Giving back to the communities where we live and work is one of the core principles embedded in Homeowners Financial Group’s mission, vision and values. It’s such an integral part of our culture that we have policies that allow employees to volunteer during work hours and even created shirts for our “Homies” to wear when they’re helping out in the community. Every year, Homeowners Financial Group organizes two company-wide charitable giving initiatives—one in the summer and one in the winter. In 2019 alone, our employees spent nearly 700 work hours volunteering and donated more than 14,000 items, valued at over $54,000, to local charities.
Before we kick off each campaign, our culture committee votes to choose the theme of the initiative. Then each branch selects a local charity in their area to support. Branch employees raise money, collect donations, and participate in events such as serving food, packing boxes, delivering holiday gifts and more, in support of the organization they choose. But they don’t do it alone. Our goal is to spread the word about each initiative we participate in to get our clients, friends, families and communities involved, so we can multiply the impact we have.
2020 Summer Campaign
It probably comes as no surprise that the theme of this summer’s charitable giving initiative was COVID-19 emergency relief. Every branch selected a local nonprofit organization that’s been impacted by the pandemic and dedicated June-August to raising money and collecting donations for them.
Because of the social distancing guidelines that are still in place in many areas, our teams had to get creative. But that didn’t stop them from making a difference. Our employees worked together to support first responders, at-risk youth, food pantries, community centers and many more organizations that have been affected by COVID-19.
Here are four stories from branches across the country that illustrate how our employees gave back to their communities during this difficult time.
Corporate & Corporate Operations, AZ
St. Mary’s Food Bank
The corporate office in Scottsdale teamed up with the St. Mary’s Food Bank to support the increased demand the organization is experiencing due to COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, the number of people St. Mary’s serves has tripled, which means the food bank is giving out 2.5 million pounds of food a day, compared to 1 million pounds a day before the pandemic.
“We chose St. Mary’s because we thought it would be a great organization that would make good use of the funds we collected, and it would help a lot of people,” said Maggie Provencher, Corporate Trainer and Southwest Region Culture Committee Lead.
Because HFG employees are still working from home, the office chose to participate in a fundraising drive to collect money for St. Mary’s. For every $1 they collect, St. Mary’s is able to provide seven meals to people in need. The office raised more than $6,000 during the initiative.
Placer Food Bank
HFG’s Roseville, CA branch also chose to support a local food bank that has seen demand increase since the beginning of the pandemic. The branch chose the Placer Food Bank because they have a drive-through distribution center that allowed employees to serve families impacted by COVID-19, while remaining safe.
Branch employees spent a Saturday at the food bank, sorting and packaging food, setting up stations with different types of food, directing traffic and handing out bags of food to people who needed it. By the end of the day, they provided food to 300 cars. Some of them were picking up for as many as 4 families in one car.
“We were grateful to find a place that had adjusted to the guidelines and were creative enough to think outside the box, so we could serve those who are in need,” said Lauren Carter, Licensed Mortgage Professional.
St. Petersburg, FL
The Kind Mouse
The St. Petersburg branch partnered with the Kind Mouse, an organization that provides food to children who get their only meals at school. Before COVID-19, the Kind Mouse gave kids food for dinner during the week and to take home on the weekends. But with schools closed, they’re working with partner agencies to distribute food seven days a week not only to kids but to their families as well.
“It’s a way to make sure that people who relied on the school system, not just for an education but for food, are getting the food they need,” Tammy Boldt, Producing Branch Manager, said.
Because many people still aren’t comfortable going to the grocery store to buy food to donate, Homeowners Financial Group chose to make a monetary contribution to the Kind Mouse. The branch employees decided to donate a portion of every loan they closed, and Tammy agreed to do the same for her closings as well as match their contributions. As a result, the team raised nearly $11,000 during the initiative.
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center
The Maplewood team joined forces with the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, an African American nonprofit social service agency that provides a wide range of services to the community, including early childhood education, youth enrichment programs, daycare, food shelf, clothing closet, activities for seniors and more. The center also serves as a hub for the community, delivering food and supplies to churches, food shelters and other organizations in need.
“They distribute to places that many people won’t,” George Gershon, Producing Branch Manager said. “That’s one of the reasons we chose them. Because we can help multiple organizations at the same time.”
Originally the branch planned to donate 100 laundry baskets with food and household supplies to the organization, but after COVID-19 hit, they changed their plans, and worked together to raise nearly $15,000, which they donated to the center.
But with so many people suffering due to the pandemic, the branch didn’t stop there. With the help of other organizations, they also pitched in to provide food, clothing, housing and supplies to people who lost their jobs, homes or were victims of violence. And they collected business clothing for veterans to wear on job interviews through the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals.
“The Homeowners family is great. Everyone on our team donated without even asking. It makes a big difference, it really does,” George said.
We would like to extend a special thank you to our clients, partners and friends who assisted us in giving back this summer. Without your help and participation, we would not be able to have such a positive impact on our local communities. Stay tuned for details regarding future charitable initiatives if you are interested in being part of our commitment to giving!