Partner Spotlight: Northwestern Mutual Employee Resource Groups

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Throughout SecureFutures’ history, Northwestern Mutual has consistently been a source for committed and passionate volunteers, with dozens of NM staff logging hundreds of hours bringing SecureFutures’ programs into classrooms.

One of the main reasons for this consistency has been the ongoing partnership between SecureFutures and two of NM’s award-winning Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), the African-American ERG and the Hispanic ERG. The ERGs exist to enhance a diverse and inclusive workplace at NM by providing support, professional development opportunities, and community for traditionally under-represented team members. Both ERGs have chosen SecureFutures as one of their community service partners, connecting their members as volunteers and coordinating other kinds of support.

Chris Coleman volunteers virtually with a group from the Leading Men Fellowship

Chris Coleman, a Financial Specialist at NM and a member of the African-American ERG, has volunteered for SecureFutures since 2016, most recently delivering Money Sense lessons virtually to Literacy Lab and the Leading Men Fellowship. Gabriella Saenz, an attorney in NM’s Investment Products and Advisory Services division and a member of the Hispanic ERG, has also served as a Money Sense volunteer since 2016. Both have appreciated their respective ERGs as a support in their professional success and community involvement.

“The ERG has given me an avenue to learn, develop, and grow as a professional and community leader from great mentors and role models,” said Chris.

For both groups, SecureFutures’ mission aligned with their community engagement goals, giving their members an opportunity to make an impact on the community.

“The Hispanic ERG was eager to help close the knowledge gap and work to financially empower our next generation,” said Gabriella. “SecureFutures was an ideal fit.”

Chris said the partnership has been “the perfect opportunity to connect NM, a company focused on bringing their clients long-term financial security, with a great organization who had a similar vision for local youth.”

In addition to supporting their members in serving as volunteers, the African-American and Hispanic ERGs partnered in 2020 to nominate SecureFutures for Northwestern Mutual’s “Days of Sharing” program, resulting in a sizable grant for SecureFutures.

“The African American and Hispanic ERG came together to support SecureFutures because we appreciate the work SecureFutures is doing to bridge the financial literacy gap in our communities,” said Gabriella.

Chris and Gabriella both hope the partnership between the ERGs and SecureFutures continues to develop and strengthen.

“I would love to see the Hispanic ERG continue to support and partner with SecureFutures, whether it be through volunteers in the classroom setting, creating scholarship opportunities, or more long-term mentorship through programs like Money Coach,” said Gabriella.

“I hope the ERG will continue to be a source of steady volunteers and resources for SecureFutures,” Chris said. “I hope that our partnership will lead to empowering young students, in our local community, to reach their financial dreams.”