The Give Something Back Foundation recently hired a Director of Philanthropy, but we didn’t go through the usual employment agency or job board route to fill this important position. Instead, we dipped into a pool of candidates we are particularly proud of — our GSBF alumni.

Frances Higgins Brodeur was part of GSBF’s first cohort of scholars in 2003. Raised by a single mother (she never met her father), no one in Frances’ family had gone to college; she would be the first. For both Frances and her mother, it was a dream come true.

Shortly after Frances entered Ohio State University, her mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. She lived to see Frances walk across the stage to accept her diploma, but passed away a few short weeks later.

Frances was left to figure things out on her own. And she did, landing an entry-level position at Chubb Insurance where in just eight years she rose through the ranks with four promotions. At the age of 30, she was proud to be the youngest officer in her division.

To Bob Carr, GSBF’s founder, Frances’ story has always been especially inspirational as it embodies the spirit of the foundation he created. Though Frances did not have the fundraising background that would have secured this Director of Philanthropy title for other candidates, Frances possessed something Bob felt was more important than experience — she possessed grit.

“She was the first person I thought of when we decided to hire a Director of Philanthropy,” said Bob. “I personally know what it’s like to encounter adversity at a young age. If you could survive that, there’s nothing you can’t do.”

When Frances told Chubb Insurance she was leaving the company to help raise money for the foundation that gave her her big break, so she can help give other students the same opportunity, Chubb’s employees immediately set out to honor Frances in a way she would appreciate most — through the Give Something Back Foundation.

“They contacted GSBF and set up a crowd-funding page without me even knowing about it! It was amazing,” said Frances. “Then Bob offered to match the donations $2 for every $1!”

So far, her former colleagues at Chubb have raised nearly $4,000 for the Give Something Back Foundation, which will be matched 2-to-1 as Bob Carr promised once the crowd-funding site comes down.

“With this money — and the other money we are raising every day — the Give Something Back Foundation is growing, which means we will be able to send even more kids like me to college,” added Frances. “I am deeply touched by what Chubb did for me, and having the support of such a large corporation is huge for the future of the foundation and its students.”

What a wonderful way to give back.