A trip to the barber for kids fighting cancer

There are a lot of routines we take for granted, like getting an occasional haircut. But what about having your head shaved and not for a hip look—but to show your commitment to fighting cancer? I don’t think I’m brave enough for that step, but OneBeacon’s Jim McKenna is. Jim, a large loss claim manager from our Melville office, recently had his head shaved during the annual St. Baldrick’s fund raiser in Northport, New York, an organization he’s been involved with for the past ten years.

St. Baldrick’s origins have a direct tie to our industry. Back on March 17, 2000, reinsurance executives John Bender, Tim Kenny and Enda McDonnell turned their industry St. Patrick’s Day party into a head-shaving event to benefit kids with cancer. Their 20 “shavee” recruits planned to raise “$17,000 on the 17th.” Instead, they raised over $104,000! Since that innaugural event, more than 147,000 volunteers—including over 12,000 women—have shaved in solidarity with children with cancer at events in dozens of countries and every U.S. state.

Jim not only goes for the shave, but he also serves on the event’s organizing committee and assists in running the Northport event, as well as others on Long Island. The Trust has been a supporter of St. Baldrick’s due to Jim’s efforts since 2004. We admire Jim’s personal commitment to such a terrific cause—and his nerve for willingly going bald each year!

Canton Community Volunteerism: tell us what you think

We have a question for Canton-based employees: we are considering exploring opportunities to give back to the local community through volunteerism. This would probably involve putting in a few hours on a given day during/after-work hours, maybe sorting donations at a food bank or doing some restoration work at a daycare or other facility. To help shape our direction, we would appreciate hearing if you’d be interested in participating in a community volunteer event, and if so, if you have any ideas. We will only move forward if this makes sense to you!

You can either post your views on this blog or email: charitabletrust@onebeacon.com.

Thanks for your input!

How to SCORE to help America’s kids

Although there’s still snow in the parking lot, a small team of Canton employees is planning for another outing on the pitch at Gillette Stadium this summer. Captain Tetteh Otuteye is once again organizing a OneBeacon team to participate in the annual America SCORES New England soccer tournament, a fund raiser for the organization. SCORES is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering kids in urban communities through soccer and literacy mentoring. Locally, SCORES serves over 1,500 elementary and middle-school students through 44 literacy/soccer teams in 19 Boston public schools.

Tetteh, when he’s not busy with his corporate actuarial responsibilities, is a SCORES volunteer and serves on the tournament’s organizing committee. Leading the OneBeacon team during its two tournament appearances (yes, there’s a winter indoor challenge as well!) we applaud their efforts to help area kids through teamwork and fitness. And if you want to lace up your boots with our team, just contact Tetteh!


Calling all parents of high-school seniors!

The OneBeacon Charitable Trust is once again offering graduating seniors the opportunity to earn a $1,500 college scholarship for the upcoming academic year. Ten scholarships will be awarded to our employees’ sons and daughters, and another ten are available for our agents’ and brokers’ children.

Applications and a program brochure are available on the Portals and the onebeacon.com website newsroom.  Be sure to postmark all applications by April 15 for consideration. Decisions will be communicated in early June and the awards are paid directly to the school in two installments–August and December. The program is adminstered by Scholarship America.

We are excited to help members of the OneBeacon community through this progam. Feel free to post any questions on this blog for response, or to contact me directly.

Stepping it up for healthy kids!

Winter means hibernation for some, but not everyone, particularly the McCarthy household, where preparations are already underway for the annual Walk for Children’s Hospital scheduled for late spring. Since 2003, Associate General Counsel Ginny McCarthy has participated in this fund-raiser. Coincidentally, the first walk occurred just five weeks after Ginny’s then six-year old son Will had undergone the first of several surgeries to treat a cerebrovascular condition. Now aged 13 and symptom-free, Will is an active teenager who’s just one belt away from earning his black belt in karate. Ginny’s walking team is motivated both by gratitude and the hope that other families share Will’s healthy outcome. Funds raised by the walk support pediatric medical research as well as provide toys and games for hospitalized children to enjoy. The Charitable Trust has supported Ginny’s fund raising for the last several years.

 P.S. you can check out Will’s Walkers 2010 team photo in the header at the top of this blog (left corner)! 

Teamwork, teamwork, that’s what counts!

OneBeacon’s Accident & Health staff works very closely to manage their business day to day. But did you know that they also work as a team on behalf a national nonprofit, both as volunteers and as financial supporters? 

The Boomer Esiason Foundation—known as BEF—is dedicated to the fight against Cystic Fibrosis, which affects 30,000 children in the U.S. alone. BEF raises funds to find a cure, to improve life conditions for affected families and to provide scholarships to students with this disease. A&H Managing Director Steve Mueller has been a long-time BEF volunteer who also serves on their Board, and his passion for BEF became contagious at A&H years ago.

As the team sees it, BEF’s core mission aligns with their business goal of reducing risk by promoting the best possible health and welfare for its customers. Each year, the team caps its support of BEF by participating in their annual fund-raising dinner, along with key distribution partners and customers.

The OneBeacon Charitable Trust supports BEF on behalf of the A&H team’s efforts. Hats off to the A&H team’s game day performance!  Way to give, Steve and team!

Kids and Vets Benefit from AutoOne’s Generosity

In our industry acronyms are so ingrained that we could probably publish a book deciphering their meaning. Well here’s one used by our AutoOne colleagues that you probably won’t forget—PWE, which stands for Positive Work Environment, an employee committee that spearheads community fund raising. Each year, AutoOne employees are asked to identify local nonprofits for giving and volunteerism. PEW identifies the four charities receiving the most employee support and promotes one each quarter.

During Q4, the Melville and Syracuse offices hosted a dress-down week, with employees donating $10 to participate. Syracuse raised $710 for the Health Science Center Foundation, the Golisano Children’s Hospital’s fund-raising partner and Melville raised $900 for America’s VetDogs, which provides service animals to returning, wounded soldiers living on Long Island.

The OneBeacon Charitable Trust donated $1,500 on behalf of each team’s efforts.

Can you think of a better reason to wear jeans?

OneBeacon 2011 Scholarships

Anyone with a high-school senior at home is living the college admission waiting game, unless your son or daughter was fortunate in the early admissions cycle. In case you’re wondering, OneBeacon will once again award twenty $1,500 scholarships to rising firstyear students—ten to our employees’ children and ten to the sons/daughters of our distribution partners.

The 2011 scholarship applications will be available on our Portal mid-February. We ‘ll publish announcements internally and externally to get the word out. These scholarships are funded through the OneBeacon Charitable Trust and the progam is adminstered through Scholarship Management Services.

Be sure to post a question on this blog if there is anything we can clarify about our scholarships.  And good luck to anyone with a senior at home!

BTS Farmington Proves Bountiful

The Farmington BTS team has pursued several community-giving opportunities in recent months. A Thanksgiving food drive resulted in over 150 non-perishable food items donated to Shepherd’s Place Kitchen, which serves the Manchester, Conn. community.  Kudos to: Chris Arnold, Kate Riordan, Pamela Caparel, John Klimczak and Christine Parsons for leading the drive.

And instead of a traditional holiday party, the BTS team enjoyed lunch together and hosted a raffle featuring prizes generously donated by our vendor partners. When a manager’s ticket number was called, they “sold” the prize they won, with all proceeds donated to Gifts of Love, a charitable organization that helps the needy in greater Hartford, Conn.  Between the raffle tickets and managers’ “sales” $1,025 was raised for Gifts of Love, augmented by a $1,500 donation from the OneBeacon Charitable Trust. 

Way to give, BTS Farmington!

Toys, Toys and More Toys!

The Canton team also got into the holiday spirit by collecting on behalf of the Toys for Tots drive. Nearly 200 gifts were collected over a two week period in a campaign spearheaded by Melissa Cibelli, Gerry Beaney and Whitney Brockman

Way to Give, Canton!

Toys for Tots courtesy of Canton!