State Farm’s annual Neighborhood Assist program is a Facebook app that crowdsources the insurance company’s corporate philanthropy. Through individual votes for neighborhoods across North America, State Farm’s social community helps determine which 40 areas receive a $25,000 neighborhood-improvement grant.
After accepting over 3,000 online submissions, the State Farm Youth Advisory Board narrows the pool to 200 finalists, then opens up the voting process to determine which causes get grants.
We’re excited to feature State Farm’s 2014 program via our interview with Kellie Clapper, State Farm Enterprise Philanthropy AVP.
AM: What’s different about this year’s Neighborhood Assist?
KC: We are looking forward to another successful year of Neighborhood Assist. To kick off the program this year, we created short videos, profiling some of last year’s inspirational winners. One shows Kelsy Laird, a volunteer who helped disabled kids experience waterskiing for the first time. Another shows Matt LaLonde who brought his community together with home improvement and gardening tools at no cost. These videos showcased just some of the many great organizations and thousands of worthy people State Farm has touched through Neighborhood Assist. We hope they inspire other organizations to submit their causes as well.
AM: Why is it important for State Farm to contribute to neighborhood revitalization projects?
KC: We see giving back to our communities as part of our overall mission. By helping build safer, stronger, better educated communities, we can create viable neighborhoods that our customers and associates want to live in and build stronger markets for our business.
AM: How is the Youth Advisory Board guiding this process?
KC: Youth play a vital role in implementing change in their communities so we believe they need to be the driving force behind this program. The State Farm Youth Advisory Board members represent what’s good about today’s youth – energy, enthusiasm and an unflinching passion for making a difference in the communities where we all live and work. They are tasked with reviewing each submitted Neighborhood Assist cause and determining the top 200 submissions, which will be voted on by Facebook fans. They review the need the cause addresses, how the money would be used, the lasting impact the cause has on the community and how the projects define and measure success. Their hard work and decisions have positively impacted the lives of 13.9 million people over the last six years.
AM: What’s the #1 lesson companies can learn from this innovative program?
KC: Through Neighborhood Assist we have learned the importance of connecting with local communities, causes and people across the country. Being able to share the Neighborhood Assist grants with 40 causes each year has given State Farm the ability to help thousands of people with different needs in different cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Question for discussion: How does your company invest in its community?
Images courtesy of State Farm - Images are from 2013 Neighborhood Assist winners