Throughout 2020, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) staff provided consistent, resilient service to its members despite COVID-19 pandemic conditions. In December, staff extended that “here to help” support to the local community, as well. Led by Management Analysts Abraham Han and Courtney Morrison, Administrative Assistant Edith Aviña, and Maintenance Worker Chris Yanonis, Authority employees invoked the spirit of giving with two community service projects: a food drive for the Orangewood Foundation, which supports foster youth in Orange County, and a gift drive for the Los Angeles County Department of Public and Social Services’ Adopt-A-Family Program, which fulfills holiday wishes for low-income families.
“One of the Authority’s core values is teamwork,” said Han. “In 2020, the phrase ‘Resilient Together’ represented not only the Risk Management Educational Forum theme but also a guided inspiration to be a light to others amid uncertainty. By participating in the Orangewood Foundation and Adopt-A-Family service projects, staff affirmed that we seek to be teamwork-oriented in everything that we do.”
Although historically the California JPIA’s staff service projects have involved in-person interaction to not only communicate news of the project with staff but also coordinate project logistics with the host organizations and recipients, this year the pandemic forced most outreach and organization to take place online. Employees also were mindful of appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols, particularly when coordinating the delivery of gifts to the adopted family.
“This year has been different,” said Morrison. “We’ve taken additional precautions to minimize exposure to people while maintaining our focus on teamwork, which is something that’s important to the Authority as an organization. We work together to help people and communities.”
The Orangewood Foundation, based in Santa Ana, provides personal care supplies, groceries and hot meals, transitional housing, life skills workshops, and employment and educational opportunities for almost 2,000 local young people annually. The California JPIA collected nourishing, non-perishable food items such as soup and pasta to fill a holiday table for community members served by the Foundation.
Through their sponsorship of the Los Angeles County Department of Public and Social Services’ Adopt-A-Family Program, Authority employees were matched with a family for whom they fulfilled a holiday wish list including clothing, toys, gift cards, and groceries.
After Yanonis reached out to the family by phone to better understand its situation and its needs, the California JPIA staff discovered a new level of empathy for the family’s story and circumstances. What began as a service project transformed into a mission to bring joy to a family. Employees’ overwhelmingly positive response yielded contributions that far exceeded last year’s total.
“The Authority believes that strong relationships are important,” said Han. “We know this to be true in the relationships we build with our members. And this year we knew it to be true beyond our normal line of work.”
About the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority
Providing innovative risk management solutions for its public agency partners for more than 40 years, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is one of the largest municipal self-insurance pools in the state, with more than 120 member cities and other governmental agencies. Members actively participate in shaping the organization to provide important coverage for their operations. The California JPIA provides innovative risk management solutions through a comprehensive portfolio of programs and services, including liability, workers’ compensation, pollution, property, and earthquake coverage, as well as extensive risk management training and loss control services. For more information, please visit the California JPIA’s website at cjpia.org.