Hunter Hope Fund wins Safeco grant

August 19, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

The voters have spoken, and Hunter-Williams Insurance Agency in Portsmouth has won a $10,000 donation for the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund in the Safeco Insurance “Make More Happen” vote-off.

This means a total of $12,000 in grants will go to the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, which received $2,000 when Hunter-Williams Insurance was selected earlier this summer for a 2013 Make More Happen Award based on an application and a photo showing employees volunteering for the nonprofit. The Make More Happen Awards are designed to recognize independent insurance agencies that build a stronger community through volunteer work, while supporting their efforts through grants to nonprofit organizations.

Fifty-three awards were given, and 23 of those became finalists to win an additional $10,000 from Safeco — if they could get enough people to vote for them online. Users were invited to vote for free, once a day, until 1 p.m. Monday (Aug. 19). At the end, the top four agencies with the most votes would win the grant.

Named in the memory of their son, Mark and Virgie Hunter started the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund Powerpack Program in 2010 with 120 students at the Portsmouth City School District. Today the program has grown to serve nearly 500 students in nine local school districts. The program provides each student with five pounds of food to take home for the weekend.

Hunter-Williams Insurance Agency was in the Top 12 spot two weeks ago, and moved up to at least seventh place just last week. With less than a week to go, Hunter embarked a frenzied campaign to get out the votes, and finished in third place Monday, making the final four cut to receive the Safeco grant.

“Hunter-Williams Insurance Agency is honored to have come out on top in the Make More Happen contest and to help the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund build a stronger community,” said Mark and Virgie Hunter. “Thanks to everyone who supported us in the online vote-off. We hope our efforts and Safeco’s Make More Happen Awards inspire others to make a difference through volunteering.”

Earlier this year the Hope Fund won 11,000 votes and finished first in a national Wal-Mart online voting campaign, and won $20,000 for its cause.

“We are so blessed to live in such a giving, caring community,” Hunter said.

To get involved, or learn about how to support the organization’s mission, go to www.stevenshopefund.org. The Hope Fund’s largest fundraiser, the annual Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund Tennis Tournament is Sept. 7, and is still accepting sponsorships. Forms will be available on the Hope Fund website.

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.