Meet Tom and Cathy Lawson

The Lawsons
Cathy and Tom Lawson

They may not have been born here, but for Tom and Cathy Lawson, Rhode Island is home. Originally from the Midwest, Tom’s career has brought the couple all over the country, and finally here to the Ocean State about 20 years ago.

At the beginning of 2022, Tom retired as CEO of FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, and Cathy is a retired speech and language pathologist for children with special needs. The two have been together for 40 years, and as Cathy points out with a knowing smile, “Tom may be the CEO at work but I’m the CEO of our philanthropy!”

The Lawsons made their first gift to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in 2017. Cathy explains, “Our son is grown now, but I remember when he was younger how important it was to us and the community to have a children’s hospital close by.”

The following year, Cathy and Tom, who remains Chairman of FM Global, toured Hasbro Children’s Hospital. They visited the Judge Bruce M. and Cynthia M. Selya Integrated Care Unit, home to the inpatient medical-psychiatric program. In collaboration with Bradley Hospital, the inpatient unit treats children who have a psychiatric disorder coupled with a medical diagnosis and are among the most complex patients Bradley and Hasbro Children’s hospitals care for.

“What caught me was the concept of treating the whole child,” says Cathy. “From my professional experience I know you can’t successfully work with children with this level of complexity without being transdisciplinary in the approach.”

Compelled by a strong desire to help, Cathy and Tom made a generous gift to support the program as part of the Every Child, Every Day campaign. Their support has helped expand the medical-psychiatric program by providing additional training, education, and research that will enhance clinical approaches and long-term treatment outcomes.

“It’s a unique offering that further differentiates Hasbro Children’s and Rhode Island,” says Tom. “I’m impressed by how many people come from all over for the program’s expertise.”

In 2021, Tom deepened his commitment to health care philanthropy by joining the Rhode Island Hospital Foundation Board. Since then, the Lawsons have made several additional gifts to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, as well as Bradley Hospital.

Cathy admits she does her homework when it comes to selecting where to direct their support. “That firsthand visit really helps build the connection,” says Cathy. “We didn’t get to where we are overnight, but I’ve always had this dream to give back. We feel privileged to be able to help.”