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American Family Insurance interns participate in fourth annual Shark Tank Challenge


Student interns teamed-up with local nonprofits to create innovative solutions.

American Family Insurance hosted the fourth annual Share Tank Intern Challenge at the end of July, with 75 interns from the national headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin competing to help 20 different nonprofit organizations.

The Share Tank Intern Challenge, based upon the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” encourages interns to unleash their creative sides while learning about and practicing American Family’s philanthropic culture.

At the beginning of the summer, interns were paired into cross-divisional teams and assigned a nonprofit. From there, they worked together to solve a problem the organization faces – with a budget of only $10,000.

Intern teams presented their solutions to a panel of judges made up of American Family leaders and one winning team was chosen.

The Share Tank concept was created in 2016 by Amy Wilcox, American Family talent acquisition administer, as a way to teach interns about American Family’s philanthropy and commitment to community investment.

Wilcox says interns do much more than participate in the Challenge.

“Our interns do an amazing job pitching solutions to real-world issues that local nonprofits are experiencing," said Wilcox. "But beyond that, many interns have forged relationships with their nonprofits that have lasted far after Share Tank has concluded."

Following the presentations, a winning team was selected and the River Food Pantry was awarded a check for $10,000. The winning interns - Alexis Bernard (not pictured), Casey Olson (left) and AJ Sterlavage (right) - each received $500 to put towards college expenses.

The group proposed spending their $10,000 budget on purchasing two hydroponic growing systems. The systems could grow produce for the food bank year round and use less water and energy than traditional farming.

“Talking with the clients of the River Food Pantry and hearing how much food insecurity impacts their lives motivated us to go the extra mile to win,” said Bernard. “The staff were so excited to talk with us and share ideas. They repeatedly told us how grateful they were to have worked with American Family on this concept.”

All other participating Share Tank charities received a $1,000 donation.

The Share Tank Intern Challenge provides experience and skill-building opportunities that interns can use in their future careers while at the same time increasing American Family’s philanthropic impact on the community.

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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. Web; Facebook; Twitter