Impact: The Insurance Industry's Contribution to Community Development

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OneBeacon Insurance Group is a company that deeply believes in supporting worthy nonprofits that matter to its employees. Not only are employees granted time off to volunteer at organizations that they feel passionate about, but the OneBeacon Charitable Trust (the “Trust”) often provides financial support to these groups as well. The mission of the Trust is to give back to those nonprofits that aim to make a difference in communities where the company’s employees live and work. The Trust’s community giving program supports OneBeacon employee volunteer, leadership and philanthropic efforts. Whether it’s a high-profile national organization or a local initiative, OneBeacon supports its employees’ efforts and encourages an altruistic culture.

Members of the OneBeacon community, such as OneBeacon Healthcare Group’s™ Jennifer Clifford, often feel compelled to give back. Although Clifford had occasionally volunteered at various Chicago-area nonprofits, she was looking for something more. Realizing that she had the time to give, she was drawn to Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Metropolitan Chicago. Understanding the importance of having a strong mentor, she chose to participate in a site-based option where she meets with her “Little” each week. Their time is split between working on academics and real-world issues, such as self-worth, financial lessons, building a community and more.

“When I first started, I wasn’t sure how long I would remain involved. It was something new for me and I didn’t know what to expect. Then I connected so deeply with this person who needed a grounded adult in her life. I realized that I wanted to keep our relationship going,” said Clifford, who has been a volunteer with the same Little since 2011.

Clifford involved the Trust, which contributed to BBBS in support of her volunteerism. Funds are used for various programs and activities, including helping to make matches with “Bigs to Littles and Littles to Bigs”. Littles can stay in the program until they are 18, and if they do, their graduating class is eligible for various scholarships.

As Clifford noted, she never knew how much of a positive impact volunteering would have on her own life, and how much the experience would enrich her.

While always being one to roll up his sleeves and volunteer, Steve Mueller with OneBeacon Accident Group® never directly led fundraising efforts. That changed in 2007 after talking to a good friend who was involved with the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF). This foundation, which supports families whose children have Cystic Fibrosis, holds a blockbuster fundraiser each year.

After some discussion, Mueller was convinced to reach out to insurance industry colleagues to sell tickets to the event. Additionally, during that first year, OneBeacon Accident Group got behind Mueller and became a sponsor of the event. Since that time, the OneBeacon Charitable Trust continues to support Mueller and the BEF.

During his fundraising efforts, Mueller saw firsthand the impact the BEF has on families, and how differently the foundation is run. While the BEF supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, its primary focus is on individual families, providing them with resources to help make their day-to-day lives easier. The foundation is also run in a unique manner, relying primarily on business-to-business relationships for its fundraising. As a result, Mueller quickly found a place in this community and his volunteer efforts have grown.

Today, Mueller sits on the BEF’s Board of Directors and his goal is to sell more tables to their gala than any other member. Importantly, he’s working hard to raise awareness of the BEF within the insurance industry. And while he was recently named Board Member of the Year, he doesn’t do this for recognition. “This foundation has become a passion for me and it’s easy to succeed at something when you have that personal connection,” said Mueller. “I’m also incredibly grateful for the support that the BEF received, and continues to receive, from The OneBeacon Charitable Trust. That involvement has helped increase the insurance community’s awareness of BEF’s amazing work.”

Not only is volunteering an enriching experience, but it can make you feel mentally and physically great too, as Nicole Anacleto-Tosca of OneBeacon’s recruiting team is quick to point out. As a yogi (one who practices yoga), Anacleto-Tosca has been participating and volunteering with Yoga Reaches Out since 2012.

Yoga Reaches Out is a national nonprofit with regional chapters whose mission is to bring the yoga community together and raise funds for organizations that impact the health, education and well-being of children. Anacleto-Tosca participates in the yearly New England yoga-thon, where in 2015 nearly 1,000 yogis gathered to practice and nearly $300,000 was raised.

“The sense of community is one of the most impressive things about the Yoga Reaches Out yoga-thon,” said Anacleto-Tosca. “When you walk into the room, there is a tremendous amount of positive energy and you immediately feel this strong connection to everyone. Knowing you are all there to work toward one goal, one purpose… it’s really incredible.”

And you don’t need to be a yogi to feel that sense of community. One year, Anacleto-Tosca was unable to participate in the actual yoga portion of the event, but alternatively volunteered. She felt just as connected that way as she did on her mat.

The OneBeacon Charitable Trust supports Anacleto-Tosca in her fundraising efforts. She’s hoping the Trust’s involvement will increase visibility of Yoga Reaches Out, whose footprint has expanded to five additional chapters in the last three years.

Each day OneBeacon employees demonstrate that giving back — whether it’s mentoring a preteen to fundraising for well-known organizations — requires a personal commitment and a belief in the organization. OneBeacon applauds its employees’ efforts as they champion for the nonprofits that mean most to them, and is proud to support them through the Charitable Trust and community giving program.