Karen J. Bellamy Fund

Karen Bellamy, an independent insurance agent, is creating her own legacy by supporting entrepreneur and job training programs.

Back in the late 1990’s, Karen J. Bellamy was working on commission at a small independent insurance agency. “I was raising my young daughter and things were getting tight,” she recalled. When a job opportunity at a local bank came up, she told her supervisor she was thinking about working full time at the bank and continuing to do insurance on her own on the side. “He said, `you can’t do that. Do you think you’re Superwoman?’”

Bellamy paid him no heed and shaped a plan.

Karen Bellamy, KJB Insurance

She remained working for the bank for two years before setting off in 2000 to start her own insurance agency. “I took that leap of faith,” Bellamy said. “It just puts more fire in your step when someone tells you that you can’t.”

Twenty-three years later, Bellamy is still her own boss as the head of a thriving insurance agency, KJB Associates LLC Woodbridge. While her employees handle property and casualty insurance, Bellamy focuses on financial and retirement planning with her clients – individuals, mid-size companies, churches, and many women business owners. She also talks with them about charitable giving and how even a small gift can make an impact.

“I ask, ‘What is your passion?’” she says. “They are giving something forever. That means a lot.”

Bellamy is creating her own legacy with the Karen J. Bellamy Fund, established at The Community Foundation. She chose to work with The Foundation, “because it does so much good for the community. I talk about The Foundation with my clients all the time.”

Bellamy’s fund supports the Connecticut Community Outreach Revitalization Program (ConnCORP) of New Haven, which is investing in local real estate, both residential and commercial, and in boosting the creation of small businesses. Bellamy is inspired by the organization’s mission to drive economic development and economic justice in impoverished communities.

“ConnCORP helps young entrepreneurs learn business skills, and they are building up the community,” Bellamy said. “I want to be a part of that in any way I can.”

I say to clients, ‘What is your passion? You can pick an organization based on your passion or favorite cause. You can leave a legacy.’ They are giving something forever. That means a lot.

Karen J. Bellamy / KJB Insurance

Giving is second nature to Bellamy. She was both a Brownie and a Girl Scout and held fast to the pledge to help others.

“In my community, growing up in New Haven, I was always the teacher,” she said. “I’d buy books from the Goodwill store and teach the other kids. We would raise money – make ice pops, fill cups with Kool-Aid – and sell them in the neighborhood to help fund activities.”

Today Bellamy is president of the Woodbridge Rotary Club, and she is an involved member of three communities — Woodbridge, where she works; Hamden, where she lives; and in New Haven, where her roots run deep.

Bellamy is excited about the possibilities for her fund. “It would be nice to see a level playing field, to give people opportunities, to remind them that they can do what it is they want to do,” she said. “A lot of times you think you are alone trying to grow a business or starting a business but there are resources – places and people who can help you.”