In the donor spotlight
Thomas M. Buckingham, FSA
Member of Foodshare's Bridging the Gap Campaign Cabinet
Thomas Buckingham is executive vice president of The Phoenix Companies, Inc, a boutique life insurance and annuity company in Hartford. At Phoenix, he is responsible for all product- and service-related functions, including product development, product implementation, and operations.
Buckingham joined Phoenix as an actuarial assistant in 1999 and served in increasingly senior corporate, product development and operational positions. He also has worked in strategic development and as chief of staff to the CEO. He served as senior vice president, Product Implementation and Operations, before being promoted to his current role in 2012.
He is also a long-time donor to Foodshare and a member of organization’s Cabinet for the Bridging the Gap Campaign. "I have believed in Foodshare's mission and business model since I first learned about the organization 10 years ago,” he says. “I got involved with the campaign to help a great organization deliver on its mission to end hunger.” Buckingham first served on Foodshare’s finance committee, before being asked to join the organization’s comprehensive campaign cabinet.
“When I first saw the campaign materials that got put together, I was really impressed with the story and how it was laid out,” he says. “And Gloria had a clear vision of what the organization could do. It’s not just about getting more food; it’s about trying to address the number of people who need help and attacking the problem from both sides. If you don’t address the need, I’m not sure how you can solve the problem long-term.”
“I think a lot of people, when they think about hunger, they think about some guy living under a bridge,” he says. “But when I see the stats, one in five children, it’s obviously far more pervasive than people realize. If people understood that, that it’s in your own neighborhood, they would see that you can go out and raise all the food you want, but the reality is that if you don’t help people with the other things, you can’t do anything. It’s about sustainability.”
Community service is a fundamental value for Tom Buckingham: he has been involved with Special Olympics and the United Way in addition to his Foodshare work. He says that his civic-mindedness has been inspired by his mother. “She is one of the most giving people I’ve ever met,” he says, “doing whatever she can to help other people. Also, I went to Catholic high school in Massachusetts, and it’s just one of the things I’ve always been interested in.”