The Merchants Bonding
Company Foundation

2023 Annual Report

The mission of the Merchants Bonding Company Foundation is to provide support to non-profit organizations to improve our communities, and enrich the lives of children in the communities we serve.

Milestone Year Culminates in Record-Breaking Giving

Total Giving Since Inception: $3,036,690

Merchants’ Foundation was formed in 2008 in celebration of its 75th anniversary and to foster a culture of giving back. Philanthropy was one of the most powerful ways Merchants Bonding Company marked its 90th anniversary with new records for single-event fundraising and total annual giving.

Additional Giving

$90,000 to Construction and Surety

A $90,000 donation by the Foundation not only honored Merchants’ 90th anniversary but also recognized the importance of the ongoing partnership between the construction and surety industries with funds directed to scholarships programs supporting the next generation of industry professionals.


Associated General Contractors Workforce Development Scholarships


SFAA Surety & Fidelity Intern & Scholarship Program

$42,640 to United Way of Central Iowa

United Way of Central Iowa works to give every central Iowan the opportunities to succeed by providing quality, equitable access to the 5 Elements of a Thriving Community:


Essential Needs


Early Childhood Success


Education Success


Economic Opportunity


Health & Well-Being

36 Matching Gifts Totaling $7,744

Organizations addressing the cares and concerns of associates and agent partners receive support through Merchants’ matching gift program.

325.75 Volunteer Hours to 33 Organizations

All eligible associates receive 7.5 hours of paid volunteer time off (VTO) each year to participate in community services activities of their choice.

2023 Focus Charity

EveryStep Logo

Each year, Merchants Bonding Company Foundation chooses a focus charity to support and EveryStep’s Stork’s Nest program was the 2023 selection. The program is an important support network for disadvantaged families in our community, providing essential items like cribs, car seats, formula, and diapers to give babies a safe and healthy start in life.

Bill Warner Sr. Memorial Charity Golf Classic

2023’s premier fundraising event for EveryStep was the Bill Warner Sr. Memorial Charity Golf Classic. Held every other year, the tournament raised a record-breaking $171,278 for the Stork’s Nest program thanks to the generosity of the event’s participants and sponsors. The program also received 20,000 diapers donated through the Foundation’s Stack Up to Stock Up drive.


Golfers – New Record!




Raised – New Record!


Diapers Collected

Community Outreach Council

The Foundation formed the Community Outreach Council (COC), a committee of dedicated Merchants associates who encourage and facilitate financial giving and volunteer efforts throughout the company and our community.

Headshot of Jesseca Gepner
Jesseca Gepner


Headshot of Dakota Ingles
Dakota Ingles


Headshot of Aleah Vaske
Aleah Vaske
Headshot of Amanda Brunkhorst
Amanda Brunkhorst
Headshot of Deanne Edwards
Deanne Edwards
Headshot of Dustin Higginbotham
Dustin Higginbotham
Headshot of Eli Krambeer
Eli Krambeer
Headshot of Hannah Burton
Hannah Burton
Headshot of Hillary Vrieze
Hillary Vrieze
Headshot of Kate Mykhalova
Kate Mykhalova
Headshot of Katy Onthank
Katy Onthank
Headshot of Kim Phillips
Kim Phillips
Headshot of Kyle Nielsen
Kyle Nielsen
Headshot of Margie Spencer
Margie Spencer
Headshot of Michael Vigen
Michael Vigen
Headshot of Michelle Cole
Michelle Cole
Headshot of Olivia Danner
Olivia Danner
Headshot of Ryan Hunt
Ryan Hunt

Shining Star Award

Shining Star winner Doug Mercer in the middle holding certificate with his wife on the left and Seth Baker on the right

Shining Star Winner Doug Mercer

Doug Mercer, territory directory of contract underwriting in Austin, Texas, was selected as Merchants Bonding Company’s 2023 Shining Star for his involvement with the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. The 19-day-long event raises funds for college and trade school scholarships. Throughout his extensive tenure as a volunteer, Doug has taken on increasing responsibilities. The event he currently directs, the Go Rodeo Roundup, achieved a remarkable feat netting more than $400,000 in a single night. Doug’s involvement is year-round, on a near daily basis, with the support of his wife. Doug says his connection to the students is what drives his enormous commitment.

Shining Star runner-up Kyle Nielsen holding certificate next to Bill Warner, Jr.

Shining Star Runner-up Kyle Nielsen

Merchants also recognized Kyle Nielsen, product compliance specialist in West Des Moines, Iowa, as the 2023 Shining Star runner-up. Kyle is involved in the community on many levels; not only does he coach through the YMCA, and volunteer at his kids’ school, but he’s an active supporter of the Eat Greater Des Moines food rescue program. Every weekend, Kyle and his family collect donated food from Trader Joe’s and transport it to a community program catering to families in need. Kyle's active participation in Merchants’ Community Outreach Council further amplifies his dedication to the community.

Merchants’ annual Shining Star Award honors associates who are getting involved and giving back to their community. Nominations are reviewed and winners selected by Merchants’ Executive Committee.


Gigi’s Playhouse Selected as 2024 Charity Beneficiary

Gigi’s Playhouse logo


The Merchants Bonding Company Foundation selected Gigi’s Playhouse as the focus charity for 2024. Gigi’s Playhouse provides programming and support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families, and works to change the way the world views Down syndrome, sending a global message of acceptance for all. Merchants’ Community Outreach Council will facilitate events throughout the year to raise funds in support of arts programming and transform an existing storage space in the Des Moines chapter into a functioning art studio stocked with supplies. Because Gigi’s Playhouse is a national network of chapters, their selection allows Merchants’ associates around the country to participate by volunteering at their local level.

Foundation Leadership

Headshot of Larry Taylor

Larry Taylor


Headshot of Bill Warner

Bill Warner, Jr.

Sr. Vice President & Secretary

Headshot of Elisabeth Sandersfeld

Elisabeth Sandersfeld


Headshot of Therese Wielage

Therese Wielage

Vice President