Music & Arts Grant Recipients – 2023

Congratulations to all of the recipients of the 2023 California Casualty Music & Arts Grants! Our field team had the opportunity to do in-person presentations to award all the very deserving recipients with a check for $250 to put towards supporting their schools’ music or arts program.

Learn more about the California Casualty Music & Arts Grant, and our other Community Impact Program, the Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant.


Music and Arts Grant - Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark Elementary

Local President Melissa Funk, recipient Mckenzie Pollano, and Dee Dee Templeton from California Casualty.

Music & Arts Grant at Tenaya Middle

Tenaya Middle School

Music & Arts Grant recipient Nickie Seno and Chris Nieto from California Casualty

Music and Arts Grant - Adams City High School

Adams City High School

Jason Malmberg – District 14 Classroom Teachers Association President, Brendan Parker – Recipient, Jolie Spence – California Casualty, and Chris Garcia – Principal

Music and Arts Grannt Stonecreek Junior High

Stonecreek Junior High School

Chris Nieto from California Casualty and Music & Arts Grant recipient Kimberly Aguayo

Music and Arts Grant Edith Teter Elementary

Edith Teter Elementary School

California Casualty Music & Arts Grant recipient Kim Green

Music and arts grant Topeka High School

Topeka High School

Paula Reilly, Associate Principal; Dustin Dick, Principal; Josh Davis, Grant Recipient; Angela Neuroth, Topeka NEA President; Lindsay Buck, KNEA UniServ Director; Rebecca Stumpf, California Casualty

Music and arts grant South Elementary School

South Elementary School

Jolie Spence, California Casualty; Jessica Bush, recipient; and Kathey Ruybal, BEA President

Music and arts grant Liberty Elementary

Liberty Elementary School

Dee Dee Templeton from California Casualty and Music & Arts Grant recipient Stacy Ryan

Music and arts grant Sabin Middle School

Sabin Middle School

Daniel Carragher, Principal (it was pajama day); Megan Langdon and Jessica Medina, recipients; and Jolie Spence, California Casualty

Music and arts grant West Putnam Elementary School

West Putnam Elementary School

Patrisa Espinosa, principal at West Putnam Elementary, and recipient Stephanie Adegbenro 


Music and arts grant Woodglen Elementary School

Woodglen Elementary School

Jolie Spence from California Casualty and Music & Arts Grant recipient, Devan Willis

Music and arts grant Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School

Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School

California Casualty Music and Arts Grant recipient Lindsey Sparacino 

Music and arts grant Joe Stefani Elementary School

Joe Stefani Elementary School

Jessica Coronado, recipient of the California Casualty Music & Arts Grant

Music and arts grant Ella B. Allen Elementary School

Ella B. Allen Elementary School

Chelice Gilman, California Casualty Music & Arts Grant recipient

Music and arts grant Bear Creek K-8 School

Bear Creek K-8 School

Jolie Spence from California Casualty with Music & Arts Grant recipient, Angelina “Crow” Medina

Music and arts grant Hugh J. Boyd Jr. Elementary School

Hugh J. Boyd Jr. Elementary School

Nancy Corsaro, recipient of the California Casualty Music & Arts Grant

Music and arts grant Midway Elementary School

Midway Elementary School

Mitzi Hull, recipient of a 2023 Music & Arts Grant from California Casualty

Music and arts grant Cheldelin Middle School

Cheldelin Middle School

Music & Arts Grant recipient, David Blake and Dee Dee Templeton from California Casualty

Music and arts grant in Idaho

Koelsch Elementary

Lara Luthy, Boise Education Association president; Marci Greear, Music & Arts Grant recipient; and Layne McInelly, Idaho Education Association president

Music and arts grant - Charles in Idaho

Owyhee Elementary

Lara Luthy, Boise Education Association president; Charles Diemart, Music & Arts Grant recipient; and Layne McInelly, Idaho Education Association president

Music and arts grant - Emily in Idaho

Hillside Junior High

Lara Luthy, Boise Education Association president; Emily White, Music & Arts Grant recipient; and Layne McInelly, Idaho Education Association president

Music and arts grant - Miano Elementary School

Miano Elementary School

Monique Mowad, recipient of a California Casualty Music & Arts Grant

Music and arts grant Powell Middle School

Powell Middle School

Amanda Crosby, LEA President; Mindy Enley, recipient; and Jolie Spence, California Casualty

Diablo Vista Middle Cchool

Diablo Vista Middle School

Chavonta Edington, Music Teacher Ben Loomer, Principal Jeffrey Osbom, and Angie Rajczyk from California Casualty

olympic high school

Olympic High School

Angie Rajczyk from California Casualty with Grant recipient Unjoo Chang, and Principal Courtney Lyou


Mark West Charter School

Mark West Charter School

Angie Rayczyk from California Casualty with Music & Arts Grant recipient Lisa Chapman, and Principal Michelle Franci


valley verde elementary

Valley Verde Elementary School

California Casualty’s Angie Rajczyk with grant recipient Criag Yen, and Principal Mignon Perkins

olympic high school

Tynes Elementary School

Music & Arts Grant recipient Mary Stuckmeier, APLE President, Linda Manion and Principal, Tonya Gordillo


Barton Elementary School

Barton Elementary School

Principal, Sandy Bartoldus, and Music & Arts Grant recipient, Rosa Guzman


Locke College Prep Academy

Locke College Prep Academy

Music & Arts Grant recipient, Larry McDuffie with Principal, Peggy Gutierrez

lindstrom elem

Lindstrom Elementary School

Principal, Dr. Olga Rios, Jana Charles from California Casualty, and grant recipient, Lara Cummins


Madison elem

Madison Elementary School

AVP, Vivian Hanson, Santa Ana USD Trustee, Katelyn Brazer Aceves, Principal, Sara Marin, Grant Recipient, Maria Hollingsworth, (student aide, unknown) and President of SAEA, Sonta Garner-Marcelo


Oregon Education Association Foundation – Supporting Students in Need

Oregon Education Association Foundation – Supporting Students in Need

California Casualty has proudly worked with the Oregon Education Association (OEA) as their exclusive auto & home provider since 1974. Recently our Account Development Manager, DeeDee Templeton, made a visit to the OEA headquarters in Portland to meet with board members of the OEA Foundation to deliver a special contribution on behalf of the California Casualty Charitable Contributions Committee.

In attendance and pictured above (left to right):  Stephen Siegel – OEA Region I Vice President, Jennifer Underhill -OEA District 2 Board Director, Forrest Cooper – OEA District 4 Board Director,  Enrique Farrera – OEA Vice President, and DeeDee Templeton- California Casualty Account Development Manager. 

 The OEA Foundation provides educators with grants up to $100 to help students meet basic, urgent, and immediate needs so they can succeed in school. Over the past 28 years, the OEA Foundation has purchased countless pairs of eyeglasses, provided many students with their first warm winter coat, paid for dental work and doctor visits, fitted new shoes on lots of feet, and even replaced a broken bedroom window. The Foundation is completely funded through the generosity of our members and community partners, and 100% of funding is used to support Oregon’s students. 

The California Casualty Charitable Contributions Committee values the great work of the OEA Foundation and is honored to be able to provide support to the education community. OEA Vice President, Enrique Farrera stated “The OEA Foundation and students from all over Oregon appreciate the collaboration of California Casualty and their financial support. Without their contribution we would not be able to help so many students.”  

To learn more about the OEA Foundation and support this organization, visit here.

California Casualty Community Impact Initiatives

California Casualty Community Impact Initiatives

What began as a School Lounge Makeover has transitioned into a multitude of community giveback programs that have made a difference to you (and us!) over the last ten-plus years. We call them California Casualty Community Impact Programs or CCCI for short. They are the “brand energizers” or giveaways, grants, and sponsorships created to support your community endeavors.

The following is a brief list of different programs that we have offered throughout recent years. Please tell us what programs you would like to see again, and/or any new ideas that you would like to see introduced by commenting below.



Educators work hard and deserve a pleasing, well-functioning place to rejuvenate, plan, meet or have a meal. The School Lounge Makeover was piloted at Colfax Elementary School in Denver in 2010, and formally launched nationwide in 2011. The yearlong contest awarded four winning schools $7500 (one randomly drawn winner per quarter) to transform their school lounges with assistance from local designers, painters and others.



The California Casualty Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant Program was created to financially aid public middle and high school athletic programs impacted by reduced budgets. The program provides a grant of $1,000 for each public middle and high school awardee. Applications are received year-round. Applicants must be an active member of NEA or one of our participating administrator groups in the 44 states that California Casualty serves.



The California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence recognize educators whose professional practice and advocacy for the profession are exemplary. The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards with support from California Casualty, NEA Member Benefits, and Pearson Foundation. In addition to being honored at the Washington, D.C. gala, educators’ schools receive an award/gift from California Casualty. Nominations are made through state associations in the spring; the gala is held the following winter.



As Presenting Sponsor of the California School Recognition Program, California Casualty joins the California Department of Education (CDE) in celebrating the California educators that are exceeding expectations as they create safe, inclusive environments for learning. The California School Recognition Program recognizes these exceptional teachers, administrators, and classified employees through The California Teachers of the Year Gala,

The Classified Employees occasion, regional Gold Ribbon Recognition events across the state, and on-site Gold Ribbon Schools award presentations fulfilled by California Casualty Field Reps.



Help Your Classroom was an opportunity for NEA members who request a quote from California Casualty to be entered into a random, monthly drawing for $200. Knowing staff frequently spend out of pocket to provide the necessary tools for learning for their students, the funds were provided via email as a credit for an online vendor so the recipient could purchase classroom supplies and equipment to be delivered to their school.



A variety of public safety prizes have been given away under the theme of an annual “Work Hard, Play Hard” contest. We understand the demands of the job and the appreciation for opportunities to play just as hard. For this contest, firefighters, law enforcement, and EMTs are invited to simply enter to win – no strings attached. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. Prizes typically range in value from $7,500 to $10,000 – sometimes even more. To date, contest prizes include a SeaDoo personal watercraft; Harley Davidson 48; Polaris ATV (spring 2012); Bass Boat; DeWalt Tools, 5.11 Gear, and Liberty Safe; Garage Makeover, etc.



Firefighter shifts are long and, when not out on call, firefighters work and live in the same physical space. A tight economy has delayed or canceled station upgrades. Similar to the School Lounge Makeover, this giveaway gave the winning entry a $15,000 makeover for one fire station room with assistance from local designers, painters, and others. The winning package included new kitchen and laundry appliances from Maytag, a fresh coat of paint inside and out from Sherwin-Williams, and a big-screen, closed-circuit TV system from FireRescueTV.



In 2012, California Casualty originally coined the giveaway as a Nurses Night Out promotion to provide nurses the opportunity to blow off some steam – renting a limousine and hitting the town, hosting a party, or treating their co-workers to a fabulous meal at their favorite restaurant – in relief of the endless hours spent meeting the needs of patients and their families. The 2020 Nurses Night Out campaign honored these same frontline healthcare professionals as they battled COVID-19 – through incredibly long hours, heartbreaking care cases, and increased personal risk. It was then decided to change the tone and the look of the promotion to a message more appropriate for the times. The new look focuses more on the appreciation California Casualty and communities across the country – and around the world – have for the compassion, dedication, and personal sacrifice these Healthcare Heroes exemplify.



Over 90% of educators reach into their own pockets to provide instructional supplies, food, and personal care items for their students. California Casualty pitched in with the Academic Award program to help with the expense of classroom and student needs. The contest awarded multiple K-12 public school educators with a $2,500 Academic Award. The check was made payable to the school with an understanding that the funds will be designated for use by the winning administrator, classified employee, or teacher of that school.



To honor the everyday heroes we serve, California Casualty invited people to share the stories of heroes they knew. The “Nominate a Hero” program asked community members to share how a particular nurse, firefighter, educator, or peace officer made a difference in their lives and communities. Candidates for the Nominate a Hero program are nominated online by their family members, friends, and coworkers—and sometimes by strangers touched by their actions. A monthly winner received a $250 gift card and their place in our Hall of Heroes. An annual winner was then selected from the 12 monthly winners and received a $10,000 cash prize.



Created to assist schools in bringing artistic programs into the classroom, the Music and Arts Grants program considers grant requests for public K-12 schools whose music and arts programs are in jeopardy or in great need of funding. Requests will also be considered for individual classrooms wishing to integrate music and/or arts projects within school curriculum.   



Teen reckless and distracted driving is an epidemic, yet 100% preventable. Impact Teen Drivers works with you and other influencers to deliver a simple, yet life-saving message to young drivers and their passengers: Focus on the road ahead and get to where you are going safely. Developed as a multi-faceted approach, this powerful program gives advocates the flexibility to get involved on their own terms— from direct outreach and education through association or school presentations to Train-the-Trainers and Parent-Teen Safe Driving Workshops.



Students across the nation, aged 14-22, can win cash prizes for their best creative message against dangerous distracted driving. Utilizing peer-to-peer messages, Impact Teen Drivers and California Casualty encourage students to help spread the word that distracted driving, the number one killer of young drivers, can be reduced and prevented. The seasonal Create Real Impact contest (Spring and Fall) was initiated in 2009 to find proactive solutions to the deadly epidemic of inattentive teen driving.



Surrounded every day by children, educators know all too well how devastating the preventable death of a young person can be. As natural role models, educators’ actions are noticed by students and colleagues. That’s why California Casualty asked educators to “make the promise to drive focused,” complimenting the efforts of Impact Teen Drivers, a non-profit founded and supported by California Casualty to prevent distracted driving. Those who made a promise to drive focused were entered to win a new vehicle valued at $20,000.



Following the success and engagement of the Promise to Drive Focused campaign, California Casualty once again asked educators to “Keep on Course,” and get home safely by avoiding distracted driving. Educators who made a promise to drive safely were entered to win a new Jeep Compass from California Casualty. The year-long Keep on Course campaign was dedicated to preventing needless tragedies from inattentive/distracted (multi-tasking behind the wheel) driving.



Reminding educators of the importance of having the right insurance coverage for their stage in life, the “Wherever Your Journey Takes You, We’ll be There” sweepstakes showcased a comprehensive website of auto and home insurance information for the various stages of life, and offered educators the chance to win a new Dodge® Journey SUV.



As the Green Ribbon Schools Local Sponsor, California Casualty provides funds to each Washington Green Ribbon School awardee to help with expenses traveling to the national honors ceremony in July, held in Washington, D.C., or apply the funds toward further improving their green programs.


Looking ahead – California Casualty will continue to introduce grants, programs, and giveaways each year. While many are coming to an end this time of year, replacements are introduced in Q1 each year. Future Connection newsletters will share details as they are available.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

You Mean So Much To Us

You Mean So Much To Us

It takes great commitment to do what you do day in day out. We appreciate your efforts, and are proud to be a partner organization. In addition to our commitment to serving your insurance needs, California Casualty also sponsors, attends, and even creates programs that support you, your colleagues, and your families.



FFAM Firefighter Memorial


To celebrate our 25-year partnership with the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri, California Casualty provided a memorial wall sponsorship to the Fire Fighters Memorial Foundation of Missouri.

Field Marketing Manager Katelyn Hoffman and Strategic Account Manager Rebecca Stumpf just recently had a chance to see our etching. They had attended the FFAM Board Meeting the day before, and made a special stop on their way home.

Originally the duo had planned to celebrate our 25 year anniversary at the FFAM Annual Convention, but both the 2020 and 2021 conventions were canceled due to the pandemic



NFFF FDIC Memorial Stair Climb


Our team attended and sponsored the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation FDIC 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in Indianapolis, IN. This year marks 20 years since the September 11th attacks. These stair climbs are put in place to remember and honor those that we have lost, and to help raise funds for the families of other fallen or injured heroes.



2019 Firefighter of the Year


In July, the Los Angeles Firefighters Association and California Casualty honored retired Capt. Rick Godinez as the “2019 Firefighter of the Year” in L.A. after the initial ceremony was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic. Senior Field Marketing Manager, Charlene Rowens, had the privilege of handing Godinez his award on stage. He retired from the LAFD in April of 2020.



Educator $2,500 Jackpot


Shannon, an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher and California Teachers Association member from Palmdale School District, heard about the $2,500 Giveaway on the California Casualty Facebook page. She plans to use a good portion of the funds for her classroom and students, and the remainder to financially help her daughter who will be attending college in the fall.

Shannon has been a teacher for 30 years, attributing the kids as her reason for joining the profession. When asked what advice she would give to anyone interested in joining the field of education, Shannon, stated, “Be patient and flexible. This work requires you to be adaptable and always willing to learn.” She also shared that her CTA membership provides many resources and the support that she needs to do her job.

NJEA Member, Angela M., received the news that she was a winner virtually. Angela is a retired educator who taught Fourth and Fifth Grade for over 25 years in Bergen County, New Jersey. At age 93, and retired from the profession since 1990, Angela says she will most likely donate a part of her $2,500 winnings, but otherwise does not have plans for the money.

Angela recalls that when she was actively teaching, she and her students were a team – they worked together and learned from each other. She said that June and September were her least favorite months during the school year. She hated September because she had to pretend to be a big bad ogre so that the students thought she was tough, but she hated June because he meant she had to say goodbye to all of her friends.

One of our Q2 winners, Autumn Erickson, is a 5th-grade teacher at Mt Vernon School in Springfield, Oregon. Autumn was very surprised to find out she won a $2,500 Educator Jackpot from California Casualty. When asked how she wanted to spend the $2500, she said that she has some home improvement projects waiting, including painting. She also wants to buy raised garden beds for the yard.

Our second Q2 winner has not received the surprise news that they are a winner. Our Field Team is working diligently to schedule that presentation.




Operation Backpack

giving back
giving back

Throughout the entire month of July, our Kansas City gathered school supplies and donations for Phoenix Family’s Operation Backpack. This initiative gives school supplies to low-income families in the Kansas City community. Our Kansas employees donated a total of 31 backpacks completely stuffed with school supplies, like kleenex, paper, pens, sharpens, glue, etc. to help local students succeed and make them feel confident as they walk through the door on that first day of school.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

NEA Member Benefits Expands “Extended Family” Definition

NEA Member Benefits Expands “Extended Family” Definition

NEA Member Benefits recently added siblings to the list of family members eligible to access the NEA Auto and Home Insurance Program provided by California Casualty. Referred to as an NEA Member’s “Extended Family,” parents, in-laws, adult children, and now siblings can take advantage of the special rates, deep discounts, and personalized service available through the NEA Auto and Home Insurance Program.

California Casualty offers policyholders special benefits, such as:

    • Rates good for a full year, not six months like many insurers offer
    • Auto insurance that covers $500 for non-electronic items taken from your vehicle
    • $0 deductible for accidents in a rental car
    • Broad policy protection for anyone they allow to drive your vehicle
    • Free ID defense
    • Free pet injury coverage up to $1,000
    • Holiday or summer skip payment options
    • Exceptional towing and roadside assistance availability

Plus, as an NEA Member, you have more exclusive benefits, including:

    • Waived/reduced deductible for collision or vandalism while parked on school property
    • Educators excess liability coverage for protection in the classroom
    • Fundraising coverage with $0 deductible for goods/funds valued up to $500 while under your care at school
    • And more!

Tell your family (and colleagues) about the NEA Auto and Home Insurance Program. Members who switch see an average of $423 in savings. 


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or

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