9/22/2017
A Foundation of Support

A Foundation of Support

Meet the charitable organizations supported by CLM

By Phil Gusman

The CLM Foundation’s mission is to raise funds and support initiatives that promote the insurance, risk, and claims industry; attract new talent to the industry; and contribute to causes important to the industry. Get to know the three charitable organizations the CLM Foundation is supporting in 2017 and learn about the important work they do.

Darkness to Light

“It’s the Adults Who Need to Be Educated About Child Sexual Abuse”

Early in 2010, a Delaware town was rocked by what news reports called one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse in American history. A pediatrician had been accused of sexually assaulting more than 100 children.

The community reeled as shocking details came to light. The abuse had gone on for over a decade, and the average age of the survivors was just three years old. The pediatrician was sentenced in 2011 to 14 life terms plus another 160+ years without parole. More than 1,400 patients would file claims in a class-action lawsuit related to the pediatrician’s crimes.

Beau Biden, the state’s attorney general at the time who had promised to crack down on child predators*, turned down an opportunity to run for his father Joe Biden’s former U.S. Senate seat in order to prosecute the case.

As one story goes, Biden and his deputy attorney general, Patty Dailey Lewis, were getting coffee when a woman approached them, demanding to know what they intended to do about this troubling situation. Biden offered an update on the prosecution, but the woman insisted he was not really hearing the question, asking again what he intended to do. Biden understood.

Shortly afterward, the state reached out to Darkness to Light, a nonprofit that seeks to educate adults about how to understand, talk about, and take action against child sexual abuse. Since then, the charity’s facilitators have trained over 30,000 adults in Delaware about how to identify and combat abuse.

While the incident in Delaware represents an extreme case of child sexual abuse, it follows a familiar pattern, says Darkness to Light CEO Katelyn Brewer, who recounted the Delaware story. Often, abuse is prolonged because adults avoid or miss the signs.

Darkness to Light aims to solve this problem by focusing on adult education. Brewer says the organization’s founder recognized that children are educated regularly on the dangers they face, but “studies showed that, unfortunately, we have trained children and ill-equipped adults.” In many cases, adults either do not believe children who tell them about abuse, or adults do not know how to handle the situation.

“Our training is the only evidence-informed training in the country that focuses solely on teaching adults how to prevent child sexual abuse,” says Brewer.

So far, Darkness to Light has trained over 1.3 million people in all 50 states, and has set a goal to train four million by 2020.

Brewer says her message to CLM members and fellows is: “Prevention is possible, and it starts with you. You work with your clients every day in your communities, and you can be a powerful voice in prevention.”

* The Beau Biden Foundation—created to honor the life of Beau Biden, who passed away in 2015—works to keep children free from the threat of abuse.

The Honor Foundation

“Helping Heroes Transition to the Workforce”

Whether in movies, books, or video games—or even in real-life news accounts—Navy SEALs have a popular culture reputation that reaches near-superhero levels.

“It’s a mythical community,” says Joe Musselman, founder and CEO of The Honor Foundation. “They might as well be Spartans.”

But while it’s easy to conjure the image of SEALs as a near-invincible fighting force, it’s harder to imagine what happens when it’s time for a SEAL to transition from military service to the workforce. “No one ever asks what happens to Olympians after the Olympics,” Musselman says, noting the similarity.

Earlier this decade, Musselman interviewed more than 200 SEALs who had recently left military service, and he found the vast majority of them were without jobs. He points to a disconnect at the earliest stages of communication between SEALs and employers as one reason.

For years, SEALs are told not to talk about what they do or where they have been. “They get out and sit in front of an employer who wants to know about them and their experiences—it makes for a really awkward first interview,” Musselman says.

Musselman founded The Honor Foundation to bridge the gap between the highly qualified and educated Special Operations Forces community and employers in need of exactly that kind of talent. Employers want a better understanding of what special operators can do for them, and special operators want a sense of purpose in their post-military lives. “We’re like brokers of human futures at The Honor Foundation,” Musselman says.

Through The Honor Foundation programs, special operators learn about personal discovery, the tools they will need to succeed in the private sector, and corporate culture. Since its founding in 2013, The Honor Foundation has graduated 200 fellows, and those graduates are seeing higher salaries in the private sector. “It’s like the difference between Clark Kent and Superman,” Musselman says of the change in confidence in those who attend the programs and graduate.

Now, Musselman says that because demand is through the roof, the challenge for The Honor Foundation is finding the resources to grow and meet that demand. “We’ve proven our solution,” he says. “Now we need people to begin investing.” The Honor Foundation’s goal is to grow its programs to impact a Special Operations Forces community of 65,000 by 2020.

Kids’ Chance of America

“Keeping the Light of Education Alive After a Tragedy”

CLM members and fellows who work within state workers compensation systems have seen the impact a serious workplace injury or death can have on a family. Between the trauma, the drain on finances, and the added responsibilities at home, it’s easy for something like securing a child’s education to slip through the cracks or at least be delayed for a time.

Kids’ Chance exists solely to make sure families have the opportunity to provide that education after a tragic workers compensation event. “It’s a straightforward mission,” says Kids’ Chance Executive Director Victoria Burkhart. “Kids’ Chance exists to provide scholarships for students who are in families where there has been a serious workers compensation-related injury or death.”

Since its founding in 1988, Kids’ Chance has grown to have representation in 39 states, with plans to reach 45 states heading into 2018. While each state’s operation is separately incorporated, Kids’ Chance of America was officially recognized in 2007 as the organization’s national umbrella group. Burkhart says that has helped serve as “the glue among the states to allow them to grow” by providing funding, coordination, and support.

Burkhart says about 6,000 scholarships, totaling around $18.7 million, have been provided by the state organizations during the lifetime of Kids’ Chance. The “Faces of Kids’ Chance” on the national organization’s website stands as a testament to the individual students who the state organizations have been able to help.

A challenge for Kids’ Chance, Burkhart says, is putting names to the statistics that the organization sees. “We know there are more families who are impacted [by severe workers compensation injuries],” she says. “Actually getting to those families and making sure that they have information on Kids’ Chance and our scholarship opportunities is where the challenge is.”

Kids’ Chance is chipping away at that challenge by building up its infrastructure in each state and through its various programs, such as increasing awareness through individual partners and reaching out to school guidance counselors.

As Burkhart says, “Our mantra is more money for more kids.” She adds, “We’re looking to raise dollars to identify more potential applicants to provide opportunities to as many students as possible.



Phil Gusman is managing editor of CLM magazine, a publication of the CLM. He can be reached at phil.gusman@theclm.org.

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