Community Involvement

Northwestern Mutual in Dallas Honored with Community Impact Award

Northwestern Mutual's Dallas network office has been honored with the 2012 Community Impact Award for its work with the TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation. The Dallas-based nonprofit organization raises awareness, supports families and funds research to help find a cure for childhood cancer. To honor the office’s outstanding volunteer efforts, the TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation will receive a $50,000 grant from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation.

TeamConnor will use the grant to help take the Coins for Kids with Cancer campaign to the national level. The school-driven campaign, run within elementary and high schools, helps to raise awareness of childhood cancer and allows students to donate coins for childhood cancer research.

Northwestern Mutual’s Dallas-based office launched TeamConnor in 2008 after Managing Partner Tait Cruse’s son – Connor – was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which is one of the most common cancers affecting young children. After Connor’s passing in 2009, the Northwestern Mutual team committed to raising money to fund research into new, innovative treatments for children with cancer.

The Community Impact Award was presented at Northwestern Mutual’s 2012 Southern Regional Meeting, held in Atlanta, in February. The award annually recognizes Northwestern Mutual offices that demonstrate exemplary volunteerism in their own communities.

For more information, watch this video.

Thousands attend Super Bowl Breakfast in Grapevine

By David Alvey. Photos by Courtney Perry & David Alvey

Faith. Family. Football. It was a recurring theme at the Athletes in Action (AIA) NFL Super Bowl Breakfast February 5 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine. Speaker after speaker…from Bart Starr and Drew Brees to Alicia Landry and Drew Pearson and many others… emphasized that this is the model for success on the gridiron and, more importantly, the formula for a fulfilling life.

“This was a very inspirational and motivational event,” said Tait Cruse, managing partner of Northwestern Mutual in Dallas, presenting sponsor of the event. “I’m glad I brought my nine-year-old son Carson with me. It’s important for him to see there are successful athletes and businessmen who have their priorities and values straight.”

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was awarded the 2011 AIA Bart Starr Award for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. NFL players from around the League vote on the Bart Starr Award at the same time they cast their Pro Bowl ballots.

“Adversity is in everyone’s life,” said Brees. “As athletes, it might be an injury. For someone else, it might be their job or the economy. Adversity is there to mold you and strengthen you to become who you’re meant to be. Overcoming adversity teaches you to turn a negative into a positive. And that’s how you succeed.”

Former Green Bay Packers greats Bart Starr and Donny Anderson joined former Dallas Cowboys legends Bob Lilly, Lee Roy Jordan and Rayfield Wright to re-live the 1967 NFL Championship Game between the Cowboys and Packers, dubbed the “Ice Bowl.” Despite icy roads and freezing temperatures, more than 2,400 people attended the 2011 Super Bowl Breakfast, an NFL sanctioned event hosted by Athletes in Action. The signature event has taken place in the game's host city every year since 1988, drawing sellout crowds to hear from some of the game’s biggest names.

YouTube Video of Event




Northwestern Mutual's Dallas network office is a proud contributor to the University of North Texas. As a donor to the University, Northwestern Mutual helped fund construction of the Career Center and has name recognition in the interview suites.

TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation

On May 15, 2005, after complaining of a mild tummy ache, Joy Cruse took four-year-old Connor to the hospital just as any mother would do. After a day of tests, Joy and Tait Cruse were stunned to learn just how sick little Connor was.

Connor was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma which is one of the most common solid tumors of early childhood usually found in babies or young children. Most patients, including Connor, have a widespread disease at diagnosis, with a prognosis of 30% survival.

Connor underwent two autonomous stem cell transplants, numerous surgeries, and almost constant chemotherapy beginning immediately following that one dreadful day. He received treatments in Dallas, Boston, New York, Houston, and Guatemala. Joy and Tait spent four years of frantic searching for any treatment that would arrest this disease. There were no special experts guiding them. They were faced with making numerous crucial decisions concerning Connor’s medical care. They did their own research and phoned other parents who had children with Neuroblastoma in order to find trials and experimental treatments that might save little Connor's life.

Despite the heroic efforts of his parents and Connor’s fighting spirit, Connor lost his battle with Neuroblastoma on July 10, 2009.

Most pediatric cancer treatments have NOT improved much in the past 20 years. How can progress be made with the dismal amount of attention and funding that pediatric cancer research receives? For the most vulnerable, blameless cancer victims, this is unacceptable. That is why the TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation was formed.

Today, there are many children like Connor. Children and families that have exhausted their standard treatment protocol and were not cured of cancer. More dollars means more research and more treatments available for children with cancer, ultimately finding the cure.

For the second year, Northwestern Mutual in Dallas was the presenting sponsor of the III Forks Golf Classic benefiting TeamConnor. An auction and dinner was held at III Forks the night before the tournament. The night featured a live auction with the exciting and entertaining, Rick Stacy, as the auctioneer. Pete Delkus, of Channel 8, emceed the event. The golf tournament was held at Gleneagles with 200 golfers participating. The event raised over $200,000 for pediatric cancer research and awareness.

Pictured are: TC Founding Memeber Tait Cruse, TC Executive Directre Jennifer Koi Bolton, III Forks Proprietor Chris Vogeli, Kat Robinson, Laurent Robinson, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, and 2012 TC Golf Chair Richard Asel.


TeamConnor and Northwestern Mutual in Dallas held a Toy Drive, then donated the toys to Medical City Children's Hospital to brighten Christmas for kids spending the holidays in the hospital. Parents were given the opportunity to pick out Christmas toys for their children with the toys donated.






Pictured are: Front Row: Angela Hapka, Jennifer Bolton. Back row: Kirsten Black, Amanda Cox, Brittney Simeone, Meredith Moore 

Chip Moody Golf Classic

The Texas Financial Group - DallasNorthwestern Mutual in Dallas was the presenting sponsor of the Children’s Medical Center Chip Moody Golf Classic. The funds from the event are used to support Children’s Medical Center Dallas, a private, non-profit institution, developed just for kids. It is the only Dallas healthcare facility that deals exclusively with a variety of diseases and disorders among children from birth to age 18.

Pictured are: Tait Cruse, Eddie Caldwell, Jim Stevens, Alex Beilin, Patrick Matthews, Chad Armstrong, Hugh McFadden, Scott Sweet, Jay Courtney, Jack Sheets

Säjai® Foundation 

The Northwestern Mutual Foundation provided funding to the Säjai® Foundation for an expansion project titled “Learning to be Healthy in Afterschool.” Three hundred kids in the Dallas area participated in the 10 week program through a partnership with Dallas Park and Recreation Department.




HELPS International

HELPS is also committed to assisting the people of the developing world through programs in education and literacy, medicine and projects of practical and social concern. Northwestern Mutual in Dallas teamed up with HELPS International to present the Mayan Artist Demonstration, "Indigenous Vestures and Weavings," at The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) Orientation Theater.

The funds from the event are used to support HELPS International, a Dallas-based private, non-profit institution that brings medical relief to the people of Guatemala. HELPS is also committed to assisting the people of the developing world through programs in education and literacy, medicine and projects of practical and social concern.



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