Part of the whole

Many companies expound a philosophy of giving back to the community, and many employees donate their time, effort and skills to nonprofit organizations.

But only a handful of companies have integrated corporate giving and employee involvement as successfully as Family Heritage Life Insurance Co. of America.

In a little more than a decade, FHL has fully integrated charitable giving into every aspect of its business process. From Day One, Howard Lewis, founder, president and CEO of FHL, has tied business success to outreach.

“Outreach is part of our culture, and they know that it is expected, but our people have responded to what we have promoted,” says Lewis.

This outreach includes a monthly sales incentive program based on sales performance. If a salesperson exceeds a certain goal, a percentage of that excess is donated to a charity designated by the company as the charity of the month. And an employee-run program, For a Healthy Life, encourages employees to take one-half paid day annually to volunteer for the charity of their choice.

It’s all about including employees in the corporate culture of giving back, says Lewis.

“You can get people involved or start writing checks,” he says. “We actively try to get people involved.”

Many organizations benefit from FHL’s generosity, including St. Jude’s Hospital, which has received more than $500,000 in donations from the company. St. Jude’s, breast cancer awareness and other health-related charities receive the bulk of FHL giving because, as a supplemental health insurance company, employees come face-to-face with the devastating effects of chronic and fatal disease every day.

“What we do really matters, and it really helps people. We use our intelligence to help other people,” says Lewis about both the product he sells and his company’s philanthropic work.

But for him, it all goes back to the way he treats his employees, who are given incentives to do well both in the company and in the community.

“Everyone in the company has an equity position,” says Lewis about his agents. “Our motto is: We build people; people build our company.” How to reach: Family Heritage Life Insurance Co. of America, (216) 520-2800 or