The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) announced four new grants at the organization’s annual dinner last week in New York. This year’s grants are primarily directed to children’s charities and include Boys Hope Girls Hope New York, the International Rescue Committee’s Refugee Youth Program in New York, the Starlight Children’s Foundation NY-NJ-CT, and World Cares Center.
In addition to the new grants, Chairman Michael Fujii announced plans for an expansion of the IICF’s volunteer efforts in New York in 2010.
“Not only does IICF pool our industry resources to provide grants to our community, but we can work together to provide the great gifts of personal time, energy, and talents through our volunteer efforts,” said Fujii, who is president and CEO of Worldwide Insurance Operations for Endurance Specialty Holdings, Ltd.
The annual gala was attended by nearly 700 representatives from the insurance industry. Joseph J. Plumeri, chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings, was honored by the IICF for his career and for his civic and philanthropic leadership.
In his remarks, Plumeri reminded the crowd of the financial impact and importance of insurance.
“Nothing happens without insurance. Nothing is built, bought or sold without insurance. Loans don’t get made, trade doesn’t happen, injured workers don’t get compensated. The seat you’re sitting in right now would not be here without insurance covering the people who made it, bought it, delivered it and installed it. Insurance is the DNA of capitalism,” he said.
Pierre Ozendo, chairman and CEO of Swiss Re America Corp., served as the dinner chairman. He praised the collective effort that is behind IICF.
“What is compelling to me about the work of IICF is that no matter how much we compete in business…when it comes to our role in society and important contributions such as the ones we’re making tonight, our industry can marshal our collective strengths, knowledge, and talents for good,” said Ozendo.
Guest speaker for the evening was NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw. Brokaw noted that he had recently had an opportunity to reflect on the importance of insurance personally, as he was involved in a serious car accident on Dec. 4. The IICF grant to the International Rescue Committee was given in honor of Brokaw, who serves on the committee’s board of overseers.
The IICF was established in 1994 and is completely directed and funded by the insurance industry. It seeks to uinte the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service and leadership. The foundation originated in California and in 2007 added a New York division. Since its inception, the IICF has contributed over $16 million and 110,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of community nonprofits