Canadian Underwriter

Creating a Ripple Effect

February 7, 2014  

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At Cornerstone, we believe that every act we do has a profound and direct impact on the people and communities around us,” says Wendy DaSilva, CEO of Cornerstone Insurance Brokers.

And this brokerage has definitely made a positive impact in the Ontario communities it serves in Woodbridge, Markham and Barrie.

“If there’s one thing we do right, we promote being part of the community and giving back,” says Peter DaSilva, president and COO. “We involve our staff in decisions and encourage them to get out there and do something good.”

Cornerstone CARES (Creating A Ripple Effect Successfully) is the brokerage’s charitable gift-giving program and an integral part of its culture, which promotes getting involved and making a difference in the community.

It’s also fun. “Every time a staff member participates in a charitable initiative, they receive a rubber duck—known as a Quacker award—because a duck in the water creates a ripple,” Wendy explains. “There’s no limit to the number of Quackers earned and whoever has the most ducks at the end of the year wins a $250 donation to the charity of their choice.”

While Cornerstone employees participate in a variety of charitable initiatives throughout the year, such as Movember, CIBC Run for the Cure, Dreams and Wishes Foundation and the United Way, its largest initiative is an annual golf tournament held in August.

In just three years, Cornerstone has raised more than $93,000 through this tournament, with all proceeds distributed back to charitable organizations in the community. The 2013 recipients included Autism Ontario: York Region; Noah Faccechia, a young boy suffering from a rare form of epilepsy; and Cornerstone’s primary charity, the Moving Forward 2015 Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing support to struggling families with a particular emphasis on assisting victims of domestic violence.

Moving Forward’s Next Step program provides interest-free loans of up to $1,000, which can be used for rent, utilities and other costs associated with starting over, so recipients can build independence and credit history. Since 2011, Cornerstone’s donations have funded more than 70 loans.

“Not enough is being done to help people get out of difficult situations and that’s where Moving Forward 2015 comes in,” says Peter. “The passion and dedication of their volunteers has expanded the program to reach even more people in need, which is exactly what we want to support because we’re committed to helping to strengthen our communities and we stand behind organizations that share this vision.”

Wendy and Peter DaSilva received a Corporate Citizen Award in 2012, recognizing Cornerstone’s generosity toward the Moving Forward 2015 Foundation. What made that evening extra special was meeting a loan recipient—a young, single mother who needed a hand up and, thanks to them, was able get back on her feet, go to school and provide for her daughter.

“We’re never told who the recipients are due to privacy, so meeting this young lady was wonderful and it’s had a lasting positive and emotional impact on me,” says Wendy.

“We all have dreams and our business is about protecting peoples’ dreams—their homes, their cars and so on,” Wendy muses. “But we also believe in extending this protection to the members of our community in need, so they too can have dreams to live for and pass on to their children—creating that ripple effect.”

Copyright 2014 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the January 2014 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.