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Why ALSF Was a Perfect Match for Northwestern Mutual's Fundraising Efforts

Northwestern Mutual employees

Giving back has always come naturally to Northwestern Mutual. Whether it’s a field representative in Denver running a food drive, or an employee at the home office in Milwaukee fundraising for a local school, Northwestern Mutual has always been a generous community partner.

However, In 2012, Northwestern sought to have a major impact on a national issue that was seriously underfunded. After researching different causes, Northwestern Mutual took up the fight against childhood cancer by supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

“There are way too many kids suffering and dying from cancer, and we knew research was the key to saving lives,” said Audra Brennan, Director of Strategic Philanthropy at Northwestern. “Alex’s stood out as a national organization that was funding cutting edge and underfunded areas of cancer research.”

Northwestern supports Alex’s in several key ways:

  • It funds Alex’s research directly with unrestricted grants.
  • It funds Alex’s Young Investigators Grant Program, which is designed to elevate the visibility of young researchers who are exploring new potential treatments and cures.
  • It funds Alex’s Travel for Care Program, which covers travel and hotel expenses for children and their families to ensure the patient receives the best care.

Northwestern’s 76 field offices across the country play a major role in funding these initiatives.

“Like they did prior to our involvement with Alex’s, our field offices fundraise in all sorts of unique and creative ways, but we’re united in our support for Alex’s,” said Audra.

The difference now, explained Audra, is that the offices have resources and support from Alex’s that guide and enhance their fundraising efforts.

“Whether it is over email, on the phone or attending one of our fundraisers, Alex’s staff is there to listen, teach and cheer us on,” said Audra. “It’s almost like Alex’s team is an extension of our childhood cancer team.”

The partnership effort between Alex’s staff and Northwestern’s field offices has generated impressive fundraising results. Of the $2.5 million Northwestern raised for Alex’s in 2018, almost half was raised from employees in the field.

“Our business is very relationship driven and working with Alex’s shows that we care about the communities where we work,” said Audra. “Even offices in small markets can point to our work with Alex’s as a place where we are having a big impact.”

Northwestern field representatives frequently wear Alex’s lemon pins that spark conversations about the company’s support for the charity.

Soon, representatives will have even more to talk about. Alex’s is working on reports for each market to show the impact they’re having in that community.

“Our offices want to share how the dollars they are raising are having a local impact,” said Audra. “Alex’s does too; they’re always working with us to help us help them.”

Alex’s makes it so easy to see the impact you are having because they are having a big impact and are so willing to work with our employees and offices. We’re always looking for ways to keep our field offices engaged and Alex’s is at the table helping us explore options and to help in any way they can.

Steve Guinan, Managing Partner Northwestern Mutual