Helping Others

Helping Others

We continue to invest effort, energy and resources to support activities and charitable causes we care about as individuals and teams.

California food drive
To raise hunger drive funds, one office emulated the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by letting employees dump water on managers for a donation.

California employees drive out hunger

Since 2011, our California Claims organization has coordinated a statewide drive to benefit the California Food Bank. It’s been a great success. In the first year, for instance, employees collected over 8,000 pounds (the goal was 3,000 pounds). And, they’ve upped their game ever since.
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In 2014, employees collected a total of 40,382 pounds—enough food to provide about 50,000 meals, according to the Food Bank. “We thought our goal of 25,000 pounds was ambitious when we set it; but we obliterated that mark,” says Carolyn Nogy, claims manager and event coordinator.

“Every year, offices across the state have found additional ways to contribute and increase contributions,” she adds. “For example, the introduction of virtual donations for the 2014 campaign was a game changer.”

In past years, we relied on collection bins at office locations throughout the state to gather food donations. These worked well, but limited participation by employees at smaller claims offices.

The introduction of virtual donations let our smaller offices come up with creative ways to raise funds. Nineteen field offices participated in fundraising activities ranging from pancake breakfasts and bake sales to employee-manager challenges.

The drive’s success even inspired involvement from companies outside of Progressive. Two body shops—York Auto Body in Los Angeles, and Douglas Auto Body in Pasadena—got in on the action, making large donations.

“People from the body shops interact with Progressive employees at our Service Centers,” says Carolyn. “That’s how they saw flyers promoting the food drive. So, they asked if they could be involved. It was totally unexpected.

“I was just amazed at everyone’s enthusiasm for helping our communities. Food drives are fairly common fundraising activities, but we feel that ours is extra special because of the camaraderie that’s developed here as we work together to give back. It’s been truly inspiring,” she adds.

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Progressive employees unite for good causes
Progressive’s Fire and Theft team in San Diego, CA, at the USS Midway, where they made repairs on the famous naval ship museum.

Progressive employees unite for good causes

In previous reports, we’ve seen that when Progressive employees have an opportunity to make a difference in their communities, they jump into action. Their efforts have changed lives, strengthened communities and built friendships.
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And, 2014 was no exception. Once again, we saw employees band together to support common causes. They proved that one person with one idea can make a huge impact, and that people will rally around a worthwhile effort.

We’re proud to share some of the accomplishments of our employees in 2014.

The Progressive Latin American Networking Association (PLANetA), hosted its first Soles for Souls drive in multiple locations across the country. The group collected 1,503 pairs of shoes to donate to those in need.

A Phoenix-based employee, in another city to attend a training class, befriended a family staying at his hotel. They were displaced from their home due to a catastrophe. The employee, his training staff and colleagues raised $534 for the family, along with Thanksgiving and December holiday meals.

Our Indian Orchard, Maine office set a goal to do a good deed every month in 2014. Some of those good deeds included collecting and donating pet supplies, donating clothing, organizing a diaper drive and creating care packages for the troops.

About 100 Cleveland-based Information Technology employees held their third annual day of service, volunteering for a cause of their choice. They did work for various charitable organizations, including cleaning cages at an animal shelter, sorting and organizing school supplies and gently used clothing for two organizations that service those in need, and winterizing the grounds for a local cultural center.

House counsel and managing attorneys in New Jersey challenged each other to the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” Within hours, offices across the state raised hundreds of dollars for the ALS Foundation.

An employee team in San Diego, California volunteered to work on a restoration project for a naval icon, the USS Midway. It’s the most viewed naval ship museum in the world.

A team of 21 Cleveland-based employees cycled in the Pedal to the Point fundraising event. The team raised $11,870 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

More than 40 employees and family members built gardens for Marbridge Farms in South Austin, Texas. Marbridge, a non-profit residential community for adults with mental challenges, serves as an alternative to group homes.

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Keys to Progress
Francine Morgan (left) and her daughter delight in receiving a new car through the Keys to Progress® program.

Helping military veterans get the keys to a better future

Through our Keys to Progress® program, we work with partners to find and help military veterans in desperate need of transportation. The program is in its second year.
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The 2014 Keys to Progress effort involved organizations such as the National Auto Body Council (NABC), repair shops in the Progressive network, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Enterprise Rent-A-Car, military charities and several other partners.

Together, we restored and donated 117 salvaged vehicles to veterans and their families. Those donations took place on Veterans Day at Progressive’s Service Centers—unique, one-stop facilities that handle claims and coordinate repairs for customers.

It’s all about the vets

It’s important to not underestimate the value of reliable transportation. Each vehicle has helped open new doors and opportunities for these proudly-serving veterans and their families.

For example:

SFC Marc Eveland, an Army and Marine Corps veteran who’s currently in the National Guard, had no transportation. He said that the vehicle he received will be a lifeline for his family of eight.

Francine Morgan, who spent 17 years in the Air Force, was thankful that her vehicle will allow her to take her special-needs daughter to frequent visits to medical facilities.

David and Megan Buckley described themselves as being at “rock-bottom” due to a series of circumstances that left them jobless, in debt with student loans and without a home for their little girls. “Because of the hard work of the VFW, the American Legion and the wonderful people at Progressive, we rebuilt most of what we lost,” says Megan. “They gave us the opportunity to regain our footing and stand tall.”

“We hope that Keys to Progress continues to positively affect the lives of veterans who have served our nation unconditionally,” says Tom Minnick, claims director. “Progressive is committed to those who serve in our armed forces through this program. The first year of the program, we gave 59 vehicles to veterans. In 2014, we almost doubled our donations with 117 and our goal for 2015 is even higher.”

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School Supplies
Here’s a sampling of the 152 backpacks—loaded with supplies—that Ohio employees collected for Operation Backpack.

Providing school supplies to help kids succeed

For some parents and students, starting a new school year can present a nearly insurmountable obstacle—the expense of school supplies.
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In 2014, Progressive employees provided a helping hand. We partnered on two efforts to provide school supplies to students in need: Volunteers of America’s Operation Backpack and a Kids in Need Foundation drive.

Operation Backpack

Employees at several of our Ohio claims offices partnered with the Greater Ohio chapter of Volunteers of America (VOA). Its annual donation drive, Operation Backpack, helps more than two million American students each year.

Erin Gurtner, a claims specialist, has organized our participation in the event for the last four years.

“Students lacking first-day supplies often face social stigma from their peers and teachers, which can discourage progress. The idea here is to boost kids’ self-esteem and make them feel good about going to school—it’s about making education a priority,” says Erin.

Progressive employees collected 152 filled backpacks, which represents more than eight percent of the 1,830 backpacks gathered across the Greater Ohio region.

Kids in Need

Two Progressive employee organizations—the Young Professionals Network (YP.Net) and the Analyst Professional Group (APG)—sponsored a school supply drive to benefit the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF).

YP.Net chose this charity because it mirrored their own mission so closely.

“YP.Net’s goal is to promote the development of the young professionals of our future. So, the Kids in Need Foundation was a perfect match—its mission is to ensure every child is prepared to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need,” says Joanna Kalgreen, IT business systems analyst and YP.Net member. “By supporting KINF’s mission, we’re able to help give children the necessary resources and support to develop into the young professionals of our future.”

Progressive employees in 11 cities across the country participated. Donated supplies included crayons, glue sticks, markers, pencils and pens. The supply drive was a huge success, with over 8,500 supplies donated to KINF.

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Katharine “Kat” Hale
Kat Hale (right) and friends wear their Mulligan's Manor aprons as they plan their big benefit dinner.

Employee leads charge to save group home

Katharine “Kat” Hale, a customer sales representative in our Phoenix office, has a history of helping others. Recently, she led an effort to save a Tempe, Arizona-based organization that is itself dedicated to helping the community.
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Finding a cause

A Progressive employee since 2009 (and a Progressive independent agent before that), Kat’s an active member of Progressive’s GLBT-focused employee resource group (ERG).

“Progressive has such a rich, inclusive culture, and this inspired me to join an Employee Resource Group. I chose our GLBT group because I’m very active in helping my church achieve reconciliation, which basically means being accepting of other lifestyles,” Kat says.

Not long after joining the GLBT ERG, Kat found out about Mulligan’s Manor. It’s a group home devoted to treating GLBTQ adolescents—who often face turmoil in their family lives—with love and respect. Phoenix GLBT ERG members had been supporting Mulligan’s Manor by donating clothing, school supplies, toys and other items throughout the year.

Kat learned from the founder of Mulligan’s Manor that the home was in trouble: To continue housing eight boys, the home had to meet city building codes. That meant spending $25,000—money it didn’t have—to install a sprinkler system.

Making good things happen

Kat was determined to keep Mulligan’s Manor open. She got together with some friends at their favorite diner in Scottsdale, The Breakfast Joynt, to talk about it. At the diner owner’s suggestion, they decided to hold an old-fashioned spaghetti dinner—right in the diner.

The $10-per-plate, all-you-can-eat dinner—with $6 per plate going directly to Mulligan’s Manor—raised close to $10,000, including a matching contribution through the Progressive Insurance Foundation. This was more than enough to make a down payment for the sprinkler system.

The dinner produced another positive connection: a Lowe’s Home Improvement West Coast manager brought a business partner who works on the company’s “Hero Projects” to the fundraiser. Before the night was over, Mulligan’s Manor had funding from Lowe’s for a complete redesign of the home’s kitchen and floors.

“When like-minded people put their heads together, good things can happen,” Kat says.

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Real Estate
Real Estate’s Facilities team used their talents to renovate outside structures at Hiram Farm in Ohio, a working farm for autistic adults.

Real Estate marries community service with teambuilding

Our buildings and logo are ubiquitous in the cities we call home. But, that presence means so much more when we’re part of the community and helping others.
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Perhaps no team at Progressive understands this more than our Real Estate group.

The group includes HVAC technicians, carpenters, electricians, engineers, landscapers, interior designers, construction managers and more.

They keep our hundreds of owned and leased buildings running smoothly—a considerable task.

But, they also have a solid track record of community involvement, lending their professional skills to those in need.

Teambuilding through project work

Ron Marotto, Real Estate business leader, sees the charitable and community work his organization does as a valuable way to cultivate leadership skills and build team camaraderie. Many companies hire flashy presenters and spend time away from the office to do teambuilding. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” he says. “I just see community service as a more powerful form of training.”

In 2014 alone, the Real Estate group drew on its pool of skilled employees to donate 1,319 volunteer hours to 21 community projects. For example:

With the help of Rebuilding Together, a non-profit group that specializes in rehabilitating homes in inner city neighborhoods, 53 Real Estate employees spent a day swarming a house in serious need of repair.

Team members helped two Cleveland-area art organizations – drafting plans for a redesigned studio space for the Art Therapy Studio and providing a building assessment and design recommendations for Waterloo Arts, an inner city creative hub that strives to enrich the neighborhood culturally and economically by creating a stimulating art environment.

Twelve members helped out Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo by cleaning and setting up tables for a zoo Valentine’s Day fundraiser.

In partnership with civic leaders in Mayfield Village, Ohio, the group built a pavilion near the community’s soccer fields, just in time for summer gatherings. To finish things off, 39 employees spread mulch and planted 21 trees and 44 shrubs around the newly constructed pavilion.

Twenty-four employees did repairs and updates to several outside structures at a working farm for autistic adults in Hiram, Ohio.

In September, Real Estate employees replaced a garage roof for an elderly man, and repaired indentations in an older couple’s backyard—the couple had been cited by the city because the indentations held standing water. The elderly man and couple were selected through the Community Partnership on Aging organization.

“We like to participate in a variety of opportunities each year, donating our time, resources and expertise to serve community needs and improve the quality of life for residents in the area,” says Ron. “The service projects we do benefit the community, but they benefit us as individuals as well.”

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Community Involvement

In 2014, Progressive employees in at least 39 states gave back to their communities in a multitude of ways. Here's a recap of our community outreach efforts.


Results of 2014 Giving Campaign

Employee contributions (employee + company match*) = $6,832,952
Employees who contributed = 3,419
Charitable organizations supported = 2,766

*Company match provided through The Progressive Insurance Foundation.

Local event State Map

In 2014, Progressive employees participated in 394 local events across the country. Number of events held by state is shown below.

In 2014, many employees were actively involved in representing Progressive in various community organizations. Examples of involvement include:

ARIZONA

A group of Phoenix, AZ employees rallied around a co-worker’s passion to support Mulligan's Manor, a home for GLBTQ youth that are no longer wanted in their families’ homes because of their preference. With fundraisers raising almost $10,000 and being selected as a Lowe's Hero Project, this home received some much needed remodeling and fixing up.

CALIFORNIA

The Walnut Creek, CA claims office collected and bought a number of children's bicycles to donate to the Bikes for Tykes organization ran through the Contra Costa Firefighters. Enough was collected to purchase six bikes. Overall this organization donated 400 bikes to kids in the area.

A group of California employees volunteered to paint and restore the USS Midway, a treasured San Diego landmark. Employees did a card campaign to create and send customized cards to children dealing with life-threatening illnesses as part of the Send Kids The World effort.

COLORADO

Our Colorado Springs IT group did the Adopt-A-Family charitable activity for the winter holidays.

Employees held two food drive campaigns in Colorado Springs: Tri Lakes Cares (177 lbs. of food collected) and Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado (50 lbs. of food collected).

More than 30 employees volunteered 66 hours at the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado.

Sponsored a Progressive team (49 employees) in the Colorado Springs Walk to End Alzheimer's and raised $1,422 for the local chapter.

Colorado Springs employees collected 169 hoodies and jackets for Marion House homeless as part of Hoodies from the Heart.

As part of the Challenger League, 82 employees and family members volunteered 82 hours to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 4-18, or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school, to enjoy the game of baseball.

Seven employees volunteered 28 hours and donated 160 gifts to Laurel Manor Senior Assisted Living.

Employees donated 120 toys for children of families in need as part of Toys for Tots. Six large boxes of food, treats, blankets, towels and toys were given to The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for their “animal care wish list.”

Progressive sponsored or participated in the Pride Fest Parade and St. Patrick’s Day 5k and parade in Colorado Springs, Colo.

NEVADA

For the second year in a row, the Henderson, NV office collected gifts and donations for the local charity "The Shade Tree". This great organization provides shelter to women, children and their pets who are homeless and victims of domestic abuse. The office filled an entire car with gifts and donations, and made a monetary contribution of $400.

NEW JERSEY

A New Jersey House Counsel office started an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that soon encompassed managing attorneys and the Chief Legal Officer. They donated $235 to the ALS Foundation, helping to raise awareness and comradery within their organization.

NEW MEXICO

The New Mexico Claims office participated in a local “Adopt a Family” program this year. With everyone’s support they were able to help out a single mom with four kids with gifts for all, plus household items such as new blankets, towels, multiple kitchen utensils/items and cleaning supplies.

NEW YORK

Buffalo and Albany, New York offices again held pet adoption events helping to place more than a dozen dogs and cats into loving homes. Several New York offices also came together and held pet supply drives for the non-profit Bobbi and the Strays in Freeport, NY.

In combination with other New England states, New York celebrated Military Appreciation month by adopting a military unit, sending care packages overseas to a deployed employee, and holding a food drive to benefit The Liberty House, an organization that assists veterans.

OHIO

To raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 22 riders represented Progressive in the MS Pedal to the Point bike ride, raising close to $12,000 for the organization – some of which was eligible for a match through The Progressive Insurance Foundation.

Employees in Claims’ Central Support Services raised $4,200 to donate to two soldiers from Fort Knox, Kentucky. A small team drove the 400 miles to deliver the money personally to the soldiers and their families.

About 100 Information Technology employees spent an entire day volunteering for a variety of charities. Some volunteers helped out at a local animal shelter. Others processed school supply donation for Kids in Need, an organization for local schools with minimal funds for supplies. Fifteen employees sorted and organized gently used clothing for a local organization in a converted bus garage that now serves as a free consignment store for those in need.

An annual winter holiday tradition for our Information Technology Progressive family, we adopted 55 families from the Cleveland area. For the 2014 holiday season, we helped 200 people (over half were children) and collected more than $38,000 to make the holidays brighter in our local communities.

OREGON

A group of Portland claims employees volunteered to make meals on a rotating basis for a local Ronald McDonald House.

TEXAS

A group of 15 volunteers in Austin helped out at Austin Pets Alive! (APA), a no-kill shelter. They cleaned and disinfected water and toys, cared for animals and more.

Other community service activities included helping a local non-profit organization install an organic food garden; collecting, delivering and sorting food for the Capital Area Food Bank; supporting a local Ronald McDonald House and Coats for Kids drive; and participating in a Step Out for Diabetes walk.

WASHINGTON

Washington's Employee Resource Groups worked collaboratively to help support two amazing organizations in December: Toys for Tots and St. Vincent DePaul of Seattle. Claims branches and Service Centers across the state collected 200+ toys and over 250 pounds of food to support both organizations.