The Art of Giving Back

How an inspirational agent gives back to her community.


For Colleen Frentzel, being an American Family Insurance agent is about helping people — and this is one charitable woman who leads by example. Because not only is she a motivated agent inspired to be a go-to source for her customers — she’s an advocate for bettering her community.

Colleen learned the ins and outs of the industry in her 16 years as an agent’s customer service rep. In 2014, she took that knowledge and experience to launch her own agency in Janesville, Wisconsin. And truth be told, we’re sure glad she did. Because in the last five years since she started her agency, Colleen has not only worked full-time helping customers gain confidence in their insurance, but she’s also dedicated herself to supporting her community with a number of passionate projects that raise money for a variety of charities.

“I’ve always wanted to help when I see someone in need,” says Colleen. “Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money, but giving back and volunteering was something I learned was important. I’ve always been conscientious of the struggles around me. There are so many people and organizations needing help. It’s part of our human duty to give back whatever way we can.”

Her agency won the Community Impact Award at American Family’s annual Spring Awards Banquet, and as she listed off all the events she’s helped put on, it was hard to keep up.

For starters, she and #TeamColleen — her agency’s nickname — organize or support at least two, if not more, fundraisers a month. They’ll work with restaurants who are willing to donate 10% of the evening’s food proceeds to a charity that their agency is involved with. Organizations such as Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Making Strides (American Cancer Society) are common recipients.

She also often participates in American Family’s One Saturday to Dream Fearlessly events. This is the perfect platform for her agency to pair with, since, like Colleen and her passionate team, its goals are all about lifting up their fellow community members. Giving back to her community is extremely important to Colleen and her staff, so her agency often hosts open houses for her customers and the community as a way to do just that.

And Colleen doesn’t stop there! Perhaps the most unique way she supports charities is by featuring local artists’ work at her agency office. When she opened her agency, she wasn’t sure how she wanted to decorate — she just knew she wanted something interesting, to involve her wife’s artwork, and, because it’s Colleen, she of course wanted to benefit the community, too.

Now, her office walls feature artwork — front-and-center — for her customers to enjoy. For her, it’s not only a chance for beautiful décor, it’s also an opportunity to showcase talent and raise money for charities.

Colleen features several artists’ work during a year. If customers like a piece, they can purchase it. It gives the artists a chance to display their work and make a profit. But, there’s more to it than that.

She wants to make a difference.

Colleen and each artist partner with a nonprofit organization of the artist’s choosing, giving part of the proceeds to benefit that charity. Since she started displaying artwork, she’s featured six artists, including her wife’s, and raised approximately $3,000 for charity.

When asked about why she supports local charities, Colleen says, “The reason why we do as much as we do is because we’re all motivated to give back as much as we can.”

Colleen spends most of her time between work and organizing events for her community — in fact, she unapologetically works 60-70 hours a week between the two. So it’s not surprising to hear that upon retirement, she and her wife plan to move to the country, live on an alpaca farm and simply relax. And for all the work that Colleen does for other people, we think she deserves it.


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Related Topics: Agent and Employee Stories , Community Involvement , Empathy