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; Raleigh, N.C.; Madison, Wis.; and Cherry Hill, N.J. In 2021, the Horace Mann Educators Foundation directed $137,000 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.

Addressing the effects of COVID-19 on student social-emotional learning

Schools are a primary setting for children to learn the elements of social-emotional learning (SEL) – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making – by interacting with their teachers and fellow students. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this setting was heavily disrupted.

Educators identified the loss of their students’ social-emotional learning as one of the biggest challenges their classrooms face. In a March 2021 survey, 52% of educators told Horace Mann their students had “significant” loss of social-emotional learning. Another 44% noted “some” loss of social-emotional learning.

The Horace Mann Educators Foundation awarded several grants in 2021 to support educators’ social-emotional learning efforts in our communities:

  • Springfield School District in Illinois purchased a web-based SEL program for use in all of the district’s 27 elementary and middle school classrooms. The interactive, multimedia program will reach roughly 9,300 students with concepts like goal setting, emotion management and problem solving.

  • Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District in Texas hired a part-time employee to provide social-emotional guidance and coaching to help high school students working to gain credits toward on-time high school graduation.

  • Cherry Hill School District in New Jersey launched a community podcast to foster a sense of connectedness and cooperation between students, parents and school staff.

Addressing child hunger

Educators have long identified hunger as a major obstacle to students’ physical and mental development. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the number of families needing food assistance, as working families juggled childcare, remote learning, job insecurity and other interrelated factors.

The Horace Mann Educators Foundation funded several community programs to bolster assistance for families most affected:

  • The Central Illinois Foodbank will expand its weekly “Healthy Foods Distribution” program for Harvard Park Elementary School families to provide a total of 20,000 pounds of fresh produce and 18,000 pounds of milk, eggs and protein throughout the spring semester. In addition to providing a measure of stability to families, the Foodbank aims to improve children’s knowledge of healthy eating.

  • The North Texas Food Bank will provide 30,000 additional meals through its “School Pantry” program. Once a month, elementary and middle school students can receive 20-25 pounds of shelf-stable food and 15 pounds of fresh produce.

  • The Food Bank of South Jersey will provide an additional 1,600 children from economically challenged households with a backpack of food to take home every Friday. The program aims to support student nutrition and health on days when schools are not in session offering free or reduced-cost lunch.