On their own Featured

7:00pm EDT December 26, 2010

In 2009, 12 of Thomas-Fenner-Woods Agency Inc.’s 22 employees contributed nearly 460 hours of community service and more than $19,000 in donations and in-kind gifts. That’s because community service has always been important to the insurance agency, going back to its beginning in 1932.

Under the leadership of Bob Fenner, the company has maintained its giving spirit, even during the economic downturn, increasing its philanthropic involvement instead of cutting it, as many companies have.

TFW fosters a culture of philanthropy, and as a result, more than half of its employees engage in community service activities on their own time to support United Way, Columbus Cancer Clinic, Special Olympics and LifeCare Alliance as well as many others. Even more impressive, is employees do this without any mandatory involvement requirement. For example, one staff member decided to donate time and money to a charity close to her heart, the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. She was inspired by a niece who suffers from Angelman Syndrome, a neuro-genetic disorder often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or autism and that causes developmental delay, lack of speech, seizures and walking and/or balance problems.

Another way employees have given back is through the Adopt a Dining Center program of LifeCare Alliance. For the past three years, TFW has adopted the Jaycee Arms dining center, which includes setting up for the meal, serving the food and interacting with the patrons. But TFW’s people went beyond just those basic requirements. Each staff member donated money to buy gifts and to collect donations from companies that TFW represents to provide presents for Jaycee residents. These gestures made quite the impact, according to Sandi Taylor, community coordinator at LifeCare Alliance.

“You truly brightened their day,” Taylor said in a note sent to TFW. “I’ve heard nothing but words of admiration and appreciation for your group. Although they enjoyed the gifts, the most frequent comment I’ve heard was the fact that your group sat with them, had lunch with them and talked with them. Your presence was a gift that one cannot put a price on.”

How to reach: Thomas-Fenner-Woods Agency Inc., (614) 481-4300 or www.tfwinsurance.com