Madison nonprofit benefits from partnership with American Family Insurance

Nehemiah works to serve and strengthen the African American community
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 4:30 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:01 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Wisconsin company is supporting nonprofits across the country through grants and partnerships. The American Family Insurance Free to Dream initiative has pledged $105 million over five years in the hopes of creating positive changes and closing racial equity gaps in communities.

American Family Insurance and the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation have awarded about $1.9 million in grants to more than 200 organizations, including non-profit Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development in Madison.

“The first part of what we do is really about serving the African American community and strengthening the family and community through direct service programs,” said Harry Hawkins, Nehemiah’s Executive Vice President.

Nehemiah also has an initiative called Justified Anger, which Hawkins said works through the systemic issues that make the direct service programs necessary.

Hawkins said the partnership with American Family started through relationship building and conversations with senior leaders at the company.

“Really what started was a shared desire to see Madison be what it could be,” Hawkins said. “Also too, I think for American Family, be a leader in this work and show other organizations how partnership can really be done in a practical matter, in a way that honors the community, and honors the mission of the organizations that are supporting them.”

Hawkins said a challenge in taking on hard societal problems, like racism and systemic oppression, is that the work is not always easily definable. However, he said that American Family has offered support in their partnership not only through grant funding, but through a community fellow, an American Family employee who is using their skills to help Nehemiah.

“It’s really American Family’s ability to walk with us and define that process as we go and grow,” Hawkins said. “I think the second part is really just getting the support that we needed to be able to do our work and be flexible.”

Hawkins said he hopes American Family is also benefitting from what Nehemiah brings to their partnership, like cross cultural leadership development training.

According to American Family, the company and Insurance Dreams Foundation have donated nearly $14.5 million dollars to more than 1,000 community organizations since 2016.

To learn more about Nehehmiah, click here:

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