Community Engagement and Service

Verisk employees value their roles as good corporate citizens by providing support for communities where we work and live. Whether contributing time, talent, or dollars, we give back in many ways to a variety of civic, charitable, and other organizations. Employees have volunteered as readers, mentors, builders, and painters; collected food, coats, and toys; and worked for family and animal shelters. We’ve donated business suits to needy women entering the workforce; sent care packages to American troops overseas; donated blood; and run, walked, and eaten for charity.

 

Community Service Week across the Globe

In 2015, we sponsored our second annual Verisk Community Service Week—a resounding success across the company and around the world—in places as diverse as Canada, China, Germany, India, Israel, and the United Kingdom as well as virtually all of our locations in the United States. The week provided an outstanding way to encourage teamwork and promote workplace volunteerism and employee engagement. Employees helped in food pantries, homeless shelters, parks, hospitals, schools, and animal shelters.

 

Argus Information and Advisory Services, White Plains, New York

Employees partnered with Habitat for Humanity to renovate two homes in Yonkers, New York.

Habitat home renovation

Wood Mackenzie

What a difference a week makes. Employees in Beijing, Edinburgh, Houston, Singapore, Tokyo, and every other Wood Mackenzie office around the globe filled backpacks for disadvantaged children, volunteered at local food banks and nursing homes, donated blood, and contributed clothing and books to the needy. Several other offices raised much-needed funds for local charities of their choice.

Wood Mackenzie volunteers

 

Verisk Retail, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Employees volunteered at Open Arms, an organization that brings nutrition, comfort, and support to community members and their families living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and ALS. 

Habitat home renovation

 

Verisk Analytics, Jersey City, New Jersey

Employees worked at Jersey City's Liberty State Park, where they met with the park's horticulturist to plant bulbs that will bloom in the spring.

Liberty State Park

 

Xactware Founders Week 2016

Every spring, Xactware dedicates a week to help various local causes. Employees build homes and perform construction projects for Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at local schools, and give of their time in a variety of other ways.

See how Xactware celebrated Founders Week in our video.

 

Xactware teams up with Habitat for Humanity

Xactware employees participated in National Women Build Week for Habitat for Humanity of Utah County. The annual event gives women an opportunity to devote a day to help build homes in Orem for families in need.

View the video to learn more about this project and its purpose:

 

Wood Mackenzie in the Community

Wood Mackenzie’s commitment to our communities includes supporting employee fund-raising and volunteer efforts worldwide. The company helped a variety of employee-driven efforts benefiting organizations in Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other locations. They included London’s Air Ambulance, The Sick Kids Foundation, Association for Persons with Special Needs, the Streetwork homeless crisis center, Children’s Hospice Association, the Sabah Earthquake Fund, and the Movember Foundation for men’s health initiatives.

Wood Mackenzie in the Community

 

AER canoes the Charles

Every year, AER sponsors a team for the 24-mile canoe relay race Run of the Charles, the Charles River Watershed Association’s signature event in Greater Boston. The fund-raising event helps develop sustainable solutions for protecting and restoring the Charles River and its watershed. Donations help to transform the way water resources are managed for the betterment of all communities in Massachusetts and beyond.

 

Charles River
Employees Pawel Mankowski (front) and David Baryudin (back) ride the rapids in their canoe.

 

Personal Volunteerism

Employees also take great pride in volunteering in the communities where they live — as volunteer EMTs and firefighters, government and school officials, hospital volunteers, prison mentors, and scout leaders and athletic coaches. They’ve organized and participated in drives, projects, and events such as clowning in hospital burn units and beauty pageants for cancer survivors.

 

Engineers Without Borders comes to Uganda

Verisk Information Technologies
Nalan (back row, far left) and other volunteers with schoolchildren in Uganda.

One participant tells her story

Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a national nonprofit organization, unites more than 13,000 volunteers from a variety of engineering and nonengineering disciplines to help make the world a better place. EWB has implemented 450 projects in more than 45 developing countries, affecting more than 2 million people worldwide. Projects focus mostly on water, sanitation, and energy challenges as well as information systems, infrastructure design, and agriculture solutions.

The greatest impact of EWB’s work across the globe comes from the transfer of knowledge. AIR Worldwide has many talented engineers and scientists in-house who can provide novel solutions to those life challenges. We host the EWB Boston Chapter – Tanzania team meetings at our head office, and I participate enthusiastically. The Boston chapter has two ongoing water supply projects, one for three villages in Honduras and the other for two villages in Uganda. Chapters typically make a five-year commitment to a community. To ensure quality control and quality assurance, professional engineers support each project.

I first joined EWB as a student member at Georgia Tech. It was a great opportunity to understand global engineering challenges and to improve my leadership, project management, and cross-cultural communication skills — and ultimately to think like a global engineer. Being a water resources engineer, I was so excited about changing the world; even as a student, I got to design and implement solutions for health and infrastructure needs in developing communities.

After graduating from Georgia Tech, I served as the EWB MIT student chapter mentor on a Uganda water supply project. It’s a challenge to be in the field in a developing country, making your design actually work with limited materials. You need to know the local materials and be familiar with the local skill sets. It’s important to engage the community, making sure they’re part of the design and build phases. They also have to be involved in the implementation process so they have ownership and will take charge of systems maintenance and be ready to act if something breaks down.

EWB supports community-driven development programs worldwide, collaborating with local NGO partners. These partnerships are the basis of a long-term relationship to assure the community’s needs are sustainably met. Many organizations out there aim to make a better world, to help communities located in rural parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing areas across the world. In my opinion, key factors behind the success of EWB projects are engaging the local communities and making them stronger by empowering them with the capacity to meet their own needs.

Nalan Senol Cabi
Hydraulic Engineer, Research and Modeling Department
AIR Worldwide

IYQ, Too!

Jellybean the Clown
Rich Schultz before and after his transformation to Jellybean the Clown.

The preparations are long and tedious, and the challenge is daunting. In a matter of minutes, he must transform reality to fantasy, somehow providing a private audience of one or two or three people with temporary respite from their pain, in some cases a diversion from their hopelessness. As he does so, he’ll often find it almost impossible to hold back his own torrent of tears, a very natural and human response to the circumstances.

Rich Schulz, actuarial manager for ISO Insurance Programs and Analytic Services, is an ordinary guy doing an extraordinary job. For nearly 20 years, Rich has lived part of his life as “Jellybean the Clown,” volunteering with the Shriners to entertain seriously ill or injured children. Most of Jellybean’s appearances have been at the pediatric burn center at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston; at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Philadelphia, which specializes in treating spinal cord injuries and orthopedic disorders and diseases; and at Memorial Sloan Kettering – New York, which specializes in treating children with cancer.

Jellybean is an “auguste” clown, the lovable but foolish clown whose customary reward is a pie in the face. He takes on the persona of a four-year-old, proudly sharing that he has mastered his “A,B,D’s.” Jellybean combines child-like banter and comedic acting with an assortment of magic tricks, but, most of all, he tries very hard to establish a genuine rapport with the injured child and siblings that might be present. Jellybean gives the child a sticker with the letters “IYQ,” and once the child reads the letters aloud, Jellybean responds, “IYQ, too!”

Jellybean didn’t come to life overnight. Rich went to clown school to hone his craft and, under the leadership of former Ringling Brothers circus clowns, learned the nuances of clown makeup, costuming, and props.

Rich readily admits to the emotional challenge of meeting kids who’ve been severely disfigured by burns or living the final stages of a young life soon to be cut short by cancer. “It’s very difficult, and Shriner clowns rely on each other for support. I try to remind myself how important it is to the kids and their families to be able to forget their problems, even for a little while. Seeing them smile or hearing them laugh is the reward.”

Rich was inspired by Red Skelton, a Shriner, remembered by millions as a comedian and clown. And Rich quotes Skelton to characterize his own philosophy toward volunteering, “I personally believe we were put here to build and not to destroy.”

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Verisk gives to local charities

Verisk’s Jeans and Sneakers Fridays program raises funds for local charitable organizations, such as New City Kids, American Red Cross (North Jersey Region Home Fire Preparedness Campaign), WomenRising, and St. Lucy’s Emergency Shelter.