For the 16th year in a row, employees of an insurance firm pooled their funds to help those less fortunate, donating a combined $16,000 to 13 San Diego nonprofit organizations as part of the company’s annual “Charity Fund” employee gift-giving program.
A San Diego-based risk management and insurance brokerage firm, Cavignac & Associates established the Charity Fund program in 2000 when its 45 employees expressed an interest in giving back to the local community in a meaningful way. The Charity Fund allows employees to deduct specific amounts from their paychecks each pay period throughout the year and direct monies to nonprofit and civic organizations they believe are doing the most good. This past year, as in previous years, all the firm’s employees opted to participate.
This year, employee money was directed toward:
• Just in Time, which addresses the needs of foster children transitioning to adulthood;
• Doors of Change (formerly PhotoCharity), providing emergency shelter to homeless teens ages 12-17;
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• American Red Cross, San Diego, providing food and shelter in emergencies, assisting members of our armed forces and their families, and teaching lifesaving skills;
• Veteran’s Village of San Diego, helping local veterans;
• Alpha Project, helping the homeless community by offering affordable housing, residential substance abuse treatment, supportive housing for people with special needs, basic and emergency services, and emergency shelter;
• Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, which provides the gift of reconstructive surgery to disadvantaged infants;
• Senior Community Center, which helps senior citizens by providing nutrition, health, mental health, advocacy, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing;
• Voices for Children, which helps local children passing through the foster-care system by providing them with a court-appointed special advocate who advocates for the rights and wellbeing of these children; and
• Wounded Warrior Freedom Station, helping injured service members.
Moreover, Cavignac employees participated in the SAY San Diego “Backpack Back to School Drive,” which entailed shopping for school supplies and filling 19 backpacks for elementary school and middle/high school students. Each backpack was filled with a specified list of several dozen items – everything from markers, rulers, paper and scissors to calculators, USB memory sticks and protractors. The firm’s employees also purchased needed classroom materials for 19 teachers, including copy paper, disinfectant wipes, Kleenex, paper towels and hand sanitizers.
Once again this year, the company also participated in the SAY San Diego “Adopt A Family” program by sponsoring a family and fulfilling their Christmas gift wish list. Employees volunteered their time to shop for the family, and gave time on their lunch hour to wrap the gifts. The employees then delivered the gifts to SAY San Diego for presentation to the family in need.
Finally, each month four or five employees volunteer their time to serve seniors lunch at the downtown Senior Center. The Charity Fund Committee also donates funds toward the organization’s Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.
“Community philanthropy is important to us,” said McFarland. “It’s deeply rewarding, and makes the spirit of the holidays more rewarding.”