The Z Zurich Foundation, the charitable arm of Zurich Insurance Group, is pledging up to $20 million to support COVID-19 relief around the world. Zurich North America will direct its share of the COVID-19 funding toward efforts focused on food insecurity, first responder safety and the basic needs of vulnerable populations, such as the homeless. Employee donations to charities also will be matched at 100%.
“We’re focusing our COVID-19 relief efforts where we believe they can have the most impact,” said North America CEO Kathleen Savio. “Aligning our relief efforts with those of the Z Zurich Foundation helps us support those who are most vulnerable.”
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, an estimated 37 million people in America faced food insecurity; the pandemic’s job losses and school closures are expected to add 17 million to that estimate.1
That is one reason a significant portion of the foundation’s funding in the United States will go to the Feeding America COVID-19 Response Fund, which provides emergency funding for food banks across the country as well as meals for distribution to people in need.
The foundation funding also will provide direct donations to about 30 food banks long supported by Zurich colleagues across the U.S. and Canada through the annual Zurich National Food Drive. Beneficiaries will include the New Orleans-based nonprofit SBP and Blessings in a Backpack.
Helping first responders
The focus of funding support for first responders is safety gear and personal protective equipment (PPE). Beneficiaries in the U.S. will include the Direct Relief COVID-19 Fund for Community Health, which focuses on healthcare workers at America’s nonprofit safety-net community health centers and clinics serving more than 30 million Americans – over 65 percent of whom are members of ethnic and racial minority groups.2 Other beneficiaries will be Americares and Project Hope.
Zurich Canada is directing its foundation funding to hospitals in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
Assisting with basic needs
Foundation donations also will assist with shelter, childcare and educational support, emergency supplies, and mental health services for vulnerable populations, including those in Zurich North America’s home state. Recipients of foundation funding will include the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, a partnership of United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations in collaboration with the office of Gov. JB Pritzker. The American Red Cross will also receive funding.
Other recipients will include the United Way COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation COVID-19 Crisis Children’s Relief Fund and Mental Health America.
Supplementing community grants
This is a challenging time for all nonprofits, regardless of whether they are focusing specifically on COVID-19 relief. That is why Zurich North America will use some foundation funding to supplement giving to nonprofits in its 2020 community grants program in the U.S. and Canada. The reinforcements are intended to help these nonprofits sustain their operations during a period of financial strain.
Matching employee donations
Donations that Zurich employees make to COVID-19 relief organizations, or to any organizations they wish to support during this time, are eligible for a 100% match through the Zurich Cares employee giving platform. Matching is supported through the foundation.
More about the Z Zurich Foundation
In addition to North America, Z Zurich Foundation COVID-19 relief funding will go to help nonprofits in Latin America; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and Asia Pacific. So far, the foundation’s COVID-19 donations have helped over 85,000 vulnerable and/or isolated people in 27 countries. Donations to approximately 100 charities have helped provide food supplies, medical service deliveries, hygiene products, laptops for online schooling and access to mental health support.
The Z Zurich Foundation, registered in Switzerland, is the main vehicle by which Zurich delivers on its global community investment strategy, which is focused on supporting those most vulnerable in society and addressing fundamental societal risks.
1 Beer, Jeff. “How you can help Feeding America fight the unprecedented hunger crisis created by the pandemic.“ Fast Company. 10 April 2020.
2 Direct Relief. “Response Fund for Community Health.” 16 April 2020. https://www.directrelief.org/2020/04/direct-relief-creates-25-million-covid-19-response-fund-for-community-health/
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