volunteers spend hours assembling and stacking the bags for distribution to 450 families. Finally, anyone in town can download TAPIN’s recipe for pumpkin bread and contribute homemade loaves for the baskets.

I usually help with client registration, along with other TAPIN volunteers. We arrive a good half hour early and already the line is winding around the building. In many ways, this feels like the real day of Thanksgiving; you can only imagine how gracious and appreciative everyone is when presented with their food basket and grocery card.

Wishing you all an enjoyable Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

Socks and Cans Do Mix! Or How Farmington Gives Back

Our Farmington team has consistently come together to help their neighbors in need and this fall is no exception. Recently, the Farmington IT department hosted an employee appreciation lunch with a twist. The organizers served pizza and salad but required all attendees to provide a canned good as their “entrance fee.” Over 30 people attended and many brought more then one canned food item.

IT donated their collection of canned goods to Church Street Eats. This Hartford, Conn. nonprofit has benefited from prior Farmington generosity and it just so happened that several people from OBPI volunteered at the soup kitchen a week after IT’s lunch. OBPI has an ongoing collection for toilettries for Church Street clients and was able to provide these much-needed items along with 60 pairs of new socks for distribution .

Thanks to IT’s Chris Arnold for keeping us well informed about Farmington’s giving spirit—and to the entire team for their efforts!

A Night at the Museum; Where to find America Glaude on 6.15.2012

Working parents are often challenged when trying to get involved with their kids’ school activities, given that the school day overlaps with our workday! For HR’s America Glaude, she’s become involved with her daughter Mielle’s school by volunteering with the “Home and School Association.”  This nonprofit group is run by parents to support special school activities such as field trips and cultural arts programs, as well as to supplement classroom supplies, playground equipment, and more.

Now at this particular school, the graduating 5th grade class traditionally enjoys a special field trip to mark the end of the school year.  For this year’s class, that trip will be a cultural arts “Night at the Museum” sleepover at the Museum of Science in Boston.  And obviously, besides a class of 5th graders, a few brave parent volunteers will also stay over. 

 “I was tremendously excited by the opportunity to chaperone this field trip as it will take place after the normal workday,” explained America.  “But the school soon realized they hadn’t budgeted for the trip.  That’s where the HSA stepped in, agreeing to sponsor a few fund raisers over the course of the year to grant the graduating fifth grade class this cultural art experience.”

The Charitable Trust has also stepped in to support America’s volunteerism through her involvement in the HSA.  We wish your group all the best as you continue your fund raising over the coming months—and can’t wait to hear about your overnight stay at the Museum; Ben Stiller, watch out!


Heartbreak Hill’s a Piece of Cake for this Marathoner: Ann Bender Goes for Run #4!

They say “three times a charm” so Ann Bender was sure she’d laced up her marathon sneakers for the last time in 2011.  However, knowing how much her fund raising means to her Dana Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) team, she decided to keep racing for as long as she can.  And this is not just any race; it’s the annual Boston Marathon that she’s committed to running—all 26.2 miles up and down the rolling hills into downtown Boston.

Ann’s DFMC team raises funds to support cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a leading cancer research and care facility affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the National Cancer Institute.   One-hundred percent of the monies raised support the program, focused on enabling scientists to achieve better cure rates and to enhance patients’ quality of life.

Ann has successfully raised nearly $30,000 through her three races and is aiming for another $10,000 in 2012.  She has sadly lost several close family members to this disease, but also understands how unfortunately common this experience can be.  Noted Ann, “The list I am being asked to run for is much larger than I ever anticipated.  I pray that one day the list of survivors will far outweigh the list of those who have died.  Dana-Farber is a key player in the effort to make that happen.”

We wish you well during your training and on race day, Ann, and are confident that you’ll meet your goal!

Are you bold enough to be bald for a day? Ask Jane Freedman

When he lost his business partner to cancer in 2007, Jane Freedman’s husband, Jeff, knew that he wanted to honor his memory in a special way. So together, Jane and Jeff established a nonprofit—Small Army for a Cause—and organized an annual fund raiser to collect donations for cancer research.

The event? Be Bold, Be Bald. How does it work? Participants simply sign up to wear a bald cap for the day, and get people to sponsor them for doing so. And what’s great about this event is that you don’t have to travel anywhere to participate; you just wear your bald cap wherever you may be—school, work, home, etc. This is the third year for this event and participants hail from across the country. Think college students, employee groups, sports teams, anyone who’s willing to have a really bad hair day!

Small Army for a Cause has raised more than $250,000 through this event in its first two years. And 100 percent of its net proceeds go directly to cancer organizations including The Jimmy Fund and LiveSTRONG.

At the Freedman household, everybody gets into the act. Daughter Julia was featured in this year’s promotional campaign, and everyone will be wearing a cap on Friday, October 21. Hats—or should we say hair?—off to Jane and her family for being amazing supporters of the fight against cancer.