Generous gift from Hanover.


Byline: Ellie Oleson


In years past, The Hanover Insurance Group held its annual Christmas party at Mechanics Hall. Now the event is held at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, which was named in recognition of the $2 million Hanover contributed toward the restoration of the former Loew's Poli Palace to its full glory.

The Hanover party's venue changed, but a tradition that remained the same is Hanover's ongoing support of education and youth, including an annual donation to the Telegram & Gazette Santa Fund.

Frederick H. Eppinger, chief executive officer at Hanover, took over the company in 2003, and the following year decided to host a Christmas party and concert for employees and their guests. Each employee received two free tickets; additional tickets could be purchased for a small donation. All proceeds went to charity.

This year, $5,000 from the annual event was matched by Hanover and donated to the T&G Santa Fund, for a total donation of $10,000.

Mary C. Dwinell, T&G Santa coordinator, said that requests for children's toys are up and donations are down.

"This generous donation could not come at a better time. We can't thank The Hanover Insurance Group and its employees enough. Thanks to them, many children in need will have a happier holiday."

Hanover, headquartered in Worcester, is a holding company for insurers, including The Hanover Insurance Company, which is also based in Worcester; Citizens Insurance Company of America, based in Howell, Mich.; and Chaucer Holdings PLC, based in London, and affiliates.

Mr. Eppinger grew up on a chicken farm in Spencer, where he said he was familiar with the good works of the Gazette Santa, which his parents supported.

The stated mission of the Hanover's charitable arm, The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation Inc., is "to improve the quality of life in communities where our companies have a major presence."

Mr. Eppinger said, "We want to consistently give to support education and youth, and we want to give enough to make a difference."

He said the Hanover Theatre is doing that.

"It's not just a building, but is a revitalization of downtown, an attraction that has contributed to other development. It will be there forever. When parents are considering sending their children to college here or when others come to Worcester, they can have a wonderful impression of our city."

He said the foundation has its "bigger projects," such as funding the Hanover...

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