Bearingstar Charitable Fund — A Year In Review 2020
In a year like no other, we are incredibly proud of the impact the Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund (BICF) has made for the many people and communities that we serve in 2020. Over the course of the year, BICF has made charitable donations to over 65 amazing nonprofit organizations throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. This support is achieved through the Community Gift Program of the Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund; a division of the Arbella Insurance Charitable Foundation, Inc. Donations made by the BICF are by invitation only.
“While the challenges of 2020 could not have been predicted, the Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund quickly responded to the needs of our communities. There has never been a time when our donations had such an immediate impact. The Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund supported our communities during this crisis and their hour of need. We are committed to our community involvement and will stand together during this pandemic ” — Lynn Bigwood Walker, coordinator of the BICF in Massachusetts.
Read more about some of the phenomenal organizations the BICF had the opportunity to support in 2020. Thank you to our Bearingstar employees for volunteering and supporting such great causes, even during the pandemic!
Adam’s House is a safe, healing place for families as they go through their 8-week grief journey. Here, children and their families will gather to draw support from their peers and gain new strategies for dealing with their loss. The Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund was proud to donate to this amazing foundation.
ALS Association — Walk to Defeat ALS
The BICF was a proud sponsor of the Walk to Defeat ALS in Westport, CT. Our Bearingstar Team of 25 employees walked virtually within our own communities and raised funds for this amazing cause.
The Amazing Grace Organization (AGO) provides those battling cancer with personalized care packages and experiences uniquely designed to offer entertainment and comfort throughout the duration of their treatment. Its focus is on maximizing a patient’s quality of life by creating positive and uplifting moments that encourage hope and strength.
American Cancer Society — Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
Bearingstar team members participated virtually in the ACS Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk held in Litchfield, CT. We were honored to be a sponsor and proud to help raise money for this inspiring organization. The ACS walk was created to unite as a community to honor breast cancer survivors, and raise awareness about steps we can take to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer.
The Bearingstar Charitable Fund was proud to support Amy’s Angels. They are a grass roots, 501(c)(3) organization that provides comprehensive short and long term assistance to individuals and their families dealing with the debilitating effects of serious illness or injury. Our angels deliver a host of services through volunteerism, social fundraising events and charitable donations. We help people focus on their recuperation rather than their financial struggles, so they can get back on their feet – back to living a healthy and productive life.
Angelman Syndrome Walk
Angelman syndrome (AS) is a rare neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in one in 15,000 live births or 500,000 people worldwide. The annual walk helps to raise money and awareness to help with the research of this rarer neurological disorder. This year’s walk was done virtually.
Avon Social Services
The Avon Social Services Department is responsible for the administration and direct provision of the Town’s social and human service activities. Bearingstar Charitable Fund was proud to give back to this community organization this past year. The BCF donation will help Veteran support programs, fuel, food and clothing assistance programs.
The BICF was proud to raise money for BARC – CT. BARC-CT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit animal advocacy and rescue organization that exists to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome unwanted dogs from within our community and throughout Connecticut
Beth El Center
As part of our COVID-19 relief fund, we were able to donate to Beth El Center in CT. The Beth-El Center’s mission is to extend dignity and respect to all individuals and families while connecting them to housing, food, and services within their communities.
We were so happy to be able to support Birthday Wishes at their Annual CakeWalk held in May at Lasell College in Newton. Birthday Wishes’ mission is to ensure that children impacted by homelessness in MA, RI, NH, and Long Island are able to celebrate their birthdays. Every step taken as well as every dollar raised by walkers goes towards this goal!
Cancer House of Hope
Bearingstar Consultant Joe Tavella had the pleasure to present a donation to Cancer House of Hope from the BICF. We were a proud sponsor of their Light the Night for Hope event in Storrowton Village in West Springfield. The organization is committed to providing free access to services and therapies that bring care, comfort, strength, and most importantly, hope.
Canton CT Social Services
Canton CT Social Services serves a wide range of their community, specifically adults aged 60 years and older, adults with disabilities, families, and individuals 18 years and older needing financial and other kinds of assistance. Each person’s situation is assessed and assistance is coordinated to best meet the specific needs of the individual or family. With so many displaced by the pandemic, we were happy to give back to this organization and community.
Since 2010 Catie’s Closet has helped reduce absenteeism, urged kids back into their schools and off the streets, and increased graduation rates in the Greater Boston community. The Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund was proud to donate to their Fill Up The Bus Campaign this past Fall.
Christmas Wish Connecticut
The BICF was proud to support Christmas Wish CT. Christmas Wish CT gives back to the CT community all year long with special emphasis on the holiday season. This year, after packing coats, boots, clothes, and toys the Christmas Wish Elves loaded 200 Santa sacks into vans & trucks and delivered to four different shelters across CT.
Community Child Guidance Clinic
The Community Child Guidance Clinic in CT’s mission is to assist and support children with emotional and behavioral issues by providing a special education day school and a system of child and family-focused mental health services. BICF was proud to support this organization.
Covenant Soup Kitchen
Covenant Soup Kitchen is a nonprofit organization, which means they rely on help from the general public to aid their guests. They realized that people can be impoverished physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and financially. Covenant Soup Kitchen was established to provide food and access to basic services in an environment of care, love, support, and safety to those individuals and families from the greater Windham community.
Connecticut Police Work Dog Association
The BICF had the pleasure of presenting a charitable donation to the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association. The donation helped support the CPWDA with the education, training, and performance of police service dogs across Connecticut.
The American Diabetes Association leads the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fights for those affected by diabetes. Their mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
Down Syndrome Association of CT
Bearingstar team members totaling 14 employees participated in the Virtual Connecticut Buddy Walk to raise money for the incredible Down Syndrome Association of Connecticut – DS ACT. Their mission is to celebrate individuals living with down syndrome.
Ecumenical Food Pantry
The Ecumenical Community Food Pantry of Norwood, Inc. serves over 350 families in the towns of Norwood and Westwood and runs 100% on volunteers. The pantry opened its doors at Grace Episcopal Church on May 6, 1989. Since that time, the pantry has served over 2,500 families.
Enfield Food Pantry
The BICF was proud to make a donation to the Enfield Food Pantry. This wonderful nonprofit is a critical member of the Enfield community. Their priority is serving local families and individuals with the goal of ensuring no Enfield resident in need is without food assistance.
The Bearingstar Charitable Fund was honored to present a BICF donation to Fernando Santos, President of Espirito Santo in Fall River. We are proud to support them in their mission of preserving and maintaining “Old World” Portuguese traditions and feasts, which are largely run by volunteers. Visit them at 311 Alden Street in Fall River.
Established in 2006 by a group of veterinarians and concerned community members, the Foundation for Animal Care and Education (FACE) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial grants for animal owners who are unable to afford the cost of their pet’s emergency or critical care. Each year, many animals are brought to their veterinarian with life-threatening conditions. Sadly, many owners cannot afford the critical care their beloved pets need to survive. The BICF was pleased to help support this organization this year.
Faith Food Pantry
FAITH Food Pantry of Newtown, Inc. was established in 1984 to help our neighbors in need. Our mission is to help provide one week of groceries to Newtown residents in need, once a month. They are a completely volunteer-based nonprofit.
The mission of FISH NWCT is to provide the most basic of human needs – food, shelter, and hope. Since opening its doors in 1972, FISH has evolved into the largest emergency homeless shelter (35 beds) in the NWCT corner, providing families, individuals, and veterans a safe and secure haven as they await permanent supportive housing; as well as serving area residents (over 1500 annually) as a food pantry, distributing food for nearly 114,000 meals.
For the Love of Jack
All too often, financially challenged families, the elderly on limited incomes, and others who’ve suffered misfortune can’t afford to keep their beloved pets fed and cared for without using their rent or food money. For The Love Of Jack, a community group that came together initially to save the life of a badly injured feral cat, has made it its goal to help people in need to keep their pets.
Gnome Surf Therapy is an organization focused on creating a culture shift towards happiness, kindness, love, and acceptance for all kids of all abilities regardless of socio-economic status. They accomplish this by providing life-changing surf therapy, art therapy, yoga, and eco-therapy experiences.
Greater Fall River Recreation
Greater Fall River RE-CREATION is a nonprofit recreation and prevention based organization serving the Greater Fall River community, including the Fall River, Swansea, and Somerset areas. Since their first day in 1971, they have been one of the leading providers of community events and services to people of all walks of life. The organization strives to provide diverse programs and unique opportunities to our community’s residents, focusing on socioeconomically disadvantaged children.
The GrowHope Foundation works in partnership with the Brockton Public Schools to provide support to children and families in need within the school district and to help promote the Brockton Kids Count Advocacy Campaign.
Healing Meals Connecticut is the only nonprofit in Connecticut that experientially teaches about healthy foods from ‘start to finish.’ Volunteers have the opportunity to harvest produce from their organic Healing Garden, prep food, cook, package, and deliver healing meals; the experience is transformational for everyone involved.
Hebron Interfaith is dedicated to serving the needs of those in the Hebron community and surrounding towns through their food pantry, weekend backpack program for school-aged children, weekend food bag for homebound seniors, and the immuno-compromised and various energy assistance programs.
Home for the Brave
Since opening their doors in 2002, ABRI/Homes for the Brave has provided housing, vocational training, and life skills coaching to help individuals leave homelessness behind. To date, the organization has worked with nearly 1,200 men and women, most of whom are Veterans.
In partnership with the American Cancer Society, Hope Lives has raised over 18 million dollars for research and breast health. As a nonprofit, they are focused on bringing awareness to breast cancer and health. They believe together we can all make a difference. Early detection and prevention is the key for breast health.
The Bearingstar Charitable Fund was proud to present a BICF donation to Horizons – Camp Horizons. While all wearing masks and social distancing, Bearingstar Insurance Consultants Tanya Ballestrini and Michelle Lamotte had the honor of presenting the charitable donation to Chris McNaboe and Julie Richards from Horizons. Horizons is a local non-profit that families trust for special needs assistance in Windham.
James Mattioli Scholarship Fund
James Mattioli 5K was founded to remember James Mattioli, who was taken far too soon at Sandy Hook School on December 14th, 2012. BICF is proud to support these scholarships. James’ parents, Cindy and Mark, established a scholarship fund to honor James’ legacy and all event proceeds go towards four annual scholarships given to graduating seniors at Milford’s two public high schools.
Joe Andruzzi Foundation
The Joe Andruzzi Foundation is committed to providing assistance to patients of all ages throughout New England who have fallen on financial hardships as a result of a cancer diagnosis. Joe Andruzzi is a former New England Patriot and 3X Super Bowl Champ who completed cancer treatment in 2007 at Dana Farber. The BICF presented a donation to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation to help support cancer research.
Jordan Porco Foundation
The BICF presented a donation to Matthew R. Riley, Chief Operating Officer of The Jordan Porco Foundation. The Jordan Porco Foundation was founded in 2011 by Ernie and Marisa Porco after they lost their son, Jordan, to suicide when he was a freshman in college. Their mission is to prevent suicide, promote mental health, and create a message of hope for young adults.
At Junior Achievement, they are dedicated to providing a positive, enriching learning experience free of bias that promotes greater economic opportunity and equity. Junior Achievement welcomes K-12 students, volunteers, educators, staff, and other partners and stakeholders, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation or any other legally protected characteristic.
Kids of Summer
The Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund was thrilled to sponsor The Kids of Summer Foundation Backyard Fun Giveaway 2020. With the uncertainty of summer camps, this past year, The Kids of Summer Foundation decided to provide children with recreational items they could take home. At the event, they gave away bikes of all sizes, scooters, helmets, and other sporting equipment so kids in the local Torrington community have a chance to get outside and play!
Law Enforcement Torch Run
Jennifer Lajoie and Madison Carah from our Avon, CT office, had the pleasure of presenting a $25,000 donation to support the Law Enforcement Torch Run. For the 8th consecutive year, Bearingstar is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of the LETR. Learn more about this amazing event on our website: http://bit.ly/38N3z4G
We were pleased to present Carmen Vega and Harvey Vargas of Lazarus House Ministries a BICF donation. The Lazarus House in Lawrence, opened its doors as an emergency homeless shelter in 1983. They have been breaking the cycle of poverty in the Merrimack Valley Region ever since.
Literacy Volunteers for Greater Waterbury
A donation was made to Jessica Reho, Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury. Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury’s trains volunteers and community partners to help improve all lives through literacy by cultivating educational opportunities for adults.
Longmeadow Food Pantry
The Longmeadow Adult Center is currently home to the Longmeadow Food Pantry. The pantry is open to all Longmeadow residents in need. Bearingstar was happy to be able to give to the Longmeadow Food Pantry in their time of need.
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. Bearingstar was proud to participate and donate to the Connecticut chapter’s virtual walk.
Mayor Mike’s Foundation for Kids
Caragh Germano was proud to present a BICF donation to Chris Peters, the Director of Mayor Mike’s Foundation, at their golf tournament. Mayor Mike’s Foundation is dedicated to paying tribute to the late mayor of the Insurance City, Mike Peters, by continuing his commitment to youth programs in the city, particularly for disadvantaged residents of urban neighborhoods.
MDA Muscle Walk
MDA supports individuals and families impacted by neuromuscular disease. MDA Muscle Walk uses every dollar raised to ensure they are able to have the greatest impact in the fight to end muscular dystrophy. BCF is happy to support this dedicated organization again this year.
Open Door Soup Kitchen
Serving the greater Connecticut community, Open Door Soup Kitchen is another amazing nonprofit organization dedicated to providing meals and food donations to those in need. Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund was proud to support this organization this past year.
Our Daily Kitchen
Our Daily Bread Kitchen is a nonprofit food, nutrition, and resource center in Taunton, MA. Their purpose is to provide free nutritious meals in a warm and welcoming atmosphere to those in need. In addition, their Resource Center provides mentoring for basic life skills, empathizing, encouraging, and empowering a population that includes the homeless and disenfranchised.
Our Heroes Fund
Jennifer Lajoie presented a BICF donation to, West Hartford police officer and Our Heros Fund volunteer Rob Riccobon. Our Heroes Fund is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote activities that assist in the health, welfare, and operational capabilities of first responders. They do this by providing educational and training activities that improve professional proficiencies while advancing and honoring the service and sacrifice of these first responders.
Parent Booster USA
Parent Booster USA provides information, training, and help to set up and operate school support organizations (e.g., booster clubs and parent-teacher organizations).
The PJT Memorial Foundation serves as an eternal tribute to the life of Paul Jacob (PJ) Trendowicz. PJ passed away in a tragic swimming accident on August 13th, 2002. By raising and distributing charitable funds, the PJT Memorial Foundation seeks to support those charities whose missions coincide with Paul’s commitment to community service, youth outreach, and local community sports. The BICF was honored to make a donation to honor PJ’s legacy.
Project Playground is a local fundraising initiative with the goal to raise enough money to replace the playgrounds at both Bakerville and New Hartford Elementary Schools in New Hartford, CT. These improvements include new playscapes that are geared towards the appropriate age groups that attend each school as well as ADA-compliant components to meet the needs of our diverse student population.
On behalf of the Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund, Insurance Consultant Jennifer Lajoie presented a check to Cindy Viarengo, a volunteer at Purr Friends, Inc. Purr Friends Inc., is dedicated to rescuing lost, abandoned, neglected, and abused animals in and around the Connecticut community. Its volunteers provide food, shelter, and one-on-one care to each and every animal.
Putting for Patients
Over the past few years, local high schools have organized “Putting 4 Patients” events that bring an 18-hole mini-golf course to the school gymnasium for a day of fun that supports the latest advancements at Dana-Farber. The Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund was proud to support Duxbury, MA in their “Putting 4 Patients” event this past year.
Reading School Coalition
Established in 2006, the Reading School Coalition started as a community initiative focused on improving community collaboration and reducing substance abuse. Since then, the coalition has built capacity within the Reading, MA community to address this complex issue and implemented a number of prevention initiatives, while funded under the Drug-Free Communities grant.
Relay for Life of Greater Windham
Team Bearingstar joined forces with Team Soroptimist & Friends for the Relay for Life of Greater Windham. Due to the 2020 pandemic, this year’s Relay for Life was a Drive Through Luminaria Ceremony to honor and remember loved ones impacted by cancer. We are still fighting cancer and providing HOPE, even in this difficult year.
Save A Suit
Each year, more than 200,000 veterans return home. Eight out of ten of those returning vets don’t have a job lined up. Save A Suit is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides veterans and military spouses/families with the confidence they need to achieve job security through professional attire.
Southbury Women’s Club
The Southbury Women’s Club, a 501 (c) (3) charity, is a local Connecticut service organization made up of women of all ages with different backgrounds, and varied interests, who combine their time, talents, and energy to enrich our community. Again this year the BCF was happy to sponsor the Southbury Women’s Club Back to School Backpack drive. Each child received a quality backpack filled with their school and grade’s required school supplies to ensure they have a successful start to the new school year.
Special Olympics – Over the Edge
Bearingstar Insurance Consultant Jennifer Lajoie bravely participated in Special Olympics Connecticut Over the Edge event. She was thrilled to rappel down the side of the 34-story Sky Tower at Mohegan Sun. This is the 6th year that Bearingstar has participated in this fundraiser.
St. Vincent de Paul Place
Each year through their annual appeal, St. Vincent de Paul Place reaches out to the community for support. This year COVID-19 devastated resources for so many, St. Vincent de Paul Place included. Their community meals program had increased 26% since the COVID-19 shut down began and food pantry sign-ups increased by 31%. The monumental growth in families served by the dedicated volunteers and staff at St. Vincent de Paul Place has occurred despite the challenges associated with pandemic restrictions. As part of our emergency COVID relief donations, we were able to donate to St. Vincent de Paul Place.
St. Anne Preservation Shrine
St. Anne Preservation Shrine (SASPS) is a registered nonprofit corporation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. St. Anne’s Shrine is an iconic national landmark Catholic Church located in the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. Their mission is to restore St. Anne’s in its rightful place.
Town of Coventry, CT (Coventry Youth Services)
Insurance Consultant Dan Storer had the pleasure of presenting a community gift to Coventry Youth Services. As schools across the US pivoted to the new normal, many were in need of support to make remote learning work. The BICF was thrilled to be able to give back to the town of Coventry, CT to support their growing demand for school supplies.