Argo Surety’s Approach to Charitable Giving During Pandemic

Surety Team Challenge Benefits Nonprofits of Participants’ Choosing

See how Argo Surety team members took a health-conscious approach to giving back during the pandemic.

When “Giving Tuesday” was moved from November to May in order to benefit some of the countless nonprofits supporting families currently in need, Argo Surety President Josh Betz saw an opportunity to mobilize his team.

“Giving back to our communities is a big part of who we are,” Betz says. “And as a leader navigating our new environment, I am constantly trying to find ways to help bring our team together and keep our team active.”

To meet both of these goals at once, Betz initiated a team challenge based on the half Ironman event. Between personal donations and Argo matched funds, the Argo Surety team raised approximately $15,000 for nonprofits of their choosing.

How the half Ironman team challenge worked

To participate in the challenge, employees could choose to complete at least one of three activities over the course of five days and time themselves. Completing all three activities is the equivalent of a half Ironman competition:

Participants tracked their progress in a spreadsheet they kept in a Microsoft Teams channel over the five-day period. Then, participants’ times from each category were randomly selected to form teams of three people each.

Each of the 29 employees who completed a segment and donated to their nonprofit received a T-shirt, a water bottle and a day of paid time off. The three teams with the lowest cumulative times received an additional donation to their chosen nonprofits from Josh Betz.

Getting it done in different ways

“I was so impressed by our team, who all worked hard to carve out time,” says Betz. “Some included their kids and other family members on bike rides, others completed the walk while pushing a stroller, and a few of us even completed all three segments.”

Having been working from home the past few months, employees like Bobby Bang, director, strategic operations were glad for the motivation to get up and move around.

“I’m a huge advocate of physical fitness, giving and competition,” Bang says. “This challenge covered all the bases for me. It was fun, collaborative and it prevented me from binge-watching too much Netflix due to COVID!”

Regina Gaebel, assistant VP of surety claims, admits to using additional incentives to get her family involved.

“We bribed my 10-year-old, Christopher, with ice cream on the first day,” says Gaebel. “By day two, he wanted to complete the whole 56 miles with me.”

“It was very meaningful to accomplish this feat together as a ‘firefighter family,’ supporting the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty through our donation to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation,” Gaebel continues.

Some employees, like Neal Lee, director, field underwriting, had loved ones in mind as they completed their challenge and chose where their donations went.

“I did the challenge in memory of my sister,” Lee says, “and to raise money for To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization that offers hope to people struggling with addiction, depression, self-harm and suicide.”

By helping so many causes, the Argo Surety team showed a way to come together despite being forced apart – by focusing on others and making a difference in their lives.

“Anytime we are engaged in giving back, it shifts our focus off of ourselves and toward others,” says Betz. “Many people are encountering circumstances and challenges we could never find in our daily lives. When you are always looking for opportunities to serve others, it is never too hard to find a way.”

See other ways Argo and its employees give back to their communities. Learn more about Argo Surety.