The Amica Companies Foundation: a Northeast Corporate Funder Giving on Both Coasts

photo: Dmitrijs Kaminskis/shutterstock

photo: Dmitrijs Kaminskis/shutterstock

The Amica Companies Foundation, the philanthropic sister of the Amica Insurance Company, continues to fund Rhode Island causes while expanding its reach to serve nonprofits throughout the U.S. It has a home office in Lincoln, Rhode Island, and an established preference for nonprofits serving this state. However, since 2016, it has branched out with a giving program that funds nonprofits both in Rhode Island and those connected to its branches in the Northwest and Southwest through employee participation.

Amica funds a diverse range of causes including health and human services, education, basic needs and community development, and arts and culture. Charitable giving coordinator Meredith R. Gregory thinks this flexible approach is a strength of the foundation.

“Resiliency is one of the most important characteristics of Amica’s charitable giving efforts,” she tells us. She says its mission, which “is to harness the power of enduring relationships to help individuals, families and communities become economically independent and strong,” provides the foundation team “with the flexibility and adaptability to fund organizations in meaningful ways.”

“Our funding story is about helping people when they need it most. The world of philanthropy is ever-changing in response to individuals, families, and communities that need support,” Gregory says.

Below, we discuss a few of the initiatives Amica has carried out lately, with input from Gregory.

Amica is the title sponsor of the Amica Insurance Newport Marathon, which raises money for charity. A total of $50,000 will be donated to several charities in 2018, including Clean Ocean Access, a local community water and beach protection and advocacy organization. The Amica Companies Foundation also partnered with this group by changing its business practices to be more eco-friendly and through its employees’ volunteer time. Volunteering is at the heart of Amica’s corporate citizenship program. It provides its employees with one day of paid time off each year to volunteer in the community, and the Citizenship Grant Program awards financial support to nonprofit organizations in the names of employees who are involved with them.

As part of the Clean Ocean Access partnership, Amica provided all of its workers with reusable bags and removed single-use plastic bags from the home office cafeteria, which will eliminate 12,000 plastic bags per year. Also, employees participated in community cleanups. More than 50 employees worked for two days with Clean Ocean Access to clear shoreline access along Aquidneck Island and provide trail maintenance at Melville Park in Portsmouth. Gregory says more than 2,000 pounds of debris were removed.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Clean Ocean Access, as an ever-growing opportunity for us to promote environmentally conscious efforts in our company and community,” she adds.

Along with the marathon, Amica sponsors other local events with either for-profit or nonprofit organizations in exchange for promotions and/or advertising. In the past, these events have included art festivals, entertainment and sporting events, and auto shows.

Also, in the past two years, the Amica Companies Foundation’s Proactive Giving grantmaking program has awarded almost $1 million in grants to 14 nonprofits connected to its employees at various branches throughout the country. These efforts include and extend beyond Rhode Island groups to the Northwest and Southwest. A few examples of the grantees are Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Frisco Family Services in Dallas, the Young Americans Center for Financial Education in Denver, the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation in Phoenix, Portland YouthBuilders, and FamilyWorks in Seattle.

“Our branch employees are building strong partnerships with these nonprofits, serving on committees and organizing volunteer and charitable giving projects throughout the year,” Gregory says.

Nonprofit groups may generally apply for funding once per year through an online application. But at this time, Gregory says Amica has “established a very strong presence with numerous nonprofits throughout Rhode Island,” is “inundated with requests,” and is not currently seeking additional local grantees.

“We’re expanding our charitable giving in the Northwest and Southwest, supporting the charitable efforts of employees in those areas,” she adds.