Ending the Year on a High Note with Odyssey’s Annual Pledge

Charitable contributions and Odyssey Advisor's Annual Pledge

Every individual, family, and organization has their own approach to charitable and holiday giving. Here at Odyssey, we adopted an approach several years back to give each of our team members a budget that they can direct to charitable causes that resonate with them. We give at least 1% of all gross revenues to charitable causes. I don’t get a vote – my only role is to write the actual checks.

I acknowledge that I totally “borrowed” the idea of letting our team select the charitable organizations from a Nicholas Kristoff 2019 New York Times holiday giving column where he noted that they hold a family meeting each year to discuss the recipients. While our method is slightly different, it’s really empowering the people who do the hard work throughout the year and let them decide with whom we should share our good fortune.

The purpose of this post is not to get any attention for our efforts but rather to highlight a way of getting your team involved in the process. Beyond that, and maybe more importantly, we want to shine a light on organizations that are meaningful to our team and perhaps to you as well.

Here were this year’s selections: 

Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association seeks to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. 

“I chose the Alzheimer’s Association because my great-grandfather had Alzheimer’s. It’s a horrible disease that I believe can be cured in the near future with the right funding and awareness.” – Andrew Taggart, Consulting Actuary

Feed My Starving Children

This organization is dedicated to seeing every child whole in body and spirit. FMSC works with food distribution partners that stay with communities for the long haul, empowering them to move from relief to development.

“In the developing world, there are still millions of children who die from preventable causes. It is estimated that half of these preventable deaths are related to hunger and malnutrition. Feed My Starving Children provides fully prepared (just add water) meals to children around the world. Using volunteers to pack the meals, they can deliver meals around the world for an average cost generally less than $0.30 per meal.” – Kurtis Thompson, Consulting Actuary

Fight for the Forgotten

Fight for the Forgotten is dedicated to defending the weak, loving the unloved, and empowering the voiceless around the world and in our own neighborhoods and schools. 

“For many people in the world, the basic needs of food and water are difficult to come by. Fight for the Forgotten seeks to build wells and develop sustainable agriculture for the Pygmies in the Congo to break the poverty, suffering, and slavery they currently endure. The charity is a very small organization that dedicates as much as possible without excessive overhead.” –  Francis Fraine, Actuarial Consultant

Love One International

Love One exists to transform the lives of children and families in Uganda through life-saving medical care, family preservation, and sharing the love of Jesus. 

“When someone needs emergency medical treatment in the U.S., we can pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1, go to the nearest E.R. or even hop on a video call with your doctor. But that isn’t the case all over the world. In remote areas of Uganda, medical treatment isn’t readily available like it is here. When children in these villages become critically ill because of malnourishment or infections like malaria or HIV, their parents are left feeling hopeless. This is where Love One steps in. 

As an ambassador, I’ve gotten to see the work they do and experience the passion their team has. It’s truly inspiring. No child should ever die from treatable conditions.” – Stephanie Irvin, Website Content Manager

No Kid Hungry

No Kid Hungry works to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.

“I chose No Kid Hungry as my organization because I really like their approach to fighting child hunger, especially the way that they provide grants which help schools offer free meals for their students.  They also work with educators and lawmakers in order to generate the funding necessary for schools to offer breakfast so that no kid has to go through the school day hungry.” – Luke Matchett, Actuarial Consultant

“No Kid Hungry is an organization working to end childhood hunger. They do this through a number of methods: including funding school breakfasts and summer meals, working with the legislature to improve existing programs, and teaching people how to shop to make their money go further. 

I chose No Kid Hungry as my organization because I think the work they are doing is so important, especially now when so many are struggling. All the charities we chose are great and there are so many important causes, but it’s good to know that while kids can’t help their situation, they’re still being fed.” – Kirby Prigioni, Marketing Analyst

Save All Dogs Rescue

Save All Dogs Rescue offers a safe haven for unwanted, homeless, and abandoned dogs and cats from kill shelters that are in need of new loving forever homes. 

“Save All Dogs Rescue in Manchester, CT is near and dear to my heart. I started volunteering there last year and have seen first-hand all the wonderful work that is done within their walls. They regularly take trips to kill shelters down south (where unaltered animals are much more common and therefore they have many unwanted/abandoned animals) and transport them back to Connecticut where they get regular vet care, proper nutrition, exercise, socialization, etc. 

Watching the animals blossom and find loving homes is such a heartwarming experience. These dogs and cats offer companionship, love, entertainment, and so much more to the hundreds of families that adopt there, and the need to rescue more animals never stops! 

In the immortal words of Bob Barker, “help control the pet population, have your pet spayed or neutered!” – Samantha Schneider, Actuarial Consultant

Second Chance Animal Shelter

Second Chance operates Community Veterinary Hospitals in North Brookfield, Southbridge, Springfield, and Worcester providing access to the highest-quality veterinary care for all. 

Second Chance is a shelter I’ve worked with personally for a couple of years now. They’re a great animal rescue and adoption charity.” – Caleb White, Actuarial Consultant

World Central Kitchen

WCK is first on the front lines, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises. 

World Central Kitchen has been providing meals to communities after disasters around the globe for many years. At the start of the pandemic, they pivoted and began partnering with restaurants and growers in communities all over the country to not only provide millions of warm, nutritious meals to those in need but to support those affected in some of the hardest hit industries – providing working for chefs and support staff whose business has been decimated by stay-at-home orders, as well as generating revenue to help keep these small businesses afloat. WCK is so much more than just providing meals to areas affected by disasters. They also help boost the local economy and promote sustainable food systems to help communities improve their resilience against future disasters.” – Samantha Schneider

Yes, each year we help these groups in a small way. And, while they all will call and thank me, the real thanks belong to our team and our many clients without whom this wouldn’t be possible.