Foresters Financial is an international company that, on the surface, provides life insurance and other investment services to clients.
But, a little deeper down, Foresters is unlike any other company in the world. Clients are not customers. They are members. And they have say in where the company money goes, especially when it comes to community involvement.
A number of Foresters members stopped by Community West Foundation’s offices in Westlake last Saturday to pitch in with CWF’s SocksPLUS program.
The Foresters came from as far away as Euclid, Cleveland and even Marblehead wanted to make a difference in helping those in need. They packed 49 survival bags for both men and women who are finding their way through life without a place to call their own.
“Socks are one the most asked-for items that are wanted by the homeless,” said Linda Spencer, VP, CWF as she welcomed the Foresters. As they then packed bags that included tarps, 5- pairs of socks, wet wipes, dental hygiene items, razors and even flashlights, the Foresters shared their company’s story.
“It is for programs like this that we joined Foresters – not only for the insurance but because they have family activities, too,” said Kathy Thomas of Cleveland, who has been a Forester for at least 40 years. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have anything either. My dad worked, but it was just enough to pay the bills. There was never anything for anything extra. This is my way of paying it forward. That is why we joined Foresters.”
Kathy spearheaded the SocksPLUS initiative when she learned about Community West Foundation’s philanthropic work on a billboard and heard about the Foundation on the radio. Kathy also volunteered at the Bay Village-based Village Project, another organization funded by Community West Foundation, which prepares and delivers meals to cancer patients and their families. She helped Nicki Hazeldine through the process of getting a grant for the Village Project.
Bill Lewin of Euclid, a Foresters member for 30 years, has participated in hundreds of Foresters programs, both philanthropic and social including ball games, super hero days and more. “The nice thing about Foresters is you get to know everyone as people. Plus, if you are a Forester, you can find an event like this that they will fund through their grant program.”
“At Foresters Financial™ we help everyday families achieve their long-term financial goals,” says the company. “Through our heritage as a fraternal benefit society, we have a global network of members that is more than one million strong. To become a Foresters member, you can apply as part of the purchase of a life insurance product underwritten by The Independent Order of Foresters, which is a fraternal benefit society. Members enjoy unique member benefits including competitive academic scholarships, financial counseling and discounted legal services as well as opportunities to give back through volunteering opportunities.
In 2015 alone, Foresters invested more than $21.3 million in member benefits including $2 million in competitive scholarships for students in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. They also provided almost $10.6 million towards community initiatives such as playground builds, beach cleanups, care packages and family fun days where members can spend quality time with their families at no cost.
To learn more, please visit www.foresters.com.
“We welcome groups like Foresters as they join the Community West Foundation’s SocksPLUS mission to help the homeless,” said Linda Spencer. “The seasons change, but the need never goes away. We encourage anyone who wants to make a difference to get involved. From businesses to churches to schools support for this program has grown to real movement.” #SocksPLUS or www.CommunityWestFoundation.org.