American Family Insurance and The Ohio State University partner to empower success across the lifetime

ACCESS graduate in cap and gown with her child

American Family Insurance and The Ohio State University partner to empower success across the lifetime

At The Ohio State University, we strive to inspire and empower people to achieve more. Aligned with this aspiration is American Family Insurance's commitment to empowering dreams — a commitment that has prompted a generous gift to four Ohio State programs benefitting people at various life stages, from infancy to parenthood, college to homeownership.

Together, these initiatives support learning, self-sufficiency and economic success across the lifetime. We are grateful for American Family Insurance's gift, which helps both individuals and our collective community thrive — improving lives with a lasting, multi-generational impact.

In supporting The Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy's Read It Again program, a suite of no-cost digital resources for early childhood educators, American Family Insurance helps strengthen young children's foundations in language and literacy. Designed for preschoolers, infants and toddlers, Read It Again's curriculum and resources include skill building, storybooks with scripted lessons and tools to monitor learning progress.

“With support from American Family Insurance, we are developing numeracy and social-emotional supplements for our evidence-based curricula,” says Dr. Laura Justice, EHE distinguished professor of educational pathology and executive director of The Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy. “We are working with content experts and teachers to ensure that these tools are of the highest standard and are amenable to early educators' classroom organization. We hope to disseminate Read It Again-Social-Emotional in summer of 2024 and Read It Again-Numeracy in summer of 2025.”

American Family Insurance is also supporting this fall's launch of the Big Ten Academic Alliance — a joint effort of early learning scholars across the 15 Big Ten Universities — created to promote and elevate early learning research and to inform practices and policies across the nation. Funds will support the development of workshops/working sessions, research briefs on critical early learning topics and a website to grow awareness of the program and related resources.

“We are proud to support the Big Ten Early Learning Alliance, a partnership that embodies our shared aspiration for discovery and practice, transformational collaboration, and proximity to lived experience and expertise,“ says Shayna Hetzel, community and social impact director, American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact.
“Investing in early childhood education and care is a leading priority for the Institute. We believe equity in the earliest years can be a pivotal lever to break cycles of generational poverty for students and their families.”

To further support students and families, American Family Insurance is also funding the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's ACCESS Collaborative Program, an academic and social support initiative assisting Ohio State students who have children. Its services range from housing assistance to programming around life skills, financial literacy, leadership and self-care. The initiative helps remove barriers to academic success, making graduation more attainable and, ultimately, helping break the cycle of poverty among some parenting-student families.

“The impact of American Family Insurance's support of the ACCESS Collaborative is critical to the success of our parenting students,” ACCESS Collaborative Program director, Traci Lewis, shares. “Funds are used to cover nutritional meals for families during our weekly evening programming and to support family engagement activities.”

Lewis emphasizes, “Most importantly, we are able to assist with emergency expenses, like back rent, utility assistance, gas, car repairs and food, that could have meant the end of these students' educational careers if it weren't for the support of American Family.”

From a long-term economic prosperity perspective, many families will benefit from American Family Insurance's investment in The John Glenn College of Public Affairs' Power of Home initiative. This initiative provides assistance for low- and moderate-income homeowners in Ohio after they purchase their homes, offering access to free and affordable resources for home repairs as well as no-cost counseling to navigate financial challenges. In addition, the initiative has a robust research component to better understand the challenges experienced by new homeowners.

“There is quite a bit of support to help people buy homes, but not as much support for low-income homeowners after they close on their homes,” says Stephanie Moulton, PhD, professor and associate dean for faculty and research.

Since launching in 2020, the Power of Home has enrolled more than 3,000 Ohio homeowners. Funding from American Family Insurance has been pivotal to providing additional support to these households.

“We are able to provide free financial counseling and coaching with our partner Apprisen and free pre-construction counseling for home repairs through our partnerships with Ohio NeighborWorks organizations,” Moulton shares. “This funding also enables students and post-doctoral scholars to conduct cutting-edge research on the opportunities and challenges of supporting homeowners after they close on their homes. We are very grateful for American Family's investment in Power of Home and the impact it is making for Ohio homeowners.”

Social impact investment director of the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, Nyra Jordan, shares, “We believe in the power of eliminating barriers to homeownership for underestimated communities. By partnering with Ohio State and investing in the Power of Home, we provide families a path to financial freedom and upward mobility.” She adds, “Homeownership can unlock new trajectories for entire generations and communities – which is why we are proud to support the Power of Home. “

Altogether, American Family Insurance's multi-faceted investment helps improve lives in myriad ways: promoting early childhood literacy, strengthening families, bolstering financial security and helping individuals achieve their college and homeownership dreams.

We thank American Family Insurance for their support of individuals and families within the Ohio State community and throughout our central Ohio community beyond. Thanks to their philanthropy, more people can experience the lasting benefits associated with a strong foundation in literacy, a college degree and generational wealth through homeownership. It truly creates a lifetime of support.