Melissa MacDonnell

Tell us about the mission of the Community Investments team at Liberty Mutual. How does this come to life through the organizations and initiatives Liberty Mutual supports? 

Working alongside our nonprofit partners, Liberty Mutual utilizes our expertise, financial strength and leadership position in the community to improve the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors. We do this in three ways – through Liberty Mutual Foundation; Liberty Torchbearers, our employee engagement initiative; and integrated programs, which leverage the core capabilities of Liberty Mutual to drive philanthropic impact in our communities. 

We want to be there for people in their moments of greatest crisis, advancing security by addressing basic needs such as food and shelter. We also bolster long-term resilience through education and workforce development. Recognizing the disproportionate impact of climate change on marginalized communities, we’ve embarked on a journey to invest in climate resiliency initiatives alongside our partners. It’s an exciting endeavor and we’re eager to collaborate and learn together as we navigate this new frontier. 

Could you elaborate on Liberty Mutual’s climate resiliency efforts and the types of initiatives the company supports? 

Our approach to climate resiliency focuses on three key areas: nature-based solutions, resilient and sustainable infrastructure and skill development to prepare low-income, vulnerable individuals for green jobs. We’ve forged partnerships with more than 30 organizations specializing in these areas. Beyond this, we also recognize that climate impacts everyone, and have made smaller grants to existing partners working in areas such as homelessness and workforce development. These funds are used, for example, to develop climate preparedness plans, address infrastructure issues or develop curricula to educate their communities on climate resiliency. 

We’re also excited to leverage our technical expertise to help low-income communities that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. One great example is our partnership with SBP, a national disaster recovery and resilience organization that funds resilience fellows who help communities access federal funds for disaster preparedness. Many climate-vulnerable communities across the country do not have the resources or capacity to access these funds, and we want to help change that. 

Speaking of community engagement, how does feedback from community partners shape the team’s strategy and decision-making? 

We deeply value the insights shared by our community partners. Last year, we commissioned a grantee perception report to gather candid and substantive feedback from more than 285 partners on topics such as partnership impact, reporting processes and communications. We’re proud that we received high scores across many dimensions of our funding areas and how we interact with our partners. When it comes to our relationships with these organizations, understanding what they truly need and want from a partnership is our top priority. As experts in their fields and communities, they have the best sense of what the needs are and the solutions that make the most sense for them.