In Tom Badger’s 15-year involvement with the Schuylkill YMCA (YMCA), he has helped grow their annual budget tenfold, supported the purchase of a building with off-street parking, and overseen the gifting of thousands of scholarships to low-income children and families.
Currently serving as mentor to the board, Badger, a MassMutual financial professional in Pennsylvania, proudly spent two terms as YMCA president and has held numerous chair and volunteer positions over the years. He said that he owes his confidence to the YMCA where, as a child, he took Judo lessons. Badger said it was determination and conviction that he gained while training in the martial arts that guided his career choices and inspired him to support the YMCA’s youth programs, team sports, open gym, and family activities.
“I was too young to understand that I was afforded opportunities in my life because someone else was volunteering their time and resources,“ he said. “Now it is my turn.”
For low-income families in the Schuylkill area, the cost of membership to the YMCA is often financially prohibitive. But through donations and fundraising efforts, scholarships offset the costs for those in need by up to 55 percent.
Badger’s deep-rooted commitment to the YMCA — approximately 120 volunteer hours last year — is without limits. From setting up to cleaning up for annual fundraising dinners, to performing the duties of cook, selection committee member, recruiter, donation solicitor, and executive board member, Badger does what needs to be done for the benefit of the organization and the community it serves.
For Badger’s work with the YMCA, he was awarded the 2019 Community Service Award (CSA) by the MassMutual Foundation . As a result, he will present a $25,000 check from the foundation to the nonprofit. In addition to scholarships, the funds will be used to renovate the classroom space that, once complete, will nearly double the number of children able to enroll in YMCA programs.
In 2019, MassMutual Foundation awarded 32 grants, including two $25,000 Platinum Awards, 15 $10,000 Gold Awards, and 15 Silver $5,000 Awards to eligible nonprofits. The winners were notified in June.
A giving culture
Badger said that after 30 years in the insurance and financial services industry, he is fortunate to find himself surrounded by supportive peers and a general agent, Harris Fishman, who foster a culture of giving back to the community.
“I am proud to work for a company that supports advisors’ interests outside the office,” he said. “It is humbling to help others, but to be recognized for it is amazing.”
Between MassMutual Foundation’s CSA, matching gift programs, and the generosity of peers and members of the Advisors Association Committee, donations to his YMCA program have totaled nearly $30,000 in the last three years.
“Every time I’ve reached out, the world has given back,” he said. “I am truly grateful.”
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