COMMUNITY OUTREACH—Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Fosters a Culture of Giving
By Carley McRee
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Fosters a Culture of Giving
Since its inception in 1946, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company (SFBLIC) has a rich history in commitment to its agents, policyholders, communities, and people it serves. The company’s mission is “to be the life insurance company of choice for our Farm Bureau family. Our focus is to provide competitive products and superior customer service while observing the highest ethical standards.” However, SFBLIC is more than just a life insurance company; it truly cares and invests in the communities it serves.
Keeping its employees in mind, SFBLIC created a culture around community outreach and involvement to benefit its employees and the surrounding communities. In 2014, the company established a workplace employee volunteer program where, one day each year, employees go out into their communities to volunteer. Each month, a day is planned where groups of employees visit different community partners to spend a day giving back, while also representing SFBLIC. Because the employees of SFBLIC have many talents, different service opportunities are offered. The employees enjoy these days and a steady increase in participation has seen more than 200 employees involved each year.
“Community service and volunteering is something that I have always enjoyed because it challenges me to keep the mindset of putting others before myself, and I am thankful to work for a company that shares that same outlook,” said Mary Katherine Shipp, Senior PC Training Specialist, Corporate Training and Development.
SFBLI employees assist a local community partner during Workplace Employee Volunteer Day .
Overall wellbeing is at the forefront of many discussions at SFBLIC, and community giving and volunteering are vital components to achieving that goal. Creating a culture around community involvement sets the workforce of SFBLIC apart. With numerous corporate sponsorships, sponsored community events, and countless volunteer opportunities, the company invests in creating a culture that is centered on community involvement. The employees of SFBLIC invest their talents and time each month with different community projects and events. These projects consist of landscaping grounds, organizing donation closets and classrooms, serving as mentors for children in the community and building homes for those without one to call their own. The amount of work, time and effort the employees of SFBLIC pour into the community each month shows just how much they care to make an impact. With each volunteer project, dollar donated, and hour volunteered, the employees of SFBLIC continue to enrich their overall wellbeing along with bettering the community.
“Those who are fortunate are meant to give back to their community when they can. This is best illustrated in Matthew 25:40 which reads, ‘…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ It is a blessing to work for a company that takes this sentiment to heart. In an industry where the bottom line is often the primary concern, SFBLIC remembers what is important and sacrifices employee productivity by encouraging personnel to give back without having to sacrifice their paycheck. The company encourages personal enrichment in addition to professional enrichment. It’s thinking like this that makes SFBLIC one of the premier employers in the state of Mississippi,” said Zach Farmer, Assistant Portfolio Manager, Securities Management.
SFBLI employees present a gift to Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In 1987, SFBLIC saw a need in the community with a local elementary school and made a commitment to become an adopt-a-school partner. Thirty years later, Watkins Elementary School continues to enrich the lives of many employees. There are repeat volunteers who jump at the opportunity to give back to Watkins by reading during Dr. Seuss Day, judging science fairs, participating in mentoring programs and serving the staff at various luncheons to kick-off the school year. In 2016, SFBLIC partnered with a company called Agape North, an apparel company from Memphis, TN to provide uniforms to the children at Watkins Elementary School. In a little under a year, the partnership was able to give a new uniform to each Watkins student. Moments like those at the uniform distribution are when SFBLIC’s team members really see the personal impact they make by volunteering, purchasing products, and donating their money each month.
“The two most gratifying feelings for me are to serve others and put a smile on someone’s face. As a part of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company’s Employee Committee, I get a chance to do both of those things through community involvement. It was truly a heartwarming experience to see the smiles on both the students’ and teachers’ faces at Watkins Elementary School when we helped distribute uniforms to the needy students and served lunch to the teachers. Through Farm Bureau’s hard work, employee initiatives, and the variety of volunteer programs, they discover ways to make serving our community a year-round mission,” said Adrieme Walker, Supervisor, EFT Services.
In 2010, SFBLIC implemented a program called SFBLIC CARES. Employees alone gave $145,860 in 2016 and have given over $800,000 since the inception of the program. Employees have the option to opt into this program during the company’s open enrollment each year. A group of 12 community partners is selected by the employees for the SFBLIC CARES workplace giving campaign every year during a nomination and survey process. The campaign has been very successful by allowing each person the opportunity to give to a cause they truly believe in.
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company has a mission to service its policyholders and agents with the best customer service, while also being a leader in community outreach; it is evident that SFBLIC’s main focus is people. The amount of volunteer hours and dollars given are all because the employees of SFBLIC care deeply for its community and its people.
Carley McRee is a Senior Program Development Specialist and member of the Corporate Communication team at Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company.