We are committed to making a positive impact in the communities in which we live and work.

Girl in front of her laptop taking part in a remote class. The girl has two pigtails and a rainbow-striped shirt. She holds a pencil and looks at the teacher, who smiles back at her from the computer screen.

Vibrant communities provide value to all their constituencies: Individuals, families, businesses and institutions have more opportunities to grow and thrive. We believe it is important to support organizations that contribute to making each area a place where current and future employees want to live and work.

Horace Mann’s headquarters location is in Springfield, Ill., where we are among the area’s largest private employers. Other geographic markets with established locations include Dallas; Madison, Wisc.; and Cherry Hill, N.J. In 2023, the Horace Mann Educators Foundation directed $185,000 to charitable organizations that serve our communities.

Given the size of our Springfield workforce relative to population, we are especially invested in the long-term success of the community. We are one of the largest annual supporters of the United Way of Central Illinois. Our contribution supports basic and educational needs in the community, such as targeted educational programs addressing kindergarten readiness, on-time achievement and graduating with a plan.

Supporting student needs

Educators understand that students can find it difficult to focus on learning when they are worried about basic needs or have no access to school supplies. With 2023 support from the Foundation:

  • Springfield Public Schools will add Care Closets in all 31 of its schools to ensure the basic needs of students are met. With a poverty rate of 56% and 1% of students homeless, it is difficult for Springfield students to concentrate on learning when they do not have food, water, shelter, clothing or a place to sleep. The district will stock the Care Closets with hair products, socks, shoes, jackets, clothing, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and food for students and their families to access as needed.

  • Madison Public Schools Foundation continues to provide a Teacher Support Network to its educators to make sure students have the supplies they need to succeed in the classroom. The portal provides educators from each school a need-based budget, access to an online shopping portal and fast delivery of high-quality supplies direct to schools from a local vendor.

Providing additional resources

Educators recognize the value of programs that provide support outside of the classroom with skills development. With 2023 support from the Foundation:

  • The United Way of Central Illinois is increasing its outreach for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, an early childhood literacy program that sends an age-appropriate book every month to children enrolled in the program. The program encourages reading to children birth to five which gives them a stronger learning foundation when they enter school.

  • Carrolton Farmers Independent School District is continuing its credit recovery program, which began following the pandemic. With the addition of two credit recovery coaches, the district can provide support to a larger number of at-risk students. This support includes helping students problem-solve, pace themselves, connect with tutors and stay focused on the goal of graduation.

  • Mentoring programs, such as Mentor 2.0, at Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations in Cherry Hill, Madison, Dallas and Springfield can expand their services. Mentor 2.0 pairs mentors in the community with high school students to help the students prepare for their next steps after high school. The program promotes relationship building, goal setting and encourages students to develop aspirations for college or a post-secondary career path.

Addressing child hunger

Educators have long identified hunger as a major obstacle to students’ physical and mental development. Over the past three years, the Horace Mann Educators Foundation has:

  • Contributed to food pantry programs – many hosted at schools – through the North Texas Food Bank, the Food Bank of South Jersey and the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.

  • Funded the Central Illinois Foodbank’s “Healthy Foods Distribution” program for Harvard Park Elementary School families. The program’s goal is to provide stability to families and improve children’s knowledge of healthy eating. During spring 2023, the program distributed 8,574 pounds of eggs, milk and yogurt, 3,238 pounds of shelf-stable foods such as peanut butter, noodles, apple sauce and cereal, and 2,550 pounds of fresh produce such as apples and watermelons to an average of 125 families per week. In total, 14,362 pounds of food, nearly 12,000 meals, were distributed to 1,000 families.