Updated March 27 at 6:35pm

Firms turning to charitable funds

By Richard Asinof
Contributing Writer
In order to create a more efficient, cost-effective system of charitable giving, Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage Inc., recently created a corporate-advised charitable fund at The Rhode Island Foundation. More

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A PBN SPECIAL SECTION: 2010 GIVING GUIDE

Firms turning to charitable funds

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In order to create a more efficient, cost-effective system of charitable giving, Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage Inc., recently created a corporate-advised charitable fund at The Rhode Island Foundation.

The East Providence-based company is one of almost 20 local corporations that have set up charitable funds with the foundation. Others include Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Cox Communications, Delta Dental and Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP. A minimum amount – $10,000 – is required to set up such a charitable fund, according to foundation spokeswoman Melanie Coon.

Starkweather earned $33 million in gross revenue in 2009, employing 175 insurance professionals in seven offices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, according to company officials.

“From Starkweather & Shepley’s point of view, we are a very successful company. We’ve been doing business in Rhode Island for more than 131 years,” said William P. McGillivray, 59, the firm’s chairman and chief financial officer, who has worked at the insurance company for more than three decades. “We’ve always given back to the community. We’ve supported many charities. But now, we wanted to do it in a more organized way. We wanted a more formalized way of giving back to the community for [its] support of us for all these years.”

Part of the decision, he said, was recognition that the challenging economy of the last few years has hurt many Rhode Islanders, and Starkweather & Shepley wanted to be able to continue its long-standing charitable contributions to the community. “In today’s economy, I don’t know how many companies are increasing or maintaining their charitable giving. We are making a commitment to continue what we’ve done in the past,” McGillivray said.

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