WEA Member Benefits

In the news

Member Benefits is always doing more to support our community. Browse our archive of press releases.

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Press releases and news articles

WEA Member Benefits Foundation program helps meet growing need for school-based mental health program funding

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Madison, WI, January 30, 2024WMTV 15 Madison recently featured a story about the WEA Member Benefits Foundation and their school-based mental funding program. Reporter Mackenzie Davis spoke with Foundation representatives, Dave Kijek and Steve Goldberg, and Janet Thomas, Sun Prairie School District Associate Director of Student Services. Learn more >>

 

WEA Member Benefits Foundation Expands Funding for School-Based Mental Health Resources in Wisconsin Schools

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Trust-based philanthropy approach connects corporate and philanthropic sectors with school districts.

Madison, WI, September 20, 2023—In 2019, WEA Member Benefits created WEA Member Benefits Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) public charity, developed to support Wisconsin public school employees, their districts, and communities through grants and charitable donations.

In a 2021 survey to educators and district administrators, the Foundation asked, “What keeps you awake at night?“. “Student mental health” was a common response. School districts need additional funding to support and strengthen school-based mental health programming. A missing piece became clear: access to funding. Learn more >>

 

Foundation Raises $32,000 to Support School-Based Mental Health Programs in Wisconsin
Local golf fundraiser provides opportunity for celebration and stories

August 10, 2023

Earlier this month, WEA Member Benefits Foundation’s inaugural golf fundraiser to support school-based mental health programs in Wisconsin’s public schools brought together nearly 200 supporters from across the state to The Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove.

The incredible turnout raised nearly $32,000 for school-based mental health. These donations will further fund and expand the pilot school-based mental health program the Foundation launched in 2021.

Why supporting mental health in schools is important

According to a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction survey:

  • 52% of students reported having anxiety.
  • 34% of students said they were sad or hopeless every day.
  • 22% of students reported harming themselves.
  • 25% of female students have seriously considered suicide.

However, accessing mental health care is a challenge. The National Survey of Children’s Health found that 46% of Wisconsin school children with mental health conditions had somewhat or very difficult time obtaining care. In addition, Wisconsin’s school counselor to student ratio is half the national standard (America’s School Mental Health Report Card, 2022).

What is being done

WEA Member Benefits Foundation, Inc., is supporting students’ mental health through the establishment of funds for direct help and for emergency assistance. “The need for more active funding of school-based mental health is more critical than ever,” says WEA Member Benefits Foundation Executive Director, Steve Goldberg. “The school districts participating in our pilot program, Appleton, Racine, Sun Prairie, Madison, and Watertown, continue to make extremely productive use of the funds we’ve helped them secure. Some are training staff as social emotional coaches, others are helping offset high health insurance deductibles to help students afford treatments, another has added a trauma screen for elementary grades. So much more has been accomplished, and most of these initiatives would not have happened without our funding.”

A group effort

WEA Member Benefits Foundation partners include the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the state Office of Children’s Mental Health, Wisconsin Education Association Council, and other state-wide organizations such as American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation and the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. These partners help increase the program’s impact in furthering school-based mental health programs.

Adds David Kijek, President and CEO of WEA Member Benefits, “The work the Foundation is doing is so important. We’re providing better access to kids for school based mental health services through Wisconsin public schools. The support of our sponsors and our donors is making that happen, and we plan to help more districts through these additional funds.”

To learn more, support, and/or donate, please visit weafoundation.org.

THANK YOU to our sponsors

Double-Diamond Sponsor:
WEA Member Benefits Board of Trustees

Platinum Sponsors:
Oakbrook
Empower
Green Bay Education Association
Key Benefit Concepts, LLC

Gold Sponsors:
Shah Family in memory of Pankaj Shah
Dave and Wendy Kijek
HUB International

Silver Sponsors:
Newport-An Ascensus Company
Boardman Clark
Brown & Brown Insurance
Associates of Clifton Park
WEA Trust
von Briesen
Ridge Top Exteriors

Bronze Sponsors:
Skip and Janie Miller
Brian Grill
DeWitt Law Firm
Strohm Ballweg
US Cellular
Planet Technology

WEA Member Benefits Launches Innovative Online Term Life Insurance Platform for Nation’s Public Education Market

WEA Member Benefits
June 9, 2023

WEA Member Benefits, a leading financial services organization created by public educators in Wisconsin, is thrilled to unveil its groundbreaking national online term life insurance platform for the public education marketplace.

In a strategic partnership with Haven Life, WEA Member Benefits now offers PK-12 public school employees across the nation the ability to purchase Haven Life’s accessible term life insurance products.

Art Contest Opportunity for Wisconsin Public School Students

April 6, 2023

All things Wisconsin is the theme of the eighth annual student art contest sponsored by WEA Member Benefits and the WEA Member Benefits Foundation, Inc. Young artists are invited to submit pieces that show what comes to mind when they think about Wisconsin. This could mean art capturing our different seasons, things to do, places to see, the little things that make our state special, people of Wisconsin, etc.

Wisconsin State Journal names WEA Member Benefits a Winner of the Madison Top Workplaces 2023 Award

March 28, 20232023 Top Workplaces Award

WEA Member Benefits, a leader in helping public school employees and their families achieve financial security by providing insurance, retirement investment, and financial planning, has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2023 honor by the Wisconsin State Journal. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The award is based on the results of an anonymous survey of Member Benefits’ employees who provided feedback on various aspects of their workplace, such as leadership, benefits, and overall job satisfaction.

WEA Member Benefits is not affiliated with WEA Trust

In the news

01/30/2023

WEA Member Benefits is not affiliated with WEA Trust. We remain separate, unaffiliated organizations and the decisions of WEA Trust do not impact Member Benefits, our 403(b) retirement savings programs, the IRA program, auto, home, individual life and long-term care insurance, or our financial planning programs and services.

PLEASE NOTE: WEA Member Benefits does NOT offer group health insurance. We are unable to assist you with WEA Trust health insurance, group life insurance, group long-term care, or group vision insurance inquiries.

The WEA Trust exited the group health insurance market on December 31, 2022. WEA Trust no longer has a customer service team available by phone.  Visit the WEA Trust website to upload documents or visit their contact page.

WEA Member Benefits will not respond to messages in regards to WEA Trust inquiries.

National Online Life Insurance Program for PK-12 Public School Employees Offered by Wisconsin’s WEA Member Benefits

WEA Member BenefitsDecember 15, 2022

WEA Member Benefits has partnered with Haven Life to make Haven Life’s term life insurance policies available to those employed at PK-12 public schools nationwide. As a result of the partnership, PK-12 public school employees and their families can purchase a low-cost Haven Simple policy via an easy, online application process through the website at weabenefits.com/haven, or with help from the agents at Associates of Clifton Park.

 

American Family Insurance joins list of funders for student mental health programs in Wisconsin

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Company supports school-based mental health programs through private philanthropy

Madison, WI, July 12, 2022—The philanthropic arm of a statewide insurance and financial services organization for educators—WEA Member Benefits Foundation, Inc.—has launched a pilot project with four Wisconsin school districts to test a funding model for expanding private philanthropic support for school-based mental health programs throughout the state. The American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation and the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact have committed to supporting this pilot project, joining a growing list of corporate philanthropic organizations.

The WEA Member Benefits Foundation announced it will help their four pilot districts, Appleton, Racine, Sun Prairie, and Watertown, approach potential funders in their local communities to meet their challenge grant—provided by the Foundation—potentially doubling the total for each district. “The generous financial and in-kind support from American Family Insurance brings us another step closer to our goal of helping our four pilot school districts meet their challenge grant match,” said WEA Member Benefits Foundation Executive Director Steve Goldberg. “We are grateful for their generosity and hope that other corporate foundations will follow their lead to help the school districts strengthen their mental health programs.”

“We are strongly committed to supporting equity in healthy youth development, especially mental health,” said Shayna Hetzel, American Family community and social impact director. “More than ever, young people having easy access to mental health resources is critical – and that’s what innovative school-based programs such as this one help to cultivate.”

“We are thankful for American Family’s philanthropic support of our four pilot school districts. School-based mental health, especially during these stressful times, is so important to the success of our students. We hope others will join us in this effort,” said WEA Member Benefits President and CEO, David Kijek.

Initial funding for WEA Member Benefits Foundation’s student mental health pilot grant program has come from WEA Member Benefits, WEA Trust, the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), GenRe, Empower Retirement, Delta Dental of Wisconsin, Parnassus Investments, Newport Group, Wisconsin Mutual Insurance, Velcor, Strom Ballweg, von Briesen & Roper, and T. Rowe Price.

More information about the WEA Member Benefits Foundation’s school-based mental health initiative and ways you can help support can be found at weafoundation.org.

 

NO CHANGES to WEA Member Benefits’ programs and services

In the news

June 2, 2022

Yesterday we learned the WEA Trust/Health Tradition Health Plan will be ending its group health insurance options by the end of 2022.

WEA Member Benefits (Member Benefits) is not affiliated with WEA Trust/Health Tradition Health Plan and there are no changes to our programs and services. Member Benefits is a separate organization committed to helping Wisconsin public school employees with their retirement, financial planning, and personal insurance needs.

We have been made aware of some confusion regarding WEA Member Benefits and WEA Trust/Health Tradition Health Plan. We remain separate, unaffiliated organizations and the decisions of WEA Trust/Health Tradition Health Plan do not impact Member Benefits, our 403(b) retirement savings programs, the IRA program, auto, home, life, and long-term care insurance, or our financial planning programs and services. Member Benefits provides individual retirement savings, financial planning, and personal insurance products to Wisconsin public school employees and their families. WEA Trust/Health Tradition Health provides group health insurance benefits to school districts and other state employees. Our 403(b) and IRA programs are not affected in any way.

WEA Member Benefits has been serving Wisconsin public school employees and their families since 1972, and we remain committed to serving their financial and personal insurance needs to and through retirement—both now and in the future.

If you have questions about the health insurance program changes at WEA Trust/Health Tradition Health Plan, please contact them at 800-279-4000.

 

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Update on challenge grants for student mental health programs

April 2022

As part of a pilot project to test a funding model for expanding private philanthropic support for school-based mental health programs throughout Wisconsin, WEA Member Benefits Foundation, Inc., with major funding from its sister organization—WEA Trust—is providing challenge grants to four K–12 school districts as part of the pilot: Appleton ($40,000), Racine ($40,000), Sun Prairie ($30,000), and Watertown ($30,000). The Foundation will help these districts approach potential funders in their local communities to meet their challenge grant, potentially doubling the total for each district.

April 11, 2022, Sun Prairie Area School District: Members of the Sun Prairie School Board and district administrative team met with WEA Member Benefits Foundation Executive Director Steve Goldberg and Janet Thomas, Associate Director of Student Services at the Sun Prairie Area School District, during a presentation of a $30,000 donation for student mental health programming in the district.

April 25, 2022, Racine Unified School District: Executive Director of Student Services Andrea Rittgers announced the District has received a $40,000 challenge grant for school-based mental health initiatives from the WEA Member Benefits Foundation. The District’s plan is to use the money to offset high insurance deductibles for families so all students have access to the District’s mental health clinics. This grant is part of a statewide pilot project to establish a funding path for philanthropic organizations that want to support school-based mental health programs in their communities.

 

Madison's top workplaces 2022Madison’s Top Workplaces 2022

March 24, 2022
madison.com

WEA Member Benefits has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2022 honor by the Wisconsin State Journal in the small business category. In addition, President and CEO of WEA Member Benefits, David Kijek, has been awarded the Leadership Award (Small Category).

 

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Wisconsin School-Based Mental Health Initiative Gets Big Boost

October 15, 2021
PRWEB

The WEA Member Benefits Foundation, Inc. is launching a pilot project to provide financial support for school-based mental health services for K-12 students throughout Wisconsin. Together with a sister organization, WEA Trust, the Foundation will commit $200,000 this year to demonstrate an effective funding model for school-based mental health programs.

Top Workplaces 2021

The Wisconsin State Journal Names WEA Member Benefits a Winner of the Madison Top Workplaces 2021 Award

April 1, 2021
PRWEB

WEA Member Benefits has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2021 honor by The Wisconsin State Journal. “Receiving this award for the second consecutive year is especially meaningful given nearly all of our staff has been working remotely since March of 2020,” said Dave Kijek, CEO of WEA Member Benefits.

 

In the newsLocally developed financial literacy game wins “Game of Year”

November 17, 2020
Daily Jefferson County Union

A financial literacy game developed by Jefferson Middle School teacher Erich Utrie and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Julie Woletz has just won “Game of the Year” honors from the National Institute for Financial Literacy.

 

2020 EIFLE Game of the YearWEA Member Benefits Financial Literacy Game for High School Students Wins 2020 EIFLE Game of the Year

October 20, 2020

The Institute for Financial Literacy announced their Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Award Winners, with WEA Member Benefits receiving the 2020 Game of the Year for our financial literacy game, Don’t be Jack™: High School Edition.

 

WEA Member Benefits Adds Life Insurance to Product PortfolioWEA Member Benefits Adds Life Insurance to Product Portfolio

September 24, 2020

Member Benefits announced the addition of life insurance to their product portfolio of insurance offerings. Partnering with Associates of Clifton Park, a variety of policy options are available to fit members’ needs.

 

Adventure Awaits...5th Annual Student Art ContestWEA Member Benefits Foundation Honors Finalists of the 2020 Student Art Contest

June 8, 2020

An announcement on the winners of this year’s Student Art Contest sponsored by the WEA Member Benefits Foundation, Inc., and WEA Member Benefits. Eleven finalists were selected from over 150 student submissions from across Wisconsin.

 

Art Contest Opportunity for Wisconsin Public School Students Art Contest Opportunity for Wisconsin Public School Students

April 6, 2020

Get ready for adventure with the Fifth Annual WEA Member Benefits Student Art Contest! New in 2020, the contest now has a theme: Adventure and Explore.

 

student art winnersWEA Member Benefits Foundation Honors Finalists of the 2019 Student Art Contest and Winner of the Loeymae Lange Memorial Best in Class Award

August 22, 2019

Ten individual student finalists were honored at a soiree on Thursday, August 8. In addition, one student artist whose art exemplified originality, expression, use of artistic elements, principals of design, overall presentation of artwork, and message, was awarded the “Loeymae Lange Memorial Best in Class” award.

 

WEA Member Benefits Launches High School Edition of Award-Winning Financial Literacy GameWEA Member Benefits Launches High School Edition of Award-Winning Financial Literacy Game

April 11, 2019

WEA Member Benefits, a leading provider of financial products and financial education for Wisconsin public school employees and their families, has launched the much-anticipated high school edition of their award-winning Don’t Be Jack™ Financial Literacy Game.

 

Art Contest Opportunity for Wisconsin Public School StudentsArt Contest Opportunity for Wisconsin Public School Students

April 9, 2019

Now in its fourth year, the WEA Member Benefits annual student art contest is underway. The contest is co-sponsored by WEA Member Benefits and the WEA Member Benefits Foundation, Inc. Thanks to a generous foundation donor, students now have a chance to gain some very special recognition for their creative work!

 

WEA Member BenefitsWEA Member Benefits moves headquarters

July 14, 2014

WEA Member Benefits relocated its operations on July 11, 2014 to the office building at 660 John Nolen Drive, which they purchased in January. Since its inception over 40 years ago, Member Benefits had been a tenant at the WEA Trust Insurance Corp building located at 45 Nob Hill Road.

 

WEA Member BenefitsWEA Trust Member Benefits Named Friend of Education

April 7, 2014

WEA Trust Member Benefits (Member Benefits) was presented the 2014 Friend of Education Award by WEAC President Betsy Kippers at the WEAC Board meeting on April 5.

 

EIFLE AwardWEA Trust Member Benefits receives national Excellence in Financial Literacy Award

April 23, 2012

WEA Trust Member Benefits competed with over 100 nominees nationally to win the coveted Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Award for their popular financial learning game, Don’t Be Jack™. The Institute of Financial Literacy presents the awards to recognize organizations that have shown exceptional innovation, dedication, and commitment to the field of financial literacy education.