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Beyond Business: How MMA Southwest is Using Business as a Platform for Good in Fort Worth

More than 750 parents, children and community volunteers dressed in super hero costumes flooded the campus of ACH Child & Family Services (ACH) earlier this summer for the organization’s first ever “Super Hero Family Fun Fest” to celebrate and honor local families and key community stakeholders serving on the front lines of foster care. Held during National Foster Care Awareness Month, Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) participated as a Presenting Sponsor with NSM Care Providers and provided more than 30 volunteers from MMA’s Fort Worth office recording more than 100 volunteer hours.

MMA Southwest’s Non-Profit Practice Leader Adam Sammons and his wife Kiley were tapped by ACH in June of 2016 to serve as co-chairs for the inaugural event, helping ACH surpass their target attendance and fundraising goals by securing sponsorships from like-minded companies such as the well-known jewelry maker Kendra Scott based out of Austin, TX who provided opportunities for kids to win prizes for their mothers by taking a spin on the Kendra Scott Color Wheel.

The festival was open to the public and free of charge, providing bounce houses, face paint artists, food trucks, balloon artists, a super hero costume parade, video game trucks, and a number of additional kid and family-friendly activities for families to enjoy together.

“Kids would run up to the Kendra Scott Color Wheel, spin it as hard as they could, and wait anxiously to see what they won. The smiles on their faces when they turned around to give the gifts to their moms are the types of images that stick with you in your mind because for some of the kids, it was their first opportunity to give something like that to their mother(s). To have the opportunity to see those kids and interact with their families was incredibly special because it reminded me of why our team does what we do when we work with organization like ACH.”

Beyond Business

The relationship between ACH and MMA-Southwest began in early 2013, after the non-profit was awarded a three-year contract by the state of Texas for its foster care redesign initiative. The program aimed at improving outcomes for the more than 16,000 children in the state foster care system, of which between 2,000 and 3,000 are in the region that ACH serves – known as Region 3b. Since taking on the project, the non-profit organization has dedicated more than $3 million of its own endowment funds toward the pilot program in order to show that a fully funded model has the ability to create better outcomes for kids and families. Three years later, the program has proven to be so successful that the state now plans to turn over foster care case management for Region 3b to ACH and begin expanding the redesign initiative into other regions throughout Texas.

“ACH brought in our team immediately after they were awarded the redesign contract to help them navigate the risks involved with the initiative,” explains Sammons. His team from MMA-Southwest worked with ACH’s staff to develop contract language and requirements for the child placing agencies with ACH’s network, structure and negotiate coverages to address new exposures, and review and update their risk management plan accordingly.

While MMA-Southwest spends significant financial and volunteer resources to support non-profit organizations, part of the company’s overall strategy to give back is the use of and investment in their Non-Profit Practice Division. “We believe that business should be used for good. We find the industry’s brightest minds and biggest hearts and try to give them a platform to leverage their gifts, talents and the resources of the firm in order to make a positive impact on the communities we live and work in,” says Sammons. “Is our division the most profitable within the firm? No, and we aren’t expected or designed to be. The firm understands the significance of our work and the reality that non-profit organizations are required to do more with less, so profitability our division’s profitability is simply a means to sustainability so that we can continue to make an impact on the communities we live and work in.

Making an Impact
MMA-Southwest was named a Community Partner by ACH for their financial and volunteer support, and continues to engage mission-driven non-profits like them across the country. Employees in the Dallas and Fort Worth offices are gearing up for the third year of work with Feed My Starving Children, when they will come together on August 18th to pack 35,000 meals to be sent to kids in need around the world.

In addition, every MMA-Southwest employee is given a fully paid day to volunteer at the charity of their choice through the company’s Volunteer Match program, and employees who give at least 25 hours of community service can apply for a Dollars for Doers grant with the company for the non-profit organization they want to support. Collectively, all of the MMA-Southwest offices also donate close to $250,000 annually through the firm’s employee matching program, which is managed through an employee-run charitable giving committee. Notes Senior Vice President Peter Welch, “Rather than our corporate structure picking out one or two [charities] each year to give a large sum of money to, we allow our employees to pick what’s important to them, and we have a board made up of employees who approve the donations.”

MMA-Southwest continues to build strong ties with the local community in Fort Worth and across the region with their driving passion and commitment to leveraging the firm’s financial resources, hands-on volunteer support, and the strategic delivery of insurance, risk management and employee benefits platforms designed to maximize the impact and reach of mission-driven non-profit organizations serving on the front lines.