Risk and Insurance Management Society: Intelligencer

By Kurland, Orin M. | Risk Management, February 1994 | Go to article overview

Risk and Insurance Management Society: Intelligencer


Kurland, Orin M., Risk Management


The designation of February as "Spencer Month" is the latest endeavor of a foundation that has grown and become better organized in its fundraising efforts. The Spencer Educational Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization whose mission remains one of stimulating and assisting promising students of risk management, insurance and employee benefits in fulfilling their educational goals, by providing scholarship awards to students and educational wants to other group and individuals advancing education in the industry.

So why was February chosen to be "Spencer Month?" Well, it is the month that the Foundation's Education Committee starts reviewing scholarship applications, and the High School Outreach Program has a February deadline for RIMS chapters to submit proposals Moreover, the timing helps promote the raffle and golf tournament, which take place only a couple of months later. But according to the Foundation's chair of the board, Ann M. Zug (Main Line Health), "it's simply good stewardship to remind our friends and supporters of the quality programs and excellence which are the standards for the Spencer Foundation. We want people to contribute and be a part of educating our industry leaders of the future."

In 1979, members of the RIMS Atlanta Chapter chose to honor the late RIMS Former President Robert S. Spencer by establishing an educational scholarship program in his name. Mr. Spencer had been an ardent proponent of student involvement programs in the Atlanta metropolitan area and on a broader national level, as exemplified by his establishment of the RIMS Student Involvement Committee.

In the mid-1980s, the Foundation was brought to RIMS' headquarters to be administered by the Society in New York. According to James C. Newton (Alexander & Alexander), one of the Foundation's founding members and currently a director emeritus, this move was the first key to becoming a "viable national organization." The other key was increased participation of its volunteer board of directors, which now includes representatives from the risk management, service provider and broker communities. Beginning in 1986, the board began to meet more frequently and developed a long-terms strategic plan, which "started moving the Foundation forward in terms of getting a larger base of contributions," he said. Anita Benedetti (RIMS), the Spencer Foundation's board president, also credits this success to the "working board, whose members put a lot of time and effort into the organization." From its inception, the Foundation has increased its awards from three $750 awards to over $100,000 in scholarships and grants each year.

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