Tamalpa Institute uses PeopleKeep to offer a benefit that works for all of their employees.

Industry Nonprofit
Location San Rafael, CA

Tamalpa Institute has a diverse set of employees and needed an alternative to one-size-fits-all traditional group benefits. But whenever they found something that worked, the law would change and the organization would be forced to start from scratch. Now PeopleKeep gives them peace of mind with a formal benefit that works for everyone.

Tamalpa Institute uses PeopleKeep to offer a benefit that works for all of their employees.
“PeopleKeep gives our staff peace of mind while we focus on our students.”

Julie McGuinness

Tamalpa Institute in San Rafael, CA


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“The fact that we have the flexibility to choose the dollar amount that we want to contribute was a huge piece of why we chose PeopleKeep.”

The company

Founded in 1978, the Tamalpa Institute is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that offers expressive arts training programs and workshops for healing, education, and social transformation. Tamalpa’s movement-based, expressive arts training programs are ranked among the best in the world, and the group has worked with more than 10,000 people from more than 50 countries.

The challenge

The Tamalpa Institute has wanted to offer benefits ever since its founding 40 years ago, but traditional group benefits were too expensive and too one-size-fits-all for Tamalpa’s small and diverse set of employees.

Instead, Tamalpa tried several informal solutions. First, it set aside a percentage of employees’ taxable wages specifically for benefits. That didn’t work, so it tried paying insurance companies directly for employees’ personal health insurance. And that didn’t work either.

“Finding a solution was elusive,” recalled Julie McGuinness, administrative director for the Tamalpa Institute. “Every time we found something that worked, the health care landscape would change and there would be new rules about what small organizations like ours could do.”

The solution

McGuinness was tasked with finding a solution. She looked into traditional group benefits again, but they still didn’t work for Tamalpa’s situation. So she went searching online for a new way.

McGuinness soon discovered PeopleKeep, with help from Tamalpa’s accountant.

Both were impressed by PeopleKeep’s affordability and flexibility. It was within Tamalpa’s budget and allowed employees to buy what fit their personal needs. Tamalpa no longer needed to worry about new regulations or spend hours researching them because PeopleKeep automated compliance with tax, labor, and privacy laws.

“Having the peace of mind that we wouldn’t have to worry if there were changes to the law was huge,” McGuinness said. “PeopleKeep would automate that and we could focus on our students.”

The results

Since adopting PeopleKeep, the Tamalpa Institute has found peace of mind with a formal, automated benefits solution. PeopleKeep has even helped the group hire and keep its people.

“Because of the current political climate, employees really want to know that we offer benefits and that won’t change,” McGuinness said. “With PeopleKeep, we’re able to say that.”

Not only does managing the benefit take little time, employees are happy to have something that fits their personal needs.

“PeopleKeep was flexible enough to be all the different things we needed,” McGuinness said. “It’s been really good for us.”