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.

A Revel with a Cause

They say many relationships are episodic, but those that really matter withstand the test of time. One such relationship is between OBPI’s Paul Ablan and Neighborhood House, a St. Paul, Minnesota nonprofit dedicated to helping local people and organizations develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence to thrive in diverse communities. Paul was first introduced to Neighborhood House nearly a decade ago, and was soon supporting them through active Board membership and volunteering.

“Neighborhood House is actually located in the neighborhood where I grew up,” said Paul, “and dates back to the late 1800s. For 110 years it has helped Minnesota’s immigrant families establish themselves and become productive members of our community.” Paul’s Board term recently expired but he remains active as a member of their insurance committee and dedicated volunteer.

Fund raising is always a critical component of a nonprofit’s budget, and Neighborhood House is no exception. For the past two years, they’ve hosted a “Revel with a Cause” evening, featuring jazz, south of the border savories and sweets, and a guaranteed good time.

We salute Paul for his continuous dedication to supporting Neighborhood House, and through those efforts, families settling into Minnesota from different parts of the world. And P.S.—we hope you Revel in style, Paul!

If you can sing, you can give!

The Twin Cities Jewish Chorale (Judi is 4th from the left in the second row!)

We hear about a lot of great work underway to support local communities through fund raising, volunteering and various collection drives. But what about using music to strengthen a community? And then recruiting members to perform that music so others can appreciate the historical significance?

Meet OneBeacon Claim’s Judi Lamble, claims leader by day, musician and community leader during her off-hours. Judi was a founder of the Twin Cities Jewish Chorale (TCJC), a multigenerational community choir based in St. Paul-Minneapolis. The group’s mission is to perform a full-range of Jewish music, including ancient and modern compositions, and to provide community education and outreach through music.

Besides singing in the choir, Judi writes all the grant applications, manages communications efforts, arranges logistics concerning rehearsals and performances, and perhaps most appropriately—handles the group’s insurance needs! And did I mention that Judi also chairs the TCJC’s Board of Directors?

Hats off to Judi, our artist among adjusters!

For more insights, visit:

And the winners are….!

For the past eight years, the OneBeacon Charitable Trust has supported higher learning by awarding twenty $1,500 scholarships to the sons and daughters of OneBeacon employees and our distribution partners. These scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, participation in extra-curricular and community activities, work experience and more. The program is administered by Scholarship Management Services and funded by the OneBeacon Charitable Trust.

This year’s award winners include the recent high-school graduates listed below.

A special congratulations to the Barber family, whose daughter Emily is their fourth child to receive a OneBeacon scholarship! Emily follows brothers Tim, Daniel and James who received scholarships in 2004, 2006 and 2008 respectively. Truly a family affair!

Scholarship Recipient Company College Attending
Emily Barber OneBeacon LaSalle University
Adam Bernstein OneBeacon U ofMichigan
Brendan Conley First Niagara Risk Management Syracuse University
Elise Curtis IMA Financial Brigham Young University
Kathryn Davis Fred C. Church Bates College
Elise Eagan OneBeacon Hamilton College
Tyler Eaton Continental Risk Insurance U Cal Davis
Nathan Finnegan Starkweather & Shepley U of Maryland
James Hardin Powell-Walton/J Smith Lanier U of Louisville
Kasey Higgins OneBeacon U Mass
Jessica Hunzelman Fred C. Church LaSierra University
Jade McCarl IMA Financial Colorado State
Benjamin Morgan OneBeacon Maine Maritime Academy
Tyler Richards OneBeacon Worcester Polytech
Cassidy Riekofski OneBeacon Clarkson
Katherine Rockwell Starkweather & Shepley Fairfield
Erica Schlect OneBeacon Christopher Newport
Jennifer Skells OneBeacon U Maryland
Meghan Stapleton Hub International U Mass
Kelsey Sullivan OneBeacon Boston University

Summer strides for a cause

Now that the weather is finally cooperating, most of us are enjoying being outdoors. But it’s not simply fun in the sun; some of you are finding time to support worthy causes through recreational activities.

Our Salem colleagues once again formed a team to walk in the locally sponsored Relay for Life benefiting the American Cancer Society. The OneBeacon team included 14 walkers who raised $7,400, contributing to the weekend’s overall collection of $126,000 forACS. As a donor, the OneBeacon Charitable Trust was recognized by a banner that was displayed throughout the weekend event. The banner was also displayed at two other local Relays for Life hosted in Roanoke City andVinton,Va. earlier this year.

Congrats to our friends in Salem who have walked as a team in the local Relay for several years!

OneBeacon Charitable Trust Banner at Salem, VA "Relay for Life"

How to Request Matching Gifts to Schools

We know that some of you support your alma mater financially and use the Trust’s matching-gift program to supplement your donation. We have recently changed how we process matching-gift requests for efficiencies’ sake. Instead of submitting your request online through the Easy Match website, we are now processing all matching-gift requests in-house. The new form and instructions are posted on the portal (Human Resources tab > HR Service Center > Resources for Employees).  If you have any questions, just email Barbara Noe, who is managing this program for OneBeacon.