Northwestern Mutual

2013 BCA 10 Hall of Fame Honoree

Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual is the nation’s largest direct provider of individual life insurance. As the largest corporate contributor to the arts in the state of Wisconsin, Northwestern Mutual has supported numerous successful partnerships in the arts over the past 25 years. The company believes that the arts are important to attract and retain talented employees, and that they contribute positively to economic development. In 2008, the company was a BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree.

Each year, Northwestern Mutual sponsors a workplace giving campaign for the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) of Milwaukee, mobilizing its employees through volunteer and fundraising opportunities. This year, former president Skip Poliner, who retired this summer, chaired the campaign, helping to spearhead the largest campaign in UPAF history. The company was responsible for the largest corporate donation ever to the campaign, $786,000, and employees contributed an additional $810,000. Combined, the Northwestern Mutual community surpassed the $1.6 million mark. The company was honored with the newly created Epic Award for its record-setting contributions.

To offer youths the opportunity to find ways to express themselves and motivate students who struggle academically, Northwestern Mutual supports arts education initiatives. The company’s Student Inspiration grants provide opportunities for students to overcome obstacles to achieve academic success through arts education. Additionally, Northwestern Mutual supports specific education programs in the performing arts at Skylight Music Theatre, Danceworks, First Stage and Arts @ Large.

Northwestern Mutual has a history of supporting local museums that celebrate the arts. This summer, the company sponsored “30 Americans” at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM). The exhibit is a dynamic exploration of contemporary American art by African American artists from 1970-present. Also at the museum, the Foundation has been the presenting sponsor of MAM After Dark, a monthly event that gives after-hours access to the museum. At the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, the company sponsors “The Adventures of MR. POTATO HEAD”—an exhibit designed to help children ages three-to-eight develop school readiness and academic skills that provides the museum with additional revenue when rented to other institutions across the country. Even the company’s home office serves as a museum, thanks to the company’s art-purchasing program, which brings paintings to the many walls of the business.