MADISON, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American Family Insurance and the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation continue to support nonprofit organizations doing impactful work in our communities across the nation. The 2021 grant investments total nearly $1.9 million awarded to more than 200 organizations. These grants are part of the American Family Insurance Free to Dream initiative, pledging $105 million over five years to close racial equity gaps and create positive change in communities across the country.
This afternoon, American Family CEO Jack Salzwedel and baseball great Derek Jeter appeared together on a national television show to discuss the shared values and commitments of the Dreams Foundation and Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation to support equity and social impact. Jeter, to be inducted in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame this September, is a brand ambassador for American Family.
“We believe corporate citizens like American Family need to play an essential role in expanding equity and providing opportunities for all people,” said Salzwedel. “One way we’re accomplishing that is through the work our American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation is doing, partnering with and investing in community nonprofit organizations.”
New, expanded giving priorities and trust-based practices
The American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation's giving priorities have been expanded for 2021 to encompass more partners and programs creating opportunities, closing equity gaps and having meaningful impact in communities across the country. The 2021 priorities include: Academic Achievement and Education; Economic Opportunity; Healthy Youth Development; and Basic Needs.
During 2020, the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation gathered feedback from their community partners and implemented trust-based practices. Based on what they learned, in 2021 steps were taken to make it easier for organizations to participate in the grant process. These included making the application process less cumbersome, eliminating traditional reporting requirements by trusting in organizations’ commitment to achieving measurable results, and proactively researching organizations to understand their objectives and priorities.
Partnership-building vs. funding-only
Maggie Pascaly, American Family community and social impact manager said that while funding is important, an equally important goal of providing grants to these organizations is to create authentic partnerships. "We do this by listening and collaborating with our community partners to learn more about their needs and goals and how they align with the Dreams Foundation's priorities," said Pascaly.
“And as part of our trust-based philanthropy practices, we're providing these investments in community partners through unrestricted, general operating support rather than identifying specific programs,” Pascaly said. “We believe our partners are in the best position to determine how to use the funds in the most effective way.”
Supporting meaningful work in communities since 2016
American Family Insurance and the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation together with these community partners continue to have a significant and positive impact across American Family's operating states.
Since 2016, American Family Insurance and the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation have donated $14.5 million to nearly 1,100 community organizations.
Refer to the Business Wire links included in this communication for a complete list of 2021 American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation grant recipients.
One grant recipient’s story: Association House of Chicago
The Association House of Chicago has been serving the community for more than 122 years, dating back to the original settlement house movement, which sought to bridge gaps between social classes. During the past century, they've been committed to addressing the needs of marginalized communities in the greater Humboldt Park community and the west side of Chicago, including throughout the pandemic.
Programs at Association House of Chicago are offered in both Spanish and English to better serve the diverse community. They provide workforce development, community health, child welfare and behavioral health programs. They also offer the Association House High School for students 16 to 21-years-old, all of whom have unique reasons for following a non-traditional path toward earning their high school diplomas.
During the pandemic, services were offered virtually for students and those using counseling services, but their goal was to return to in-person services as soon as possible.
Juan Carlos Linares, CEO of Association House of Chicago oversees all programs, including the high school, where he sees the impact of face-to-face programs on students’ lives. Many of these students benefit from on-site services like childcare and the food pantry, which can’t be conducted virtually.
“The population we serve works best with face-to-face programs,” said Linares. “Though we knew we had to put safety first during the pandemic, we also know they come here for our specialized teachers, mentors and support services who know how to listen to the students to address their needs,” said Linares.
Some students have children and rely on the school’s Family Literacy Program for childcare services during the day. In February the Family Literacy Program room was severely damaged by a burst frozen pipe, which flooded multiple rooms. Fortunately, a grant from the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation helped rebuild it.
“The damage was limited, but the most damage occurred in our Family Literacy Program room where the toddlers and infants play, sleep and crawl around,” said Linares. “The grant was instrumental in allowing the children to come back to the building in a short amount of time. We are so thankful American Family Insurance and the Dreams Foundation were able to support our families and our organization during a challenging time.”
Visit their website to learn more about Association House of Chicago and the positive impact they're having in the greater Humboldt Park and west Chicago communities.
About American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation
The American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation, Inc. builds upon the long-standing support of the communities we serve. As our mission has evolved from corporate giving to community investing, we’ve turned our focus to building strong partnerships with nonprofit organizations that help us strengthen both families and communities. We are committed to practicing action beyond philanthropy to contribute to the creation of more equitable communities. For more information, see the Making a Difference page of amfam.com.
About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 232 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.