After a tornado ripped through Jefferson City, Mo., on May 22, staff at Missouri's public pension funds stepped up to assist in recovery efforts in the state capital.
Missouri State Employees' Retirement System's employee club donated $650, which would otherwise be used for social events, to the United Way for disaster assistance, spokeswoman Candy Smith said in an email. Ronda Stegmann, executive director of the $8.2 billion pension fund, also said in an email to employees that those who donate $10 or more can wear jeans for the month of June.
A number of MOSERS staff volunteered through Samaritan's Purse and United Way organizations in Jefferson City to help clean up. Tracy Upschulte, senior strategic communications analyst, said she volunteered through United Way.
"Looking at pictures is one thing, but to see the destruction in person … there are no words. ... A resident of Jefferson City for almost 30 years, it doesn't surprise me that the community has banded together to help our fellow neighbors," Ms. Upschulte said.
Penny Thomas, education and outreach specialist at the $7.4 billion Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System, said the tornado touched down about 500 feet from her house. "We are in awe of the quick response from first responders and local law enforcement and firefighters."
LAGERS employees were given some options on how to assist the community, said Jeff Kempker, assistant executive director, member services, who also had to repair his parents' roof. One of LAGERS' non-profit partners, Redeem Project Ministry, is matching donations through June 15 thanks to an anonymous donor, and employees are also encouraged to donate items or money for disaster recovery kits.
Craig Husting, chief investment officer at the $41.7 billion Missouri Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems, said in an email that its building on the west side of Jefferson City escaped the damage concentrated on the east side. He said numerous employees volunteered through local churches and the United Way, and the pension fund's employee club will make a donation at the end of June to the Jefferson City United Way that will directly benefit victims.