Each year, we send hundreds of vehicles to salvage yards across the country after our claims reps decide that they’re total losses. Usually, the vehicles sit there until they are either sold for parts or crushed by wrecking yards. Ten years ago, we began changing the fate of many cars across the country by providing for those in need.
Each year, Progressive–together with affiliated network auto-body shops, national salvage companies, the National Auto Body Council (NABC) and several national vendors as well as military and charity organizations–presents the refurbished vehicles to the recipients during a special giveaway ceremony held during the week of Veterans Day. Progressive representatives team up with salvage companies and NABC member auto-body shops to find and repair vehicles for this cause. We also work with military and charity organizations to find deserving veterans in need of a car and gather their stories. Vehicles are donated to recipients through 1-800-Charity-Cars.
Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management
As a company, we see the need in our communities to give support to military men and women who may be facing hardships in life – from difficult personal and family health needs to excessive rent burdens, unemployment, and even homelessness. One of Progressive’s Core Values is the Golden Rule. The Keys to Progress® program is a great way to put that into action, extending the principle to people who have given so much for their country.
Reliable transportation is a challenge for many. Most of us take basic transportation for granted. But for many people, everyday activities like going to work, taking kids to school, grocery shopping, and medical visits are a challenge. Without independent transportation, it is difficult to lead a life of well-being and good health. The NABC’s Recycled Rides program, which inspired Progressive to establish its “Keys to Progress” program, opens doors to better opportunities, employment, stability and improved quality of life. In 2008, one of Progressive’s Texas service centers made the first car donation. In 2011, we donated 23 cars to body shops in five states as part of the NABC Recycled Rides program, which helps local families, food banks and charities. Once the body shop has the car, it teams up with parts and paints suppliers to repair the vehicle and ensure it’s safe and reliable before donating to the veterans.
"After coming home from serving their country—and all of us—many military men and women are faced with tough life circumstances, from personal, or family health needs to unemployment and sometimes even homelessness," says Claims President Mike Sieger. "With help from employees across our organization and our many external groups we work with, our annual Keys to Progress events are a fantastic way for us to embody the Golden Rule and pay it forward to those who have given so much for our country."
Due to continued popularity in local communities, Progressive branded the innovation as “Keys to Progress” and started holding annual one-day giveaways to veterans across the nation. The program’s main events are held at Progressive offices and affiliated vehicle repair facility locations across the United States.
Since the start of Progressive’s Keys to Progress® program in 2013, Progressive has donated considerable time and resources to provide more than 600 veterans with reliable transportation so they can get back on the road and move forward in life. We’ve also donated vehicles to veteran organizations dedicated to military-focused community outreach and, in 2018, we gave away our first commercial truck to help a veteran fulfill his dream of becoming an entrepreneur and starting his own owner-operator business.
The events have been a great success, attracting the attention of media and communities across the country. All the recipients were thankful for the help that came with their new vehicles. In Oklahoma, one of the cars the company donated went to a widowed grandparent raising her grandchildren whose mother had suddenly passed away. She couldn’t afford reliable transportation, and this gave them the ability to take her grandchildren to school events and to run daily errands without having to rely on public transit.
Through the Keys to Progress® program, we're increasing awareness of veteran support by actively giving back in the communities where we live and work while making a difference in the lives of some very deserving people. The program is also an opportunity to team up with many of the business organizations we work with day in and day out to do something good together within our communities. According to Claims Director Tom Minnick, “Keys to Progress® program is a very prideful event for Progressive, every story we hear from recipients of the cars matters. This is a company-wide event, and all business groups and external partner companies take so much pride in doing it.”
There is a significant marketing effort around the event. According to Social Responsibility Manager Wanda Shippy, “By aligning nationally around our events and hosting them all on a single day, we’re able to leverage public relations and marketing opportunities.”
Planning and executing the event annually involves a year of preparation, bringing different parts of our organization together. Over 600 vets and half a dozen organizations have received help from the program, and the company has garnered millions of marketing and social media impressions that have increased program awareness year over year. The Keys to Progress® program has also contributed to increased employee satisfaction and improved work environment survey results, making employees feel they are doing good for the community.
Keys to Progress is an emotional event for Progressive Insurance and the veteran community. Getting out of military service is an overwhelming experience for many vets. The transition to lead a normal life is challenging to many due to the traumatic experiences they go through during deployment.
Cody Hall, a US Navy veteran, chose to retire from the service to take care of her family responsibilities. For over a year, Cody struggled to make her ends meet and was only able to work on the evenings and weekends due to lack of transportation. Through this program, Cody received the car that enabled her to find a new day job, be able to take her daughter to lacrosse games, and spend time with her family on the weekends. When people asked her what’s the first thing she’s going to do after receiving the car, and she said, “I am going to apply for a job in Progressive,” and she did. Cody applied and got a day job at Progressive, and she is thrilled to give back by making somebody else’s day a special day.
Common themes we have seen among veterans is their passion for continuing to give back to the community in which they live, even after their retirement from the service to the country. James Rogers, a US Army veteran, a husband, father, and a professional truck driver is passionate about being independent and helping other veterans with job opportunities. James had a tough 11 years on active duty. After retirement from the service, James struggled to adjust through post-traumatic disorder. Through this innovative program, he received a semi-truck that enabled him to start and become an independent-operator truck business. According to James, this is the most significant opportunity he has ever received since he got back to civilian responsibilities, in his own words, “this is the biggest opportunity I got to give back, I will make this life changing event happen to somebody else by hiring other veterans.”
Giving individuals the freedom to move, find jobs, and do things they want to do to enhance their well-being is what the program has contributed to the veteran community. Progressive intends to continue this program thereby enabling vets', like Cody Hall and James Rogers, dreams to keep giving back to the country through the communities they live.
Wanda Shippy, Manager of Social Responsibility, Marketing
Mike Sieger, Claims President
John Murphy, CRM President
Tom Minnick, Director Claims
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Mayfield Village (Cleveland), OH, US
Business Website: https://www.progressive.com
Year Founded: 1937
Number of Employees: 10000+
The Progressive Corporation is one of the largest providers of car insurance in the United States. The company also insures motorcycles, boats, RVs and commercial vehicles, and provides home insurance through select companies. Progressive has expanded internationally as well, offering car insurance in Australia. The company was co-founded in 1937 by Jack Green and Joseph M. Lewis, and is headquartered in Mayfield Village, Ohio