While the more than 4,000 employees and leaders of Charlotte, N.C.-based wholesale broker AmWINS are involved in various charitable efforts all year long, this year their efforts to support one nonprofit that targets breast cancer research received special attention from a novice marathoner.
Supporting organizations focused on breast cancer is not new for AmWINS employees. Several groups of employees have participated in breast cancer walks for years because of personal relationships with people affected by the disease. But this year Audrey (Rogers) Johnston and her colleagues felt they could do more.
“We wanted to make a bigger impact, so we researched organizations and we found The Pink Agenda,” said Johnston, vice president, client relationship manager for AmWINS in the Atlanta office.
The Pink Agenda is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to raising money for breast cancer research and care, as well as awareness of the disease among young professionals. The Pink Agenda finds, funds, and partners with people and programs that are improving the lives of those suffering from breast cancer and conducting the groundbreaking research.
There wasn’t a local chapter of The Pink Agenda in Atlanta until a few years ago when Johnston and her colleagues decided to create one. They reached out to everyone they knew: competitors, carriers, retailers. “Everyone took to it with open arms,” she said.
Through its annual gala and other events hosted in Atlanta by a committee of young professionals, The Pink Agenda’s Atlanta Chapter has raised nearly $600,000 for breast cancer research since its inaugural event in 2013.
“AmWINS has been our title sponsor from the beginning,” she said. “We raised $124,000 in 2018 – our largest event ever for breast cancer research.”
AmWINS President James Drinkwater has been one of the biggest supporters.
“He was always a huge supporter in honor of his wife’s battle with breast cancer and his daughter, Katie, who now serves on The Pink Agenda’s Leadership Council,” Johnston said. But this year, Drinkwater’s commitment to raising funds involved a much more personal challenge.
Running a marathon has long been on Drinkwater’s ‘bucket list.” Last year, motivated by his desire to raise funds for The Pink Agenda in honor of his wife, he decided to take the plunge and trained extensively to run in the TCS New York City Marathon.
Drinkwater helped raise $64,500, the third highest amount ever raised for a charity via the New York City Marathon. Two other AmWINS employees ran the marathon as well in support of the organization: Peggy Marron raised $4,100 and Robert Balogh raised $3,725.
Drinkwater said that the training and race were difficult (he’s not a regular marathon runner) but also incredibly rewarding. “It’s such a great charity and very personal to me and my family,” Drinkwater said. He’s grateful to those who supported his journey: colleagues, clients, carrier partners and even his competitors. But mostly, he applauds the good work of Johnston and her colleagues who have been the driving force behind the Atlanta chapter.
Drinkwater says the insurance industry provides a great deal of charitable support to many good causes. “We want to give back to our communities,” he said. “It’s really important.”
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