A Season of Giving
The CLM Foundation wraps up its first year with donations—and a call to action
By Eric Gilkey
The CLM Foundation was established earlier this year to raise funds and support initiatives that promote the insurance claims, risk, and litigation industries; attract new talent to the field; and contribute to causes important to it. The sole support of the Foundation comes from you, the CLM membership.
And what a first year of successes it has been. At its first annual luncheon and awards banquet in New York this past October, it recognized its first recipient of the CLM Foundation Leadership Award, Scott Hudson, president and CEO of Gallagher Bassett. Hudson was lauded by his colleagues for being one of the first in the industry to heed the call to help change the image of the claims industry by redefining claims adjusters as resolution managers and for creating a partnership and collaboration between insurers, resolution managers, and those suffering losses that led to better and faster outcomes for everyone. He was also praised for his ability to inspire purpose and a feeling of pride in claims, and for demonstrating how those like himself who came from outside of the industry can find a rewarding career in claims.
“Leaders need one thing more than anything else: They need followers,” said J. Patrick Gallagher, chairman and CEO of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., in a video presentation at the luncheon. “One of the things that Scott is really good at is getting people to follow the concepts that he has brought to Gallagher Bassett that have really completely changed the way we look at ourselves.”
The event also featured presentations from the representatives and partners/beneficiaries of the three charities that the CLM Foundation supported this year: Darkness to Light, The Honor Foundation, and Kids’ Chance of America. In addition to being given a platform to inform CLM members and fellows of the work they are doing every day and hear the stories of those directly impacted by their work, each charity was also presented with a donation of $25,000 from the CLM Foundation, an incredible achievement for a first-year endeavor. Learn more about the charities and the impact made by the generosity and spirit of giving demonstrated by our 40,000-plus membership.
Darkness to Light
With its mission to train and educate adults about how to understand, talk about, and take action against child sexual abuse, Darkness to Light relies on contributions in order to break down myths, train facilitators, and support research and operations in all 50 states and 17 countries—all with a staff of just 10.
“With education comes comfort and the ability to discuss difficult matters openly,” says Darkness to Light CEO Katelyn Brewer. “So we wanted to speak about how important the partnership is with the CLM Foundation because it’s a membership organization of 40,000 members who run businesses, makes decisions, and, at the end of the day, includes parents and volunteers who have children in their lives who they love.”
Brewer says money supports Darkness to Light’s thousands of partners and tens of thousands of facilitators across the country who roll out the training to their local communities. Additionally, Darkness to Light helps finance research critical to ensuring it maintains its status as the only evidence-informed, adult-focused training for child sexual abuse prevention in the country.
“Many times, our partners and facilitators come to us and say, ‘We want to offer training but we haven’t received a grant in order to pay for it. Is there any way you can give us X-amount of scholarships for free?’ When we have reserve funds similar to the funds that CLM gave, we are able to do that with no problem,” says Brewer. “Beyond that, we are a research-based organization and research costs money. We prioritize research because if we are going to tell people that we are certifying somebody in knowledge, we need to know that our knowledge sharing is doing what we are saying it is doing. It’s important for us that we are basing our education on facts, figures, and data, and that we can prove—based on research—that our training does, in fact, influence behaviors and change people’s perceptions about the topic.”
Fundraising takes up much of Brewer’s time and is critical to the success of the organization, but she views it as a chance to educate, as well.
“It takes time to get to the ‘ask’ because I often need to educate potential donors on why this is something worth investing in,” says Brewer. “Not that they don’t understand [the issue], but it can be difficult to understand how their money can help. That’s why the CLM Foundation is such a diamond because [CLM CEO Adam Potter] and his team understood immediately why this was important and ran with it. It has supported us as an organization in a way that no corporation I’ve ever worked with has. [CLM has] invested in getting to know us.”
How can our membership continue to support Darkness to Light’s initiatives? Brewer suggests that the power of CLM’s local chapters is the key to gaining momentum and keeping Darkness to Light on track to reach its recently announced goal of completing 4 million trainings by 2020.
“We are already at 1.4 million trainings, so to get to 4 million in the next few years will require a massive push. It would be incredible to have CLM as a partner in getting us there,” says Brewer. “Honestly, I think getting local chapters to engage by doing things like hosting fundraisers is great. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s so much easier when someone else asks for money for you than when you ask for money for you. So, just the act of supporting that way is priceless. I can’t explain how much it is appreciated.”
The Honor Foundation
The Honor Foundation’s Steven Jones also attended the CLM Foundation luncheon to bring awareness of the work his group does to support and connect the highly qualified and educated Special Operations Forces community with employers that are in need of that kind of talent.
“I’m happy to talk about the organization, but people expect me to say great things about it,” says Jones, who serves as senior director of impact. “It’s so much nicer when we have one of our fellows like Jose Vasquez whose life was really directly impacted by the program be able to go up on stage at the luncheon and share his personal story because I don’t think people really have a sense of the transition struggle that so many of these guys go through. Many assume that these veterans will be just fine and will do great, but in reality, the transition is a struggle for every member of the military.”
Jones says the $25,000 funding that The Honor Foundation received from the CLM Foundation will have a big impact on the training that his organization provides, which prepares members from the Special Operations Forces for new careers by giving them the skills, knowledge, and connections they need to succeed.
“We run a transition program that is unlike any other in the country,” says Jones. “It’s a 15-week, 150-hour comprehensive, executive education-style program that includes one-on-ones with mentor coaches. They also learn to understand their strengths, weaknesses, emotional intelligence, and what they want their higher purpose to be after the military. It’s the program they deserve but don’t get elsewhere, and it costs money to put on.”
Jones says the funding that The Honor Foundation receives directly impacts the lives of many families not just because it pays for the program itself, but also because the successful transition that these fellows are going to have will follow them for life. While funding is always important, he’s hoping CLM can help in other ways, too.
“We really want your membership and their companies to be involved in a more tangible way,” says Jones. “We would love some of your folks to sign up to help mentor and hopefully begin hiring these guys. I think the insurance field is a good potential fit for many of them, so it’s just a matter of getting them access and finding the right channels, which I know the CLM can be incredibly helpful with.”
Kids’ Chance of America
Attendees at the luncheon and awards ceremony also heard from Kids’ Chance of America, an organization that works with its state organizations to provide educational opportunities and scholarships for the children of workers seriously injured or killed on the job. Student scholar graduate Mason Snider told the audience about his personal experience and how the financial support from Kids’ Chance of Virginia helped enable him to graduate from the University of Virginia with a mechanical engineering degree while also reducing the stress and worry of student debt.
“The $25,000 donation from the CLM Foundation will provide additional scholarship funds directly to our state organizations,” says Kids’ Chance of America Executive Director Vicki Burkhart. “Last fiscal year, Kids’ Chance of America provided more than $315,000 in scholarship funds to our state organizations, enabling them to increase scholarship award amounts and the number of recipients receiving awards.”
Burkhart says funds donated to Kids’ Chance of America also are used to help build the state non-profit organizations through educational workshops; consulting and best practices in board development; and programming and fundraising “so that we can operate more effectively in reaching our guiding principle of reaching more kids with more money.”
Kids’ Chance of America President John Goldwater, who also serves as executive vice president at W.R. Berkley Corp., says that while funding remains a challenge every year, the organization also faces an unexpected problem.
“Since a high percentage of our volunteers are engaged in the workers compensation industry, it is often assumed that we have unfettered access to families and students of injured workers,” says Goldwater. “However, due to individual state workers compensation statutes and HIPAA regulations, locating student applicants is quite challenging.”
He says CLM members and fellows can continue to support the organization by raising awareness throughout the claims and litigation management industries in order to identify new partners, sponsors, and volunteers, and it can also help provide a larger network of scholarship leads.
“The generosity of CLM’s donations permits us to enhance the monies we award to our state organizations,” says Goldwater. “In turn, state organizations are able to increase the size of the scholarships they award to their students.”
Helping “deliver” the CLM Foundation’s gifts and awards are the following CLM members and fellows, who make up its board.
• Bob Bowman, Director Risk Management, The Wendy’s Company*
• Deborah Saunders, Director, Claims Management, Comcast NBCUniversal*
• Darrell Brown, Chief Claims Officer, Sedgwick
• Cory Feinberg, Associate General Counsel-Head of Global Litigation & Investigation, MoneyGram International
• Emilee Scialpi, AVP, Claims Experience, USAA
• Steve Truono, VP, Global Risk Management & Insurance, Avon