American Family Insurance commits $105 million to help close equity gaps under ‘Free to Dream’ initiative – About Your Online Magazine

[February 23, 2021]

American Family Insurance unveiled today Free to dream, a $ 105 million commitment over the next five years to continue its work to help close equity gaps and improve communities’ quality of life. American Family will intensify its focus on five important social issues – what the company is calling the pillars of Free to Dream: economic empowerment, health education and equity, climate resilience, criminal justice reform and diversity, equality and inclusion of the workforce .

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American Family believes that the private sector should play a critical role in partnering with communities to expand equity. To this end, the company will significantly increase its already strong investment in the five pillar areas, so that everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, can live in an environment where they can thrive.

“We must use our voice and financial strength to help create an environment where everyone is free to pursue their dreams,” said Jack Salzwedel, president and CEO. “American Family will always defend and defend equity – it is the right thing to do for our company, our employees and our communities.”

“Free to Dream is more than an American family. Its goal is to inspire, create and support partnerships with other companies, organizations and the public sector to solve these problems together effectively,” said Telisa Yancy, chief operating officer. “Now it is time to go beyond words and take deliberate and collaborative actions that result in profound changes.”

American Family’s commitment to communities is reflected throughout the organization. The continuous search for a more diverse workforce will position the company to better serve customers and communities and present more innovative approaches to problem solving.

“We see diversity, equity and inclusion not only as a social issue, but also as a focus that creates a competitive advantage,” said Yasir Kamal, vice president for Inclusive Excellence, adding that the American Family has set an aggressive and achievable of increasing racial and ethnic diversity through the recruitment, development and retention of talent across its workforce.

Kamal said the company will continue its focus on increasing diversity through a variety of strategies, including deliberate and targeted recruitment, such as focusing on historically black colleges and universities, as well as partnerships with organizations that support the development and recruitment of diversity in levels of employees and leadership. The company will also build on its inclusive culture and development and promotion opportunities that will help retain a number of employees.

Making an impact with Free to Dream

Over the next five years, the $ 105 million commitment will finance partnerships and investments in social impact startups through American Family Institute for Corporate and Social Impact and financial support through American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation and Investments and Community Partnerships – existing areas of the company that currently lead programs to close capital gaps.

Through social impact support and investments of more than $ 67 million over the past five years, American Family has a history of partnerships to positively impact communities.

In 2020 alone, the Dreams Foundation provided grants with a focus on lifelong learning and basic needs for 230 organizations across the country. In 2021, the foundation will continue its work, focusing on academic performance and education, healthy youth development and economic opportunities, in addition to basic needs.

Since it was created in 2018, the American Family Insurance Institute has invested more than $ 15 million in 18 social impact startups focused on closing equity gaps, including those that help address climate change and support education, mental health, well-being and individuals and families involved in justice. As these companies grow, they have the potential to significantly increase their impact on individuals and communities, while providing financial returns to investors who support them.

“This work is at the heart of our DNA,” said Bill Westrate, president and CEO elected. “For more than 90 years, American Family has invested in initiatives that benefit our society. Our role is to partner to create the foundation for health, equity and economic prosperity in our communities.”

“We are proud of the work we have done to help strengthen communities and improve lives, but we are far from over,” said Westrate. “We know that even more can be accomplished by strengthening our commitment and increasing our investments.”

Free to Dream pillars of the American family

Economic empowerment – The wealth gap in America presents barriers for people of color as they strive to make their dreams come true. American Family Insurance will engage in innovative initiatives, investments and partnerships that will enable more families to be financially successful and pursue their American dream.

Health Education and Equity – Inequities in education and physical and mental health limit results for low-income communities, which disproportionately include people of color. Education is a fundamental vehicle to break the cycles of generational poverty for students and their families. American Family Insurance will prioritize its investments, partnerships and innovative thinking to help address health and education gaps across the country.

Climate Resilience – Climate change particularly affected low-income and colored communities, many of whom were already at a disadvantage. American Family Insurance has invested in several mission-oriented startups that have identified innovative solutions to positively impact these communities. Free to Dream will expand the awareness of these companies and encourage others to join in supporting environmental sustainability.

Criminal Justice Reform – American Family Insurance seeks to limit recidivism and expand employment opportunities for ex-prisoners and those with a history of conviction and imprisonment. Free to Dream will support these efforts and the company will advocate changing public policies towards a more just and humane criminal justice system.

Diversity, equity and inclusion of the workforce – American Family Insurance is taking critical steps to focus diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace as a basic standard in the way the company conducts business and partners with the wider community. This is so important that the company included it in its five-year strategic plan. American Family’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is best demonstrated by its Inclusive Excellence program, with the strategic goals of creating a diverse workforce that represents America from entry-level jobs to senior and senior management. board, while cultivating an inclusive culture where all people can thrive.

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About the American Family Insurance group

Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving clients since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from the owners and employees of our agencies, investment in the community and creative partnerships to address society’s challenges. We act based on our belief in diversity and inclusion, constantly evolving to meet the needs and preferences of customers. The American Family Insurance group is the 13th largest property / accident insurance group in the country, ranking 254th on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family branded products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes TO CONNECT, developed by American Family Insurance, The general, Main page and Main Street America. Among these companies, the group has more than 13,200 employees across the country.

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Paula Fonseca