RPS ISG International makes philanthropy a fun priority

SALISBURY — Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a broad term used to describe a company’s efforts to improve society in some way, is typically associated with large companies, not small businesses. But as companies of all sizes are quickly learning, social responsibility is a contemporary business imperative.

One local company, RPS ISG International, has partnered with United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore to fulfill their responsibility to the community. In the last six years the Cambridge-based insurance agency has coordinated 12 public and private special event fundraisers, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the local community. To date, they have raised $121,050 for United Way’s Imagination Library book program.

Brad Sutliffe, benefit advisor with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., the parent company of RPS ISG International, approached United Way in 2012 with a creative special event idea. Mr. Sutliffe was looking for a way to merge an already successful event he developed while in college, into a fundraiser. Thus, Preakness Palooza was launched, with proceeds benefitting United Way’s Imagination Library.

Preakness Palooza now occurs annually on Preakness Saturday and, for the past four years, has taken place at EVO Public House. The event features open bar, food, games, prizes, music, and festive attire, with creative and innovative improvements made by the hosts each year.

Mr. Sutliffe states, “My fraternity brothers and I started Preakness Palooza just for fun at the University of Maryland. It is incredibly gratifying to realize that what started as a party for fun has turned into a yearly event that benefits children across Delmarva.”

RPS ISG International’s Marketing Manager, Dean Goodwin recognized that Corporate Social Responsibility goes hand-in-hand with a smart brand strategy and developed a second annual event to expand his company’s fundraising strategies to include their corporate partners, clients and employees.

In 2017, the company held their 6th Annual Disc Golf Tournament raising a record-breaking $14,315 to benefit United Way’s Imagination Library. Over 40 teams from local businesses competed at Schumaker Park, with employees from RPS ISG International serving as the tournament volunteers.

Mr. Goodwin shared, “Frisbee Golf is the only time that we completely close our office doors during business hours. The sense of pride that everyone at RPS ISG International takes in putting on these events is a testament to the good work of the United Way and our commitment to our community and to the Imagination Library.”

Imagination Library is a literacy program provided directly by United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, with over 115,000 books distributed to 5,000 children in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset and Dorchester counties. In addition to Imagination Library, United Way directly provides 10 programs and funds 70 programs focused on Education, Financial Stability and Health.

United Way’s Executive Director, Kathleen Mommé shares, “Despite the best intentions, Corporate Social Responsibility often becomes an after-thought for businesses who are too busy focused on growth to focus on secondary initiatives like CSR. RPS ISG International is a prime example of a company that is successfully making philanthropy part of its corporate culture.”

Ms. Mommé continues, “We continue to be amazed by the energy and effort RPS ISG International puts into their events each year. Thanks to their creative support, local children are by far more prepared to enter school kindergarten-ready, which is the main objective of this program.”

About United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore:

Now in its 73rd year, United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore continues to be the largest non-governmental source of funding for 80 critical programs in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset and Dorchester counties. United Way helps Eastern Shore residents obtain Educational Success by reducing the achievement gap between low and middle income students, Financial Stability by advancing the economic security of families and individuals in our community, and Good Health by improving access to and awareness of local health and wellness services.

United Way currently provides over $1.4 million to community programs, impacting 84,000 Eastern Shore residents.  For more information, visit www.unitedway4us.org.

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