With Lindsay Marshall—Vice President Brand & Communications, Youngs Insurance Brokers
HOW DID YOUR #GIVEBACKONTARIO INITIATIVE START?
At Youngs Insurance, giving back is a significant part of our legacy. Because of this, I knew there was capacity for a more substantial impact if we coordinated our efforts and openly shared our giving back message. In 2016, we established our #GiveBackOntario program—an initiative to inspire others to give back alongside us. Each year we set a goal to donate $100,000 to deserving community charities. We’ve woven this giving mindset into our corporate culture, providing employees opportunities to give back and get involved in monthly charitable initiatives.
Our program has evolved from donations to charitable organizations that create platforms for others to give back through fundraising opportunities. For example, we donated lemonade stand fundraising kits to young children, families and the Kiwanis Boys & Girls Clubs of Hamilton to encourage youth to get involved and give back to the McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation. Not only do we financially donate to charitable organizations, we’re hands on within our communities and find unique situations where help is needed.
WHAT INSPIRED #GIVEBACKONTARIO?
Youngs Insurance Owner & President Sandy Valleriani and his late wife Patty were the vital force behind its philanthropic focus. Their insight, passion and ability to pull a team together to nurture a grassroots giving project is a testament to their values and the success of this program. In 2019, Patty tragically passed away, leaving a huge hole in the hearts of many in the company and community. Her legacy lives on through our #GiveBackOntario program.
WHAT KIND OF WORK GOES INTO THIS INITIATIVE?
It’s a great deal of work—I don’t want to downplay it—but the investment is well worth it. The value the program brings to our employees, clients and community is immeasurable. To ensure #GiveBackOntario is accessible to as many organizations as possible, we’ve created an online submission process to ensure resources reach diverse organizations in need. The initiative generates 200+ submissions every year, allowing numerous organizations to prosper. We review submission requests to decide if organizations meet the requirements and what capacity to provide assistance and response. We’re incredibly grateful that our employees have embraced this passion project, allowing us to have a more meaningful impact.
WHICH CHARITIES HAVE YOU SUPPORTED?
Over the last year, we supported 168 organizations. Of these, 92 charities received financial support and 76 received gifts in kind. We’re proud to fund a wide variety of charitable initiatives across Ontario. The list of organizations we’ve had the pleasure to work with and support includes Niagara Children’s Centre, Community Crew, Native Women’s Centre, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Empowerment Squared, McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation and The Hope Centre.
DID THE PANDEMIC AFFECT WHICH CHARITIES APPLIED FOR SUPPORT? DID IT INCREASE DEMAND?
During COVID-19 and in honour of our 110th Anniversary, we established our #110ActsOfKindness Campaign to help us reinvigorate the public to #GiveBackOntario and spread kindness in whatever capacity they could. We discovered new charitable initiatives that needed our support and thanked those making this difficult time better. We sent lunch to COVID-19 nurses and doctors at the General Hospital in Hamilton as a token of our appreciation and donated sidewalk chalk to Community Crew so children could get involved in spreading kindness.