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‘They’re going to remember that someone thought to help them’

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Actions speak louder than words for the new chairman who heads up charitable contributions in Bermuda made by the Oil Group of Companies.

Ted Henke, senior vice president and general counsel at OIL and Oil Casualty Insurance Company (OCIL) believes that it’s not just what you do, but how you do it that matters.

With the help of the company’s committee charged with selecting charities to sponsor, the group recently donated $71,500 for 112 children to attend summer day camps during the school break.

They partnered with the Coalition for the Protection of Children (CPC) “to get children to avoid all the problems that come with having nothing to do during the summer months”.

Said Mr Henke: “I think that’s going to have a big impact. I think the children sponsored are going to remember that.

“They’re going to remember that somebody thought to help them, hopefully it will start to break any kind of bad cycle and maybe help in some small way correct the problems for the future.

“We looked at the troubles involving children when it comes to the gang mentality and things like that. We asked ourselves how do you start to break that cycle and we think the CPC helps.”

In the past he said the Charitable Contributions Committee gave small amounts of money to disperse over a broad cross section of local charities.

But he said there’s more to it than just giving money to charity. Now there are plans for the staff to take a hands-on approach.

Both companies employ 46 staff members, with more than half Bermudians.

“Our staff wants to donate their time as volunteers as well. So it’s not just money, it’s corporate involvement with children and our staff to work with the camps.

“It’s really more than just giving money and we’re in the process of working it out. We will do it, it’s just a question of how we will work it out.

“It’s important because it’s one thing if corporations just gives money, that’s nice, it’s important and it’s needed but it doesn’t get to the level of involvement.

“We’re really trying to say to Bermuda thank you for having us here, thank you for giving us very good and valuable important workers.

“Having the staff actually participate in the charity is just another level of commitment; and it feels good,” he said.

“OIL and OCIL have long taken the view that giving back to Bermuda, whether through charitable contributions or scholarships, is part of our make up,” said Mr Henke.

Both companies have jointly sponsored scholarships for two students each year for the past 20 years.

“We have had a recent shift in philosophy. Since funds for giving are not unlimited and there are so many worthy causes in Bermuda, in order to have a real impact we decided to select fewer recipients.”

“Beyond the financial help, members of our staff are eager to help on a personal level. It is this type of commitment that typifies the OIL and OCIL staffs. The committee members, all Bermudians, chose to help children and that led us to the CPC.”

As a younger man he said he would be the first to admit that he was one of the business-types who was not inclined to support charities of any kind.

“When I was doing my MBA that’s where I was, I was like don’t give away money at all. I’ve changed since then, when you get older you have a different perspective,” said Mr Henke.

“You go through things, you see what the needs are. But there’s still people who think don’t give money away because not everybody changes.

“Ours is purely a thank you to Bermuda, it’s corporate philanthropy. It’s basically just giving the money out for good purposes and I think that’s right.”

And from a business man’s perspective he said it’s important to know why you’re giving to charities.

“A lot of these companies don’t give because they don’t know why they would give. And the companies that give, they give a lot of money but some don’t know what they’re doing or why.

“I think you really have to understand what you’re trying to do,” he said.

“What we’re really trying to do is give back to Bermuda. And having people involved in doing things really makes a difference in the workplace as well as in the place where you’re helping out.

“You have to really understand why you should do something. It’s like any other business strategy, if you don’t have a strategy and work to execute it you’re not going to do it.”

OIL and OCIL are international powerhouses in the energy insurance field based in Bermuda.

OIL bills itself as the cornerstone of some of the largest energy insurance programs in the world with over $4 billion in combined capital.

Mr Henke concluded: “Many in Bermuda are unaware of these influential companies operating on the island. I think there’s a lot of good spirit in Bermuda, we’ve just got to tap into it.”

Youngsters found plenty to do at a summer camp organised by the Coalition for the Protection of Children, which was sponsored by the Oil Group of Companies.
Youngsters found plenty to do at a summer camp organised by the Coalition for the Protection of Children, which was sponsored by the Oil Group of Companies.
Youngsters found plenty to do at a summer camp organised by the Coalition for the Protection of Children, which was sponsored by the Oil Group of Companies.
Youngsters found plenty to do at a summer camp organised by the Coalition for the Protection of Children, which was sponsored by the Oil Group of Companies.
Youngsters found plenty to do at a summer camp organised by the Coalition for the Protection of Children, which was sponsored by the Oil Group of Companies.
Youngsters found plenty to do at a summer camp organised by the Coalition for the Protection of Children, which was sponsored by the Oil Group of Companies.
Youngsters found plenty to do at a summer camp organised by the Coalition for the Protection of Children, which was sponsored by the Oil Group of Companies.
Making a difference: Ted Henke, of the OIL Group of Companies.

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Published July 17, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 16, 2013 at 11:15 pm)

‘They’re going to remember that someone thought to help them’

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