Every Dollar Counts: Insurance Company Grants

Most of the grant forums that I read are often focused on federal grant opportunities. While there is no doubt that the federal programs have provided a tremendous amount of funding for public safety agencies, there are other, less known grant programs and foundations. Many are sponsored or administered by insurance companies — and why not?

Their bottom line is affected by the effectiveness of our agencies ability to respond to the risks that they insure against. While a majority of the programs that follow do not provide funding for equipment, they do offer funding for public education and community outreach programs. Another caveat is that the grant programs funded by insurance companies are often intended to support the area in which the companies operate.

All of these programs are very competitive and a fair amount of preparation is required. But the reward can be worth the effort and as many of us can appreciate, every dollar counts.

What follows is a brief review of the various grant programs that I have found while conducting a simple Internet search for insurance companies and then viewing each company's web site.

Allstate Foundation
The Allstate Foundation supports national and local programs that fit within three focus areas. Proposals for program support must address needs within one of the three focus areas to be considered for funding. One of the focus areas is entitled “Safe and vital communities” and of the programs identified under this focus area is catastrophe response. The Allstate Foundation makes grants to nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and proposals can be submitted throughout the year.

State Farm Insurance Grant Program
The State Farm Insurance Grant Program focuses on three areas: Safe Neighbors, Strong Neighborhoods, and Education Excellence. In addition, there's limited funding available to meet community-based needs. Grant requests for local initiatives are considered by State Farm field offices. Two programs identified under the Safe Neighbors initiative include shielding homes from fires, criminals, and natural disasters and supporting disaster preparedness programs and recovery services. State Farm makes charitable contributions to nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, educational institutions, and governmental entities.

The Hartford Insurance Company
To be eligible for a grant from The Hartford, the organization must serve a community in which the company has a major employee presence. Grants may be provided to organizations that provide services within the following categories: organizations that make communities better places to live, work and play and organizations that provide disaster relief following natural or manmade catastrophe. Requests for funding are reviewed on a monthly basis.

U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company Operation Ranger Program
Another program that provides support to public safety agencies that also warrants mention is the Operation Ranger program sponsored by the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company. The Operation program provides rugged, all-terrain vehicles to public safety agencies. To date, it has provided 385 vehicles to organizations across the country. The vehicles are awarded through a competitive application process. Pending continued program funding, the next application period will open in October this year.

Fireman's Fund Insurance Company – Heritage in Action program
Fireman's Fund awards grants to fire departments of all sizes across the country. The program focuses on providing funds for needed equipment, firefighter training, and community education programs. Many agents who offer the company's products can direct grants to fire departments in the communities where they do business. Grants start at $5,000.

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