Cincinnati Zoo lights: Associates getting involved

Commitment to community is a vibrant part of our culture at Ameritas. That’s why our associates are encouraged to volunteer in so many different ways.

Cincinnati is home to hundreds of Ameritas associates who work at our Forest Park campus. It’s also home to the world-renowned Cincinnati Zoo. Every year, one of the highlights of the holiday season is a visit to the zoo to see it illuminated with lights. Nearly every inch of the zoo shimmers with brilliance.

Stringing all those lights throughout the zoo is a mammoth task. Work begins in the autumn and lasts up until show time, right before Thanksgiving.

That’s where our people got involved. One crisp fall morning while the trees were still ablaze with autumn leaves, a team of over 20 Ameritas associates trekked to the zoo and spent the morning with the zoo staff wrapping and draping lights.

Ameritas is proud to help make life more fulfilling in the communities we serve.

Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Nuxy Bash 2017

Commitment to community is a vibrant part of our culture at Ameritas. That’s why our associates are encouraged to get involved and give back. Volunteering for Miracle League is one of the most meaningful ways this happens for our Cincinnati associates.

Miracle League is a national organization providing players of all abilities the opportunity to play baseball and other sports. It’s gaining momentum across the country. Part of the commitment for each chapter of Miracle League is to build facilities that provide a safe environment for all kinds of players.

The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League facility in Cincinnati is among the finest in the country. Named for Baseball Hall of Famer and legendary sports commentator Joe Nuxhall, this incredible facility was built just a short distance from our own Cincinnati office campus. Ameritas joined the community effort to build these fields that are now home to hundreds of special needs players and their families.

When Ameritas stepped up to sponsor The Nuxy Bash, an annual celebrity game at the fields, our associates stepped up to volunteer at the event.

This video shows just how much the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League has come to mean to the community.

Associates swing hammers for Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln

Commitment to community is a vibrant part of our culture at Ameritas. That’s why our associates are encouraged to volunteer in so many different ways.

Giving back means a lot to our associates. “I feel good volunteering, “said Jennifer Campbell of our group division. “This is my way of contributing to the community. I like to get my hands dirty and help out, and just be involved.”

Heather Anschutz, vice president and general counsel of the Ameritas group division, finds value not just personally, but for her team as well. When she learned about the opportunity to help build a home with Habitat for Humanity in Lincoln, Nebraska, home of Ameritas headquarters, she knew right away she wanted to get more associates involved.

“As soon as I saw the posting I was excited. I thought this was something we could do together as a team-building activity. You know, when someone has a hammer and nail right by your hammer and fingers, it’s a trust-building activity at the same time.”

Ameritas is proud to help make life more fulfilling in the communities we serve.

Taylor Family Foundation: Caring for kids with needs

The Taylor Family Foundation serves children and youth living with life-threatening and chronic illnesses, and developmental disabilities. Their Camp Arroyo creates community for these kids and their families—completely free of charge. David White and Associates (DWA) finds inspiration volunteering and fundraising for this great organization. Ameritas is proud to join them in this support and proud to be represented by independent financial practices like DWA that make life more fulfilling in their home towns.

2018 Lester A. Rosen Humanitarian & Achievement Award

The Lester A. Rosen Humanitarian and Achievement Award holds a special place of honor for our company.

This prestigious award bears the name of someone who was renowned as a great leader and giver within the financial industry, our company, his agency, UCL Financial Group, and his community of Memphis Tennessee.

The Rosen Award is now bestowed annually on one of our field partners who upholds Lester’s legacy and spirit. The recipient must have demonstrated both long-term success in their practice and long-term commitment to their community and the causes of humanity.

Our 2018 recipient, Frank S. Hennessey ChFC, has proven himself a true leader in every way. While building a highly successful financial practice, Frank has served the Greater Philadelphia community for decades, coaching youth sports and strongly supporting Catholic Education. He has also used his passion for the power of financial planning as trustee for a local nonprofit that is very near and dear to his heart – PLAN of PA provides planning, care management and trust services to assist people with behavioral health diagnoses or intellectual disabilities to build happier, healthier, more meaningful lives.

The Rosen Award comes with a $20,000 grant to a charity of the recipient’s choosing. Frank asked Ameritas to direct his Rosen Grant toward PLAN of PA.

Ameritas is proud to partner with Frank to make life more fulfilling in his hometown through the Rosen Grant.

Watch the video to learn more about this remarkable organization, and Frank’s role in keeping it strong and sustainable.

Miracle League in New Orleans brings the community together

Imagine being a kid, watching your friends or siblings playing in a great sports game. It looks like so much fun, but you’re not out there because you’ve got a special need or limitation. So you feel, well … sidelined.

That’s why Miracle League was created. Their mission is multi-faceted: to promote the health and well-being of children with disabilities; to provide opportunities for able-bodied children to learn about and interact with children with disabilities; and to develop community awareness and support for the child athlete with disabilities through organized sports leagues.

It’s a great idea and it’s getting bigger all the time. Miracle League serves more and more kids each year. And, they now offer opportunities to play baseball, basketball and soccer.

Does it make a difference? The smiling faces of everyone involved tell the story.

In New Orleans, Miracle League brings the whole community together. Keith Gillies of Wealth Solutions LLC and his family are passionate about helping out. See the video story to learn how Keith and his son Keagan have teamed up with the baseball organization at Brother Martin High School to help Miracle League of Greater New Orleans.

Ameritas is proud to be represented by independent financial professionals like Keith who make life more fulfilling in their hometowns.

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Fights fires, finds her purpose


The first thing firefighters do after reaching the scene of a fire is a 360-degree assessment to identify everything and everyone involved. AJ Kurtzer had done a similar assessment of her life while working on her master’s degree in management, but she didn’t come full circle until she became a firefighter herself.

In 2009, AJ, her husband and their three children moved to an acreage outside of Cortland, Nebraska, a small town a few miles south of Lincoln on U.S. Highway 77. Communities of this size often are described as close-knit. That tighter weave can be tough for newcomers to penetrate.

AJ’s idea for meshing with the community would occur only to someone with a desire to serve. She decided to join the volunteer fire department in 2012.

She had to choose between training to be a firefighter or an EMT. She chose the latter after learning about 60 percent of the department’s calls are medical.

When she’s not responding to medical calls or fighting fires, AJ works her day job, focusing on training and development at Ameritas Investment Corp.

“I’m grateful that Ameritas is devoted to developing people,” she said.

Thanks to the company’s supportive atmosphere and tuition reimbursement program, AJ decided to go for a master’s degree “to improve myself.”

AJ completed her EMT training in 2013 and her master’s degree in 2014, earning her Firefighter I certification a short time later. Today, she’s also a trainer with the State Fire Marshall’s office.

But AJ’s circle wasn’t complete until after telling her mother about becoming a firefighter.

“I said, ‘Guess what, Mom? I’m a firefighter.’ And she said, ‘I don’t think I ever told you, but when you were a little girl, you used to say you wanted to be a firefighter.’”

A few weeks later, AJ’s mother presented her with a framed firefighter’s certificate from 1938 awarded to her grandfather, Cecil Horton. Her mom had found the certificate one day while cleaning house.

It’s now displayed on AJ’s bedside table.

“Every morning, I wake up and know my purpose.”


Be a mentor, change the world

Ameritas associate, Ann DiersWhen Ameritas associate Ann Diers contemplated volunteering as a TeamMates mentor, she wondered if she could fit it into her busy life. Now working with her third mentee, she says not only does it fit, she probably gets more out of the experience than the student she mentors.

Recalling her first experience, Ann said, “Week after week, I met with my mentee in the school’s media center. Colleen’s grades were good and she seemed well liked, but she was so quiet. She didn’t seem to want to open up, although she answered direct questions when I asked about school and her family.

“As the weeks passed, it became apparent that Colleen liked science fiction and futuristic movies and stories. From little tidbits, I learned she also was interested in writing and drawing illustrations of her stories.

Finding a connection
“Our big moment came when Colleen shared some of her writing. The depth of her characters was amazing with intricate family histories and backstories, and she brought them all to life on paper. From then on, our time often involved me reading her work. Suddenly we had a lot to discuss.”

Ann often thinks of the time she and Colleen spent together “before she brought me into the rich world she created through her stories.”

“I’m not sure if this was our ’getting to know each other’ phase, or if she was just trying to figure out if she could trust me with her amazing characters and stories,” said Ann. “I’m honored that she felt comfortable sharing her creative work with me. It taught me that sometimes it might take a while for a TeamMates relationship to take root.

“I discovered there is no typical mentee,” Ann added. “My first one was quiet and another was a real talker.” During her association with TeamMates, Ann discovered students of all backgrounds and economic situations are on a waiting list for a mentor and need someone to listen to them.

A mentor’s influence can change a life
Ann remembers taking one of her mentees to a local college just to show her what the campus is like. a mentor playing chess with a young boyShe wanted to plant the idea that one day this student could go there and study whatever was of interest to her. Ann believes being a good mentor requires several steps:

  • Expose your mentee to new ideas.
  • Listen to his or her concerns.
  • Give encouragement.
  • Ultimately, see your student graduate from high school.

About TeamMates
: Read how a well-run mentoring program works and access free resources, including videos and tips, at

Ask about mentoring opportunities at your local school, church, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Scouts.

a collection of board games collected by volunteer mentors Ann coordinates the volunteer program for TeamMates at Ameritas, which today boasts 51 volunteers. Recently Ameritas hosted a TeamMates volunteer recruiting event. Volunteers collected board games to deliver to the 16 public and parochial schools at which they volunteer as mentors.

Building a field of dreams

Coach_and_kid_in_batting_cageSwampland. That’s what the Little League baseball facility in Weston, Massachusetts, was not too long ago. The community came together to transform this patch of land into a field of dreams for local youth – creating a place for them to play, compete, learn life lessons and thrive.

Today the Weston Little League is a vibrant and positive part of the community. Over 50 teams were fielded last spring season, opening opportunities for involvement to more families than ever before – opportunities that have grown through the dedication of donors, board members, coaches and parents.

Steve Bruneau is passionate about bringing a great growing experience to young people in his area through Little League. His financial practice, Boston 128 Companies, gave generously along with others to help build the new Little League complex. He has coached 38 teams in the space of nearly three decades.

“My greatest reward is if one of my players sees me years later and says, ‘Hey, Mr. Bruneau, I played for you in Little League, and I just want you to know it was a good experience.’”