Charitable Giving Throughout the Insurance Industry Is on the Rise. Here Are IICF’s Philanthropic Outlooks for the Future

By: | January 5, 2022

Bill Ross is CEO of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, responsible for the overall operation and strategic direction of the foundation. Prior to joining IICF in 2004, he spent 31 years with the Walt Disney Company in the Parks and Resorts division. He can be reached at [email protected].

Every individual has a unique drive or inspiration behind why they give their time, talents and funds to an organization or cause.

A member of the millennial generation recently told me, “If you ask me to volunteer, I’ll do it tomorrow. If you ask me to donate, it may be in an amount as small as a cup of coffee, but I’ll do it right away.”

That willingness to help those in need is found not just in millennials, but in individuals of all ages throughout the industry. I’m fortunate enough to see it every day in the work we do at the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping communities and enriching lives by uniting our industry’s collective strengths in providing grants, volunteer services and leadership.

As the philanthropic voice of our industry since 1994, our team at IICF has seen profound changes over the years, and the COVID-19 pandemic changed the future of philanthropy like never before.

Responding to COVID-19 Impact

Despite pandemic-related challenges in 2020 and again this past year, the insurance industry has demonstrated that they will go above and beyond to support those in need. When they do so, they create moments that matter, bringing joy to others and a sense of satisfaction to themselves.

Giving back during a public health crisis means getting creative about the way we can gather and help one another. People have learned they can volunteer or donate from their home and have just as great an impact as they can in person.

At the same time, we’ve seen needs in the communities where we live, and work continue to expand. IICF and our insurance industry supporters have responded by creating service opportunities that match donors’ motivations with people who need help the most.

Take, for example, hunger. Pre-pandemic, the overall food insecurity rate was the lowest it had been in more than 20 years, affecting 1 in 9 individuals, according to Feeding America.

In 2020, that number jumped to 1 in 7, or 45 million people.

To help address this growing crisis in 2021, individuals industry-wide chose to support programs that helped ease food insecurity and created moments that matter — in this case, giving struggling families the nourishment that helped them get through another day, week or month.

IICF’s Fill the Truck food drives, which began in our Western Division with generous response, were successfully expanded to the Southeast Division, and even to states we don’t yet operate in, due to the willingness of insurance professionals to lean into initiatives that enable them to give back to neighbors in need.

Corporate and individual donations helped us provide 75,000 meals through IICF Fill the Truck drives this year alone.

IICF’s Children Relief Fund, launched in 2020 in response to the pandemic and continuing into 2022 due to the sustained community need, has helped deliver well over 2.5 million meals to children and families facing hunger.

Creating Moments Across the Industry

We’ve also been pleased to create moments that matter in support of our nation’s military families. Children and teens from military families sometimes go months or longer without seeing a parent who is deployed.

So, imagine how much it matters to these kids when they receive a hand-written drawing or note expressing encouragement, appreciation and gratitude for their sacrifices.

This past summer, more than 3,000 industry professionals, families and friends wrote such notes during the Share Your Thanks campaign, a partnership between IICF and Our Military Kids.

While we’re proud of the way volunteering and charitable giving has grown through IICF, we’re equally impressed to see members of our industry creating moments that matter from within their own organizations.

For example, in 2020, the Chubb Charitable Foundation committed $10 million to COVID-19 relief efforts globally.

In May 2021, Chubb committed an additional $500,000 to COVID-19 relief in India to provide emergency medical equipment and supplies, including beds for portable hospitals, in response to the catastrophic surge of infections there.

The Z Zurich Foundation also provided phenomenal COVID-19 response, benefitting more than 200 charities in 2020 and helping more than one million people worldwide through grants and an employee matching program.

This year, the Z Zurich Foundation announced its support of UNICEF’s global efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the most vulnerable populations, by helping to deliver two billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021 and committing to match funds raised up to approximately $2.7 million.

We’ve also seen charitable organizations like The Hartford Foundation find new ways to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), such as its Access Grants initiative, which gave more than $540,000 in grants this year to groups working to dismantle systemic racism and increase equitable social and economic mobility.

At IICF, we see DEI, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives as critical to our industry’s future, so much so that these topics shaped the foundation of discussions during our International Inclusion in Insurance Forum this past summer.

The new IICF Talent Hub, with its insurance-only job search capabilities developed in partnership with Indeed, and designed to attract non-traditional talent to our industry, is just one way we’ve already advanced the ideas we discussed at that forum into action.

In 2022, we’ll carry the message of DEI, CSR and ESG forward at IICF Regional Inclusion in Insurance Forums in Chicago, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and London.

Preparing for the Future

As we look at the future of philanthropy, IICF will seek new ways to welcome even more industry professionals into our mission and enhance individual giving.

We’re launching a new IICF Global Membership program in 2022 that will enable individuals from across the industry to participate in our united philanthropic efforts, support the community, connect with other philanthropically minded individuals and grow professionally.

The new IICF Life Division we’re launching will help life insurance and wealth management professionals create moments that matter in their communities.

We’re also creating a Planned Giving program to help individuals define the way they want to support IICF as their charity of choice now and into the future.

The best thing about the changing face of philanthropy is that every person and every generation now has the chance to get involved. You can participate in charitable initiatives spearheaded by your organization and have the opportunity to join with us on a personal level as well.

Everyone can share fundraising and volunteer opportunities on your social media channels to easily support IICF and our communities.

Today, you have the power to create moments that matter for others. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to do so. &

More from Risk & Insurance