Sylvia Group in the community


We make a difference for our clients and our community.

dogreatthingsSylvia Group is composed of people who are your friends, your neighbors, your biggest supporters. We’re proud to be an integral member of the community, and we appreciate opportunities to volunteer and make a positive difference. It’s part of our agency’s mission statement, and it’s who we are as individuals.

 Accepting the Gifts to Give Thanks Business Challenge

After our friends at Servpro of Dartmouth/New Bedford selected us in the Gifts to Give Thanks Business Challenge, we held a clothes drive and delivered the goods to Gifts to Give. The talented crew at The Franchise Group produced this terrific video, and then it was our turn to issue a challenge. We're fortunate to share our building with the good people at Advanced Eye Centers, and we know they'll step up for Gifts to Give.

Another productive yield from the annual Sylvia Group Blood Drive

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On November 10, 2017, the annual Sylvia Group Blood Drive produced 26 donors, including nine who gave blood for the first time, and collected 25 pints of usable blood. At left are drive founder and organizer Jo Ann Tavares, standing, and fellow Sylvia Group account manager Kathy Fuller. At right are American Red Cross staff and the last group of donors, including Sylvia Group's chief financial officer, Heather Heffernan, foreground. Thank you to all staff, clients and neighbors who participated!

Going the extra miles for the American Cancer Society and the Buzzards Bay Coalition

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Sylvia Group members made the most of a spectacular first day of October, logging miles on the roads and footways of Boston, the SouthCoast and Cape Cod to benefit two of our favorite causes.

In the photo at left, the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Women's team in the October 1 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Boston walk included three members of Sylvia Group: Zee Noia (far left), Annie Raposo (top) and Monica DaSilva (third from right). Money raised from the walk went to the American Cancer Society. 

Riding as the Sylvia Group Spinners, Chief Financial Officer Heather Heffernan and Director of Marketing and Communications Vin Sylvia on October 1 completed the 35-mile leg of the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride to benefit the Buzzards Bay Coalition. The duo are seen at Woods Hole in Falmouth, where the ride ended. In addition to raising $1,650 to fight pollution, protect natural areas and educate the public about Buzzards Bay and its watershed, the Sylvia Group Spinners matched that total with donations to Americares in support of storm victims in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Our day for Day by Day during Alzheimer's Awareness Month

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September''s purple-hued Dress Down Day was in recognition of World Alzheimer's Awareness Month and benefitted Day by Day Adult Day Care of Gloucester, MA. Once each month, Sylvia Group selects a cause and a beneficiary associated with that cause, then donates fees members pay to dress casually.

Making a difference in the fight against Alzheimer's

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Sylvia Group Account Executive Jill White, second from right, was part of a family team participating in the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer's at Fort Taber in New Bedford, MA, on September 23. Jill's team raised almost $3,000 for the Alzheimer's Association.

Systems Coordinator Denise Rego and Personal Lines Account Manager Lu Lima also took part in the walk, with Lu's team raising more than $1,000.  

United Way of Greater New Bedford Day of Caring

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Sylvia Group made a difference for multiple nonprofit organizations on Friday, Sept. 15, the United Way of Greater New Bedford's annual Day of Caring. Ten volunteers from the agency worked at five different sites on projects ranging from childcare to musem cleanup to shed construction to moving and storage.

At left are Quality Manager Denise Rego and Customer Relations Specialist Kathy Volterra, just back from entertaining young students at a NorthStar Learning Centers facility. In the top middle photo, COO David Madara, far right, poses with fellow volunteers who built a utility shed for Better Community Living. At bottom middle, Account Managers Jo Ann Tavares and Kathy Fuller take a break from moving items in and out of the basement and attic at the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts. In the photo at right, Accounting and Systems Specialist Quintin LaBonte, Account Manager Lu Lima, Account Executive Andrew Armstrong and Account Administrator Solange Perry spent the day cleaning the interior and exterior of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Missing from the montage is Account Manager Chris Pinto, who worked with students at a second NorthStar Learning Centers site.

Raising the Roof and Delivering the Goods for Our Sisters' School

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Taking inspiration from the students at Our Sisters' School members of Sylvia Group celebrate their Friday, August 25, 2017 Dress-Down Day at their Dartmouth, MA, offices. Each month, Sylvia Group selects a local affiliate to benefit from a fee employees pay to dress casually. For Our Sisters' School, a New Bedford, MA, institution serving girls from underprivelaged families in Grades 5-8, Sylvia Group purchased a wide range of school supplies, collected in the boxes surrounding the group in this photo.

Included in the photo are, from left: front, Nicole Belair, Jill White, Lori Dumas, Heather Heffernan, Solange Perry, Kathy Fuller and Ray Armstrong; back, Kathy Volterra, Allyson Larue, Maureen Sylvia Armstrong, Andrew Armstrong, Gorete Cadieux, Lu Lima, Zee Noia, Brittany Perry, Janet Kuthan, Jo-Ann Bouchard and David Madara.

Tee Time at Allendale with the Mattapoisett Police Officers Association

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Steven Kaplan, Data Analyst in the Employee Benefits Division of Sylvia Group, takes a break at the hole the agency sponsored for the Mattapoisett Police Officers Association Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Off-Trail Venture for Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust

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For its monthly dress-down-day fundraiser, members of Sylvia Group sported earth tones and collected money for the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust on Friday, July 28. Sylvia Group also is engaged in a summer-long competition to see who can complete the most DNRT trails.

In Tune with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra's Education Programs

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In support of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra Education Programs, members of Sylvia Group contributed to the NBSO and wore black and white for the agency's June dress-down day. Each month, we make a difference for a nonprofit client by collecting donations and dressing in a theme associated with that organization. Every year, the NBSO's six educational programs serve more than 30,000 children in southeastern Massachusetts. That, one might say, is music to our ears.

Extra Support for NorthStar Learning Centers During National Mental Health Awareness Month

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In recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month, members of Sylvia Group wore green for the agency's May 26 dress-down day and made contributions to NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.. Based in New Bedford, NorthStar provides programs for area children from birth to adulthood, assessing and meeting their social and emotional needs to foster their development at home and school.

Hats off to the Children's Advocacy Center


Heather Heffernan, Chief Financial Officer of Sylvia Group, right, celebrates with Michelle Loranger, Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County, at the Country Club of New Bedford during the CAC's annual Race to End Child Abuse Kentucky Derby Day Gala. Sylvia Group sponsored the event, a fundraiser for the Fall River-based nonprofit that provides services for abused children. Heather is a past three-year member of the CAC's Fundraising Committee.

To see more photos from the gala, visit the Standard-Times' online gallery.

Raising funds by dressing down

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Sylvia Group's newly formed HEART (Helping Everyone Achieve Results Together) Beat Committee this year introduced dress-down days as a monthly activity to highlight our support for our nonprofit clients. In January, we showed our support not only for our favorite football team but also for the Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County by paying a fee to dress in Patriots attire, with proceeds going to the CAC. In February, we wore red in support of the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts' Heart Health Awareness campaign. (Sylvia Group also sponsored the YWCA's Red Dress Fashion Show for heart health.) In March, we wore blue in recognition of World Water Day (above) and donated our dress-down fees to the Buzzards Bay Coalition, whose primary mission is to combat water pollution along the SouthCoast and its surrounding areas. With April being Autism Awareness Month, staffers wore colors of the spectrum and contributed to Better Community Living, which does so much for people with developmental disabilities. 

Statewide leadership roles for members of the Sylvia Group team


The Massachusetts Association of Insurance Women (MAIW) recently installed two members of the Sylvia Group staff as officers and appointed a third to a position as committee chair. Photographed outside the agency's Dartmouth offices are, clockwise from lower right: Sylvia Group Personal Lines Account Manager Zenaide Noia, MAIW President; Controller Heather Heffernan, MAIW Vice President; and Commercial Lines Underwriting Coordinator Annie Raposo, MAIW Public Relations Chair.

Founded in 1938, the MAIW is a nonprofit association that serves its members by providing professional education, an environment in which to build business alliances and the opportunity to make connections with people of differing career paths and levels of experience in the insurance and risk management industry.

 Supporting the Y and our model citizen


Sylvia Group once again was a $1,000 sponsor of the 12th annual Red Dress Fashion Show to benefit YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts’ Health and Wellness cardiovascular health program, and this year we had an additional reason to show our support: Our own Heather Heffernan was serving as one of the show’s models.

After completing her day job as agency Controller, Heather did a dazzling turn on the runway, earning cheers from her Sylvia Group colleagues and husband Jay, seen with her in the bottom right and bottom left photos.

The event took place Wednesday, February 25, at the Century House in Acushnet. For more on the event, visit the YWCA’s Facebook page and’s photo gallery.


Cheers to the Team Noah Foundation

The Team Noah Foundation held its third annual wine-tasting fundraiser and auction on February 13th at the United Fishermen Club in New Bedford, and a large group of Sylvia Group employees turned out to show their support.

In the left photo, Director of Client Services and Staff Development Marlene Kalisz, far right, and her husband, Mike, flanked a trio of friends enjoying the evening with them. At right, Account Executive Jill White and her husband, Andy, enjoyed the festivities.

Founded in honor of area resident Noah Fernandes, whose affliction with the mitochondrial disease MELAS leaves him unable to communicate, the Team Noah Foundation raises funds to aid local children and their families affected by medical and developmental disabilities.

For more information on the Team Noah Foundation, visit its website. For more photos from wine-tasting, visit the organization’s Facebook page.

Making Strides Against Cancer Walk

Sylvia Group employees Zenaide Noia, left, and Annie Raposo participated in the Making Strides Against Cancer Walk in Boston on October 5. They walked with the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Women (MAIW) Bristol Chapter Team, which raised close to $2,500.


Lee National Denim Day

Denim Day logoSylvia Group’s Lu Lima organized co-workers to contribute $5 each for participation in Lee National Denim Day. Lu’s efforts raised $240 to support women’s cancer programs of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Schwartz Center for Children Walk

Sylvia Group employees Zenaide Noia and Jill White took a break during the Schwartz Center for Children’s 26th annual fundraising walk to pose with Bubbles the Blue Fish. The September 14 event, which took place around Fort Taber in New Bedford, was in support of children with special needs.


MA Association of Insurance Women

We are proud of our many Sylvia Group ladies who are part of MAIW (MA Association of Insurance Women) and want to congratulate those who have taken on leadership roles within the organization! Zenaide Noia is the Immediate Past Director and Nominating Officer, Heather Heffernan is Treasurer, Annie Raposo is the Public Relations Chairperson and Sandi Owens is the Scholarship Chairperson.


We're proud of our many Sylvia Group ladies who are part of MAIW (MA Association of Insurance Women) and want to congratulate those who have taken on leadership roles within the organization! Zenaide Noia is the Immediate Past Director and Nominating Officer, Heather Heffernan is Treasurer, Annie Raposo is the Public Relations Chairperson and Sandi Owens is the Scholarship Chairperson.

Dartmouth YMCA’s ‘Sharing the Harvest’ Community Farm

Sylvia Group Employees, Kathy Fuller and Jo Ann Tavares, were happy to participate in Live United Week and the National Day of Caring by volunteering at the Dartmouth YMCA’s ‘Sharing the Harvest’ Community Farm.


Sylvia Group employees Kathy Fuller and Jo Ann Tavares were happy to participate in the 2014 Live United Week and the National Day of Caring by volunteering at the Dartmouth YMCA’s ‘Sharing the Harvest’ Community Farm.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Members of the Sylvia Group leadership team rose to the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and raised $1,400! Extra points awarded for doing so in full business dress! And this was no quick ice mix and dump – the water had been chilling on ice for a good five hours. Getting doused are, from left, Vice President Ray Armstrong, President/CEO Maureen Armstrong and Vice President John Beauregard, who organized the challenge.

Our employees volunteer their time for many community groups, events and organizations, some of which include:

  • American Cancer Society
  • Bishop Stang High School
  • Bristol Community College
  • Buttonwood Park Zoological Society
  • Buzzards Bay Coalition
  • Community Fund of Southeastern Mass.
  • Dartmouth Youth Activities Association
  • Dick Melloni Youth Foundation
  • Downtown New Bedford, Inc.
  • Fairhaven Improvement Association
  • Feast of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Friendship Tables
  • Girl Scouts
  • Junior Achievement
  • Leadership SouthCoast
  • Market Ministries
  • Miss New Bedford Scholarship Program
  • Nativity Preparatory School
  • New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Nemasket Group
  • New Bedford Jaycees
  • Ocean Explorium at New Bedford Seaport
  • Rebuilding Together
  • S.M.I.L.E.S. Program
  • Southcoast Health
  • Summerfest
  • United Way of Greater New Bedford
  • Wareham Community Associates
  • Westport Youth Soccer
  • W.H.A.L.E.
  • Women’s Fund
  • Y.W.C.A.

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We share your sense of responsibility to better the community and help the region grow and succeed. There are many other organizations, including school, youth and church groups for which we volunteer. Join us – find something you care about and get involved. The result: A better world!



  • “By giving, advocating and volunteering, Sylvia Group has proven they are dedicated to our community. Whether they are volunteering at one of our Day of Caring events or working with us to provide affordable health insurance and benefits to our employees, Sylvia Group does whatever they can do to make a difference for United Way of Greater New Bedford. The team at Sylvia Group is a trusted group of dedicated professionals, and we thoroughly enjoy working with them.”

    – MICHELLE N. HANTMAN, President and CEO, United Way of Greater New Bedford

  • “When I needed assistance with my business insurance program, Jill White immediately responded – and, even more important, she listened. She understood the challenges I had with my former agent, and she and the Sylvia Group team designed a program specific to my restaurant’s needs. I’m confident that with Jill’s expertise and personal attention, Fay’s is in good hands. That gives me the peace of mind to focus on what my family and I do best: serve delicious food and provide great customer service while running a successful business.”

    – EVELYN BETTENCOURT, Owner, Fay's Restaurant and Knotty Pine Fine New England Catering

  • “Sylvia Group is very resonsive to our ever-changing needs. Jill White provided us with wonderful support when we moved our child-care program location. She ensured that our coverage was seamless and that it met all of our program, licensing and funding needs. Sylvia Group always assists us immediately when we have questions and/or requests. We knw we are in good hands and that they have the best interest of our YWCA participants in mind. It's a pleasure to work with the staff of Sylvia Group; they are truly customer-focused.”

    – GAIL FORTES, Executive Director, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts

  • “Thanks to John Beauregard and the professionals at Sylvia Group, our MassMEDIC membership has paid immediate dividends. Through the BIO Business Solutions® program, Primo Medical received a significant premium reduction on our Professional Liability policy. In addition, utilizing Chubb as our insurance provider and Sylvia Group as our broker, we’re confident that we have business partners who truly understand our insurance needs, provide outstanding loss control services and continue to work with us to lower our total cost of risk.”

    – CHRISTOPHER LAPLANTE, Chief Financial Officer, Primo Medical Group

  • "Getting the right insurance to guard against risks is absolutely critical for nonprofits, as well as other businesses; dealing with a costly claim could force a nonprofit to shut down permanently. Going with the Sylvia Group, we made the right decision and have never looked back. They have a thorough knowledge of nonprofits, where risks can oftentimes be more complex. They have gotten to know our mix of services, evaluated our insurance needs and designed an insurance program around our specific insurance coverage needs — allowing us, on a tight budget, to purchase the right amount and type of insurance at the best value. Sylvia Group staff have built strong, personalized helping relationships with our staff. I can sleep at night knowing they make sure that our insurance policies are adequate to cover our risk exposures. I have recommended, without hesitation, the Sylvia Group to my colleagues working in both the nonprofit and for-profit arenas."

    - MARIA A. ROSARIO, Executive Director, NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.

  • “Sylvia Group is an attentive, professional and knowledgeable insurance agency. They are familiar with the ever-changing rules and regulations when it comes to independent, nonprofit schools., and John Beauregard always goes above and beyond for Friends Academy. Whether it is something small, like registering a new school vehicle, or something bigger, like filing a claim after our greenhouse was destroyed by a hurricane, he treats every question and every claim with utmost importance. Sylvia Group is invested in our program as well; John sponsors and participates in our yearly golf tournament. Sylvia Group is an exceptional insurance company that I would recommend to all my cohorts.”

    – KATHERINE FURTADO, Chief Financial Officer, Friends Academy

  • “The Sylvia Group team provides a multitude of services in all aspects of employee benefits. The team's dedication to their clientele is apparent through their willingness to provide trainings in your office, at their business and through valuable webinar resources. They are readily available to answer questions and help with any issues that may arise. CMHS, Inc. appreciates the relationship that we have enjoyed with the Sylvia Group throughout the years.”

    – JOHN WINTERHALTER, President, Comprehensive Mental Health Systems, Inc.

  • “I want to thank you for this incredible resource, ThinkHR. We will be accessing it frequently and appreciate Sylvia Group making this available to Advanced Eye Centers.”

    - PAUL C. ABRANTES, Executive Director, Advanced Eye Centers

  • “I love your staff. In the first three or four weeks after we moved over to Sylvia Group for our insurance, I have had more communication and attention from them than I had in the seven or eight years we were with our former agency! You have a great team.”

    – PAT CASSAN, Ocean Explorium

  • “I just wanted to take the time to recognize what a remarkable job Danielle Andre is doing. I cannot thank her enough for her time, her kindness and her willingness to make sure I’m comfortable with all the necessary changes that occurred from an insurance standpoint. As a whole, every Sylvia Group staff member has been friendly and knowledgeable, but Danielle has certainly gone above and beyond for me.”

    – SHANNON S., Personal Insurance client

  • “I so appreciate Julie Jennings' help with Medicare planning. It is a relief to be able to consult with a knowledgeable professional on insurance issues. I have no idea how people do this without such help.”

    – CHRIS BLACK, Personal Insurance client

  • “Working with Sylvia Group over recent years has taken our insurance issues from 'groans and moans' to 'no problem.' Rose Lopes, our Account Manager, is one of the most responsive people I have ever worked with. She responds immediately to questions or special requests. It is such a pleasure to work with Rose, who does whatever it takes to find a solution to our needs. We are very pleased… She always has our interests in mind.”

    – LYNNE FOLEY, Director of Human Resources, Five Star Companies, Inc.

  • "Sylvia Group is by far the best insurance agency I have ever dealt with, both personally and in my business. They provide customer support that is not found in other agencies. For example, they take a personal interest in their clients, calls are always taken or returned immediately, and during reviews suggestions are made to offer the most cost effective and comprehensive coverage. When claims occur, they have always been there to facilitate the process. It has truly been a pleasure to have them represent me in my insurance needs."

    - WILLIAM N. WHELAN, Chairman, Whelan Associates LLC

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