Student athletes throughout the Longview Independent School District (ISD) in East Texas are gaining a diversified set of benefits derived from a successful marketing partnership DistrictWON created for the ISD and a local Farmers Insurance agency.
On one side of the public-private partnership, the monetary support from the Longview, Texas-based Farmers Insurance for the Longview ISD community has allowed the Lobo sports teams to provide new game uniforms to its girls and boys basketball teams, according to Longview ISD Athletic Director and Head Football Coach John King.
“That, in turn, allows those two sports to use their equipment budget for needed items we would not be able to purchase,” King explained. “And the monetary donation will be used for other athletic teams in areas not covered by their budget.”
Support from Farmers Insurance also helps make positive differences in the ISD’s athletic and activities programs, said the athletic director.
“Support from Farmers Insurance assists us in ways our budget will not,” King said. “We are able to provide coaches with professional development, field equipment and other incidentals not covered in our budget.”
For local Farmers Insurance agency owner Sean Goram-Welch, the DistrictWON partnership forged with Longview ISD has allowed him to continue a personal relationship he had for several years with the school district as a Christian character coach while his son attended Longview High School.
“During COVID, I got cancer so I wasn’t able to continue my work with the school district as a character coach,” Goram-Welch said. “So, coming out of COVID, coming out of cancer and recovering from it, these things changed my life. I didn’t have the time to invest like I did when I was the character coach. I was looking for a way to continue to be plugged in and to support the kids, the school district, the administrators and the coaches.”
“I love what they do. I love their service heart,” he added. “It’s the same attitude I have; it’s about plugging into young kids and young people and helping them grow into being outstanding Christian young men and women. I was looking for a way to support them in a different manner as much as I was before.”
“DistrictWON, to me, was that avenue to be able to still show them support,” said the business owner.
Goram-Welch gave money to the Longview ISD’s athletic department and donated funds for team jerseys as a way “to let the kids know that people outside the school district care about them and are interested in their futures and successes as students.”
In Texas, he said, school districts don’t have huge athletic budgets, and the money raised for student athletes — whether it goes to purchase uniforms, or pre-game meals and post-game meals — is done through fundraisers and booster clubs.
“Longview ISD is not a rich school district and there’s not a ton of money laying around,” said Goram-Welch. “Any money we can scrounge together is to make sure these kids have a top-notch experience as a student athlete.”
The partnership between Farmers Insurance and the Longview ISD also has benefited the local insurance agency, he added.
For example, Goram-Welch said he put up a table, and did a give away and presentation at mid quarter during a recent Lobo football game.
“It allowed us to garnish some clients from the event, as well as increase recognition by the teachers and administrators that my agency was giving money and time back to the school district,” said Goram-Welch. “In turn, they have reached out and given the agency their business.”
Additionally, the company has had branded signage displayed during football and basketball games, and contributed posts on the school district’s social media pages.
“I have enjoyed this partnership and plan on doing it again next year,” Gorham-Welch said. “I think it has been worthwhile.”