American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation announces second round of 2019 grant recipients
Non-profit organizations were awarded $1,704,765 in 2019 through the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation grant program, one of several Foundation programs.
American Family Insurance and the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation are having meaningful impact in communities across the nation by making grant investments in 93 organizations totaling $967,265 as part of the second grant cycle of 2019. In July, 87 organizations were awarded grants totaling $737,500 as part of the year’s first grant cycle.
Dreams Foundation grants address needs in two main areas
The Dreams Foundation focuses its efforts towards those who are under-represented and economically disadvantaged, and in two main areas: Lifelong learning, such as early childhood development, educational programming and job training; and basic needs, including food instability, transportation and stable housing.
“At American Family we believe everyone should have the opportunity to pursue and achieve their dreams, and we know our customers believe that, too,” said Maggie Pascaly, American Family Insurance community investment manager. “That’s why we invest in communities through the Dreams Foundation grant program that assists deserving organizations who are working so hard to provide life-changing programs and services that give individuals and families the chance to not only survive, but thrive.”
Mary’s Place: providing housing and hope to the homeless
One of those organizations is Mary’s Place, located in Seattle, Washington.
Homelessness is a serious issue in Seattle and King County, Washington. In response to a growing need, Mary’s Place opened as a shelter for women experiencing homelessness in 1999. However, as the shelter saw more and more mothers with children coming to them with nowhere to go at night, and with the belief that “no one’s child should sleep outside,” they opened their first emergency shelter for families in 2011.
Today, Mary's Place has 10 locations with 600 beds located throughout King County that temporarily shelter and serve hundreds of homeless families.
The organization uses a unique model for finding space. They search out empty buildings that are awaiting redevelopment and in the interim, convert them into shelters. Relying on community support from both private developers and city/county government, the buildings are loaned to Mary’s Place prior to redevelopment. Pro bono contractors, construction workers, plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople help renovate the properties. Then, the shelter uses the building anywhere from one to five years before returning it for redevelopment.
The mission of Mary’s Place has always been to help families find a pathway out of homelessness and alleviate some of the trauma inherent in their situations. Along the way they provide a safe, inclusive place for them to stay together, as well as the services, resources, community and hope that head them in the right direction.
Every family is connected with a housing specialist who works with them to address barriers to housing, prepare for employment and secure permanent housing. Their children go back to school, get help with homework, and enjoy age-appropriate programming, including field trips, library visits, scouting and other enriching activities and adventures through a Kids Club. Children are kept engaged while their parents work hard with the housing specialist to build family stability.
The organization also offers a Diversion Program with mobile outreach specialists who go to families and work with them where they are – often living in cars or tents – aimed at moving them into stable housing within 30 days and “diverting” them from a shelter stay. Last year, Mary's Place helped nearly 300 families find housing through this program alone.
The Popsicle Place shelter program ensures families who have lost their jobs and then often their housing, caring for children with critical illnesses – chemo or dialysis treatments, multiple appointments, surgeries, etc. – have a safe, secure place to live with specialized care and attention, with separation from other guests and children. They're able to concentrate on getting their children well without the added stress of no housing.
Mary’s Place recognizes that an outpouring of community support, including assistance that comes from sources like the Dreams Foundation grant, is what keeps their doors open to families in need.
“We are incredibly grateful to the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation for this generous grant,” said Marty Hartman, executive director of Mary’s Place. “Your gifts are bringing families and children inside to warmth, safety and stability. You are bringing hope, changing lives and strengthening our community. We thank you, and our families who benefit thank you.”
Dreams Foundation has significant community impact
Since 2016, American Family Insurance and the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation have committed nearly $10.5 million through more than 700 grants across its operating territory.
“The American Family Dreams Foundation is pleased to partner with organizations like Mary’s Place and so many other non-profits doing amazing work,” said Pascaly. “Their efforts make individuals, families and communities stronger…and that benefits all of us.”
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About American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation
The American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation, Inc. builds on our long-standing commitment and support of our communities. As our mission has evolved from corporate giving to community investing, we’ve turned our focus to creating strong partnerships with nonprofit organizations that have helped us strengthen both families and communities. For more information, see the Making a Difference page of amfam.com or the Community Investment page of the Newsroom.
About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 306 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, primarily through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General and Homesite) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the internet or by phone. Affiliate Main Street America sells insurance products through independent agents and affiliate Ameriprise Auto & Home sells through partners. Web www.amfam.com; Facebook www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter www.twitter.com/amfam.