Posted by Timothy Adams
President Courtney called our meeting to order with all reciting the four-way test. Heidi McNaughton provided our reflection centered around our Rotary beliefs. The club then sang America the Beautiful. Rich Howard was in charge of the microphone for visiting Rotarian’s and club guests. President Courtney declared the health of the club in good shape at this time.
John Person introduced via a link from Denver, CO, Katy Troyer, Executive Director of KGSA Foundation and a Lansing Rotary Club international grant recipient. KSGA runs a free secondary school for girls in Nairobi, Kenya, which currently educates 150 girls. Our support last year went to provide more beds for girls housed on campus and technology upgrades, desks, and whiteboards for the classrooms. Katy thanked us for our generous support to furthering their schools’ efforts.
Special music was not our normal music program, but rather a presentation by Nicole Szymczak to update us on this year’s festival scheduled for April 5th through the 15th with two short films to be presented as part of the festival. Their website is for those that would like to see this year's schedule or have an interest in volunteering or sponsoring the event.
Chair of the Day, Joe Garcia introduced today’s speaker, Danielle Robinson from Jackson National Life to share her organization's charitable activities and culture or philanthropy. Danielle gave us a brief history of Jackson National. Jackson National’s approach is to give to the communities they live in. Early on corporate giving was broad but lacked strategy and direction. In 2006, Jackson formalized their charitable giving activities and built a strategy with clear objectives.
The first pillar of Jackson’s strategy centers around achieving financial freedom for life for all citizens. The first piece of this is financial crisis management, safe housing Financial and childcare to stabilize. The next step in this education begins with job skills development and ultimately providing wealth building education and tools, such as a home affordability tool and saving for retirement strategies.
Outside of their organization Jackson looks to support charitable organizations entering into a robust and long-term relationships within the community and encouraging and supporting their employees to get involved with these organizations by volunteering, serving on the board of directors as well as financial support. The intent is to multiply the impact of Jackson’s support. One example is their annual support with Ele’s Place 5k run/walk on the Jackson National campus in Okemos, this support includes employees assisting in organizing and running this event. Other local organizations Jackson has supported through the years are the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing and the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
Jackson National encourages employee financial support by offering a matching program of 1 to 1 for most charitable organizations and a 2 to 1 match for Jackson’s top 24 partner organizations. This program added $2 million dollars to these organizations last year. Their most recent initiative is a dollar for volunteering time at these organizations, for example 10 hours of time volunteering Jackson National will give $100 to the organization on behalf of the volunteer up to $500 per year.
Currently Jackson National is in the process of working with Child Family Charities by underwriting the building of a facility to provide shelter and support for homeless teens in our community, which will be known as Jackson House.
After a number of questions, President Courtney adjourned our meeting for the day and promised our speaker a donation would be made in her name to local charitable organizations and projects in our community (sounds like we align well with our speaker’s mission).
Tim Adam's email is: