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TCN Members Give Back, Sandy Relief Efforts

The Chicago Network would like to recognize its members and their companies for their relief efforts extended to families and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.


Red Cross

Fran Edwardson, CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, reported that they’ve deployed 50 Chicagoland disaster relief workers to join more than 5,800 other Red Crossers who have gone to help from across the nation. Volunteers quickly left families, jobs and friends at home to assist those in need on the East Coast. Individuals and companies from the Chicago area, too numerous to mention, have graciously stepped up to help with financial and blood donations. Fran sends a heartfelt “thank you” to all who have helped out. Read more...

And the disasters here at home don’t stop — earlier this week the Red Cross provided aid to 84 people from 25 families displaced by a large apartment fire in West Chicago.

Discover Financial Services

Members: Kelly Corly & Diane Offereins

In response to Hurricane Sandy, Discover Financial Services activated its partnership with the American Red Cross and has raised more than $700,000 as of Nov. 5 by matching our cardmembers donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $500,000.

The company also separately donated $100,000 directly to the Delaware Red Cross. The company also donated to two groups who help first responders in New York: $25,000 to New York Friends of Firefighters, and $25,000 to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

We are encouraging donations from employees and our cardmembers through our website and are passing the word through social media. The company also is waiving transaction fees for Red Cross and World Vision donations made on Discover cards.

To help cardmembers directly affected by the storm, Discover is working to resolve any payment or credit issues exacerbated by damage, outages and other factors. We’re reaching out to customers who have disaster benefits they may be entitled to, and we’re working to resolve any administrative delays involving Discover Student Loans, Discover Home Loans and Discover Bank deposit products.


Member: Ruth Ann Gillis & Anne Pramaggiore

ComEd sent three groups of employees to Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City last week, totaling more than 900 ComEd employees and contractors, to help in restoration efforts.

The Northridge Group Inc.

Member: Therese Fauerbach

The Northridge Group gifted $500 to each of their employees of Northridge Solutions, based on Eastern Long Island, to ensure their people had additional resources to provide for themselves and their families. Encouragement was given to those minimally impacted by the storm to find ways to help others and several took their gift to feed those more affected.


Member: Toni Smith

FEI provides EAP services, crisis prevention, and disaster relief services for its client, the Two Ten footwear Foundation. FEI made contact with well over 100 individuals and families in the shoe industry, who are seeking cash support for food and shelter within the NY, NJ and CT tri-state area.

The Conservation Center

Member: Heather Becker

CEO Heather Becker and her team are currently working onsite throughout the East Coast to assist with Hurricane Sandy response. The Conservation Center can be reached at 800-250-6919 during business hours and on their 24/7 Disaster Response line at 312-543-1462.

Lifeway Foods, The Chicago Network Sandy Relief

Lifeway Foods

Member: Julie Smolyansky

Lifeway Foods held a food drive at our Niles marketing office over the weekend and shipped over 70 pallets of kefir, juice, water, food and other supplies to the NY/NJ area. Read more...

CEO Julie Smolyansky spent the weekend in NY as she was supposed to run the marathon. Althought the marathon was canceled, Julie still ran with her team, Every Mother Counts. Spent time in lower Manhattan with the owners of Barbarini whose restaurant was destroyed. She brought hot soup, supplies and spirits.

Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway Foods, The Chicago Network Sandy Relief Efforts

The Smolyanskys and The Barbarinis

Jenner & Block

Members: Susan Levy & Terri Mascherin

Consistent with the values of Jenner & Block LLP and its long tradition of helping those in need, efforts are already underway to assist those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The firm is providing pro bono legal assistance to residents of Coney Island who were evacuated to a shelter at a local high school during the storm. Jenner & Block lawyers are staffing the shelter, advising residents how to apply for FEMA aid and helping them fill out aid application forms.

In addition, Jenner & Block initiated a firm-wide drive for donations to assist relief efforts on the east coast. We sent out communications to all employees informing them that the firm would be donating to AmeriCares, and would donate an extra $10,000 to whatever employees gave. As of November 7th the combined employee and firm donation was close to $35,000.


Member: Carrie Hightman

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, more than 80 skilled volunteers from NiSource’s electric and natural gas subsidiaries have joined in efforts to restore power and assist those hardest-hit by the storm. Besides the NiSource volunteers, the company released outside resources from the electric line and tree-trimming contractors to provide additional support.

In addition, NiSource’s charitable arm also pledged $25,000 in monetary support to the American Red Cross, with additional contributions being made by the company’s business units and employees.

“Our hearts go out to those experiencing the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy,” Bob Skaggs, NiSource president and CEO said. “We are proud of our skilled coworkers who have stepped up to lend meaningful assistance in this time of need. And we urge all those who can to join us in supporting [them]."



Member: Jill Smart

During this difficult time, the safety of our people has been a top priority in the wake of Sandy. There has been a tremendous outpouring from our people around the world and we’re keeping them updated about the conditions we are facing.

People are looking for ways to contribute, we’ve offered financial options, and Accenture people — even those affected by the storm — are responding with tremendous support for relief efforts in the affected communities.

For example, they are contributing via Aidmatrix, which directs those contributions through the American Red Cross. And they are donating to the Accenture Charitable Trust, which provides short-term financial assistance to US-based Accenture people and their families who are experiencing severe financial hardship as a result of the hurricane.

The Pampered Chef

Members: Doris Christopher & Marla Gottschalk

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, our hearts go out to those struggling with the devastating aftermath on the East Coast. The Pampered Chef quickly responded by donating more than $350,000 in products to our long-time partners at Feeding America, who requested cleaning products to aide in the clean-up efforts.

Additionally, we’ve provided a way to mobilize our customers and 60,000+ Consultants who are eager to support the cause. Starting now through the end of the year, The Pampered Chef will match all fundraiser cooking show contributions, up to 30% of show sales, for the American Red Cross -- essentially doubling the donation efforts of customers.



Member: Kristi Savacool

Aon prides itself on successfully advising its clients on their most difficult risk and people challenges. What we recently experienced with the devastation of Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy is an important example of this mission. Aon colleagues from all business units have been working around the clock focusing on the health and safety of our fellow colleagues, as well as the needs of clients in the wake of Sandy and now the nor’easter.

On the people side, Aon Hewitt’s largest benefits and HR BPO clients asked for help supporting more than 60,000 of their employees in the affected region. Starting Thursday, Nov. 1, Aon Hewitt launched a call center—with volunteers from across Charlotte and the Woodlands—to help clients' employees with basic needs—baby formula, batteries, flashlights, etc. Aon Hewitt had the technology, tools and resources to help them with their vast efforts to support their workforce during such a devastating event. Aon Hewitt continued to host the call center through the weekend. On top of that, Aon Hewitt, in partnership with Aon Benfield, worked to deploy the ImpactonDemand application and pinpoint the roughly 60,000 employees of the client impacted by the storm. This allowed the client to have immediate information critical to their response efforts such as how to get paychecks to those in the affected area that do not have direct deposit, given challenges with basic services like mail delivery.

On the risk side, our Rapid Response teams have been on the ground with clients to help get them back up and running quickly. Aon Risk Solutions reactivated its Situation Room resource on Friday, Oct. 26 in anticipation of Sandy and went live with a 24/7 client and colleague hotline on Tues., Oct. 30.. In addition to providing short- and long-term guidance on steps to recovery and claims preparation, the team has been working diligently with carriers to obtain commitments to ensure client policy matters are not interrupted or affected by Sandy. Within days of the catastrophic event, Aon also launched Flood Secure, a new insurance facility providing replacement coverage to U.S. organizations that have impaired aggregated flood limits on their property policy.

As the nation moves aggressively into the recovery phase, Aon will continue to support its colleagues and clients as it ensures its seamless and effective client service in this time of need.


Cushman & Wakefield

Member: Marilyn Lissner

Cushman & Wakefield branches in the Northeast are now operational in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. We are heartened by the efforts of so many our employees who have overcome very difficult obstacles to report into work. Yet, some of our employees in the New York tri-state region have seen their homes and belongings damaged by this devastating storm. Public transportation is beginning to be restored in many areas but is not fully operational in all communities. While power has also been restored to many, there are families that will have to wait longer until all services are back to normal.

Our thoughts are with our colleagues and their families who have been so significantly affected by this disaster. This week, Human Resources will be implementing a temporary housing exchange to match up available accommodations offered by employees in the New York Region to those employees and their families who are in need of housing. In addition, many of you from all over the country have asked how you might help your colleagues. For those of you who would like to offer your support, below is a listing of organizations through which you can make contributions to Hurricane Sandy relief funds. As we become aware of more charitable organizations that have set up funds specific to Sandy relief efforts, we will keep you informed.


JPMorgan Chase

Members: Liz Connelly & Amy Fahey

When Superstorm Sandy hit the country’s east coast, JPMorgan Chase marshaled its vast resources and sprung into action. The firm has offered extensive relief to its customers and the impacted local communities.

“While all natural disasters are heartbreaking, as a New York-based bank, this one literally hits home,” said Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. “We have more than 30,000 employees and 10 million customers who have been affected by this storm. We are prepared to offer unprecedented help from all areas of our firm through charitable relief, loans, fee waivers, and other commitments. We plan to be one of the key engines toward this recovery.”

The firm’s pledged relief includes:


  • Up to $5 million in charitable donations for relief and recovery efforts in affected areas, including:
  • $2 million to the American Red Cross for emergency response;
  •  $1 million in matched funds for employee donations to the American Red Cross, WorldVision and the United Way, also for immediate relief efforts;
  • Up to $2 million in donations to local agencies for recovery efforts including counseling, temporary housing, cash assistance and access to social services.

Chase customers can support families affected by Superstorm Sandy by making a donation to the American Red Cross at more than 14,000 Chase ATMs across the country. Customers making a withdrawal are asked if they want to donate $5 to the Red Cross for storm victims and can complete the transaction on the spot. Or, customers can donate to the American Red Cross with Ultimate Reward points from their Chase credit card.

Fee Waivers

On the day after Superstorm Sandy, Chase, the consumer and commercial bank brand of JPMorgan Chase, announced it will waive or credit the following fees for customers in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

  • Overdraft Protection Transfer, Extended Overdraft, Returned Item and Insufficient Funds Fees for deposit accounts.
  • Late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans, including mortgages, home-equity, auto and student loans.

The firm has extended the waiver twice due to the continued hardship of customers.

With the inability of some customers to reach a bank, the company raised the QuickPay (online and mobile app tool) deposit limits by five times in the affected states – up to $10,000 a day (up from $2,000 a day), and up to $25,000 a month (up from $5,000 a month).

The company is also waiving all mortgage-related fees and offering 90 days forbearance of mortgage payments for customers seeking assistance in the impacted areas, and temporarily suspending all foreclosure sales in the FEMA designated zones.


Chase is providing up to $5 billion in incremental capital for lending to small and mid-size businesses directly affected by the storm to help them rebuild. The offer consists of favorable terms on the loans, including discounted fees and rates. This new commitment is on top of the funding the company already does for small business.

The company is also offering funding to states, municipalities and transportation authorities for their rebuilding needs. 


Chase brought in eight mobile ATMs to Manhattan's Union Square for customers because many branches in the area were closed due to the storm.

Three Chase-sponsored food trucks are providing free hot meals to those stranded without power. They were in lower Manhattan and are now making the rounds in some of the hardest-hit areas, including Staten Island, the Rockaways and Coney Island.

Employees in the Tri-State area are donating food and school supplies to support relief efforts in collaboration with our non-profit partners Feeding America and World Vision. They also are volunteering with the non-profit partners with clean up efforts, packaging projects and myriad other volunteer missions.


Members: Cathy Brune, Marci Kaminsky & Joan Walker

In the wake of Sandy’s destruction, thousands of Allstate employees and agency owners are working together to help customers and communities recover. This rapid response and strong presence bring to life Allstate’s promise to keep customers in Good Hands during their ultimate time of need. Extraordinary stories emerge every day from areas most devastated by Sandy.

In many cases, Allstate was the first insurance company to visibly arrive at impacted neighborhoods with 12 mobile claim centers and nearly 2,500 claims personnel who went street-to-street, searching for affected customers. Allstate resources from as far away as Florida and Washington State joined local agencies and employees.

Allstate’s special catastrophe response team and field employees are working together to begin restoring customers’ lives and are totally committed to processing claims as quickly as possible.

For example, an Allstate adjuster patiently explained to an elderly customer that it was not safe for him to stay in his home. He was hesitant about leaving, but after the adjuster explained that living expenses were part of his coverage, he felt comfortable moving to temporary housing.


Even as our response teams focused on the needs of their customers, they didn’t ignore the needs of their colleagues who also personally experienced hardship. Agencies with electricity and internet connectivity in New York and New Jersey immediately raised their hands and offered space within their own offices to those without.


“The camaraderie and sense of our Good Hands coming together have been inspiring through this event,” said an Allstate manager.


Even with limited resources, Allstate agency owners have demonstrated creativity and resiliency – one ran his office for three days from his car, with six phone lines forwarded to two cell phones. Another set up shop on a friend’s kitchen table after losing power at both his home and agency.

Helping communities recover from Sandy isn’t just taking place at the front lines – it lives throughout Allstate, where employees and agency owners are making donations to the American Red Cross through the company’s Giving Campaign. For every dollar contributed, Allstate gives another dollar, up to $100,000. In addition, The Allstate Foundation is identifying nonprofits in communities hit hardest by Sandy – organizations where Allstate agency owners already volunteer – and providing them with special support up to $1 million.

In the end, it’s all about keeping our promise to customers during their ultimate time of need.

Mesirow Financial

Members: Diane Swonk & Julie Vander Weele

Mesirow Financial is focused on providing immediate assistance to employees affected directly by the storm. The firm is offering financial assistance to help meet expenses such as emergency housing, transportation, food and other pressing needs.

In response to a request from a New York employee, our Chicago office will be collecting cold-weather accessories such as gloves, hats, scarves and blankets to send to needy people on Staten Island. The items may be new or used, in good condition.

In addition, the firm will make a special contribution to the American Red Cross. We encourage our employees, as well as the general public, to support Red Cross efforts by giving blood and donating air miles so volunteers can travel to affected areas.