It takes just one person to make a difference for another person.
While teams of dozens of employees at insurance firms are prepping for IICF Week of Giving 2012, so too are “teams” of just one individual.
While the industry’s largest employers (including insurance carriers, reinsurers and brokerage houses) are pitching in, so are individual independent insurance agencies, consulting firms and other smaller employers.
Whether you’re working for an industry behemoth or a small firm, you can make a difference. Volunteerism, at its best, makes a connection between: a) someone giving time and effort and b) someone who can benefit from that time and effort.
The IICF makes volunteering simple. We match teams made up of insurance employees, their family members and industry partners with charitable agencies in their local communities to provide three or more hours of service during a concentrated week. By combining their time and talents, Week of Giving volunteers make a greater impact than working alone. The results inspire collaborative goodwill across the industry.
Here are examples of projects, past and upcoming:
- In 2010, individuals from a Manhattan-based reinsurer helped transform a loading dock in Queens into a brightly colored playground. In one day, the volunteers installed slides, climbing structures, swings, benches and flower boxes. They painted cheerful murals on the surrounding walls. For the children who now play there, it was a dream come true.
- A group of volunteers from San Francisco helped transform an adult day care setting into a “Las Vegas casino” so that 25 seniors with early- to mid-stage dementia could play casino-style games, stimulate old memories, and make new friends. Interacting one-on-one was a rewarding experience for both volunteers and seniors, plus it helped provide a much-needed respite for the day care staff.
- Numerous volunteer teams donate time to food banks in various cities around the country, many of them affiliated with Feeding America, an organization that will be the recipient of IICF Week of Giving grant funds in 2012.
- Insurer Chubb has a volunteer day planned that teams up their employees with independent agents. The volunteers will work together on a project at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
- Insurance carrier Fireman’s Fund, which has long had a “Days of Sharing” tradition, is combining its efforts during IICF Week of Giving to engage all its offices across the country.
Numerous other organizations and their employees are involved in Week of Giving, including: Guy Carpenter & Co., CNA, Arch Insurance, Sidley Austin, Aon, R-T Specialty, ACE, Lloyd’s America, Aon Benfield, Travelers, XL Insurance, Towers Watson, Endurance and Endurance Re, Aspen Specialty, and Arthur J. Gallagher.
The volunteer aspect of the Week of Giving started in 1998 and has grown every year. This year, IICF has added a personal giving campaign. Insurance professionals can text-to-give using their mobile phones to donate $5 to charity by texting “INSURANCE” to 50555. Donations can also be made online at www.iicf.org.
What has not changed about the effort is its straightforward approach: It’s people helping people.
If you are registered to volunteer, thank you and best wishes with your efforts. If you haven’t yet registered, there’s still time — and volunteer projects are available. Teams can sign up at http://volunteer.iicf.org. No matter what project you choose and the size of your volunteer team, you will make a difference.
Noted one volunteer: “It’s our way of staying connected to our own community.”
Myatt is executive director of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (www.IICF.org) New York/Northeast Division. Founded in 1994, the foundation has contributed more than $16 million and 140,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of community nonprofit organizations.