We recognize community investment as an important employee engagement tool, and have a number of initiatives in place to maximize our employees’ engagement with the Foundation.
Raising money for charities
Matching program - disasters
Crises and emergencies happen regularly and can strike anywhere in the world. When a disaster strikes, it is imperative to provide relief as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible. While the Z Zurich Foundation cannot respond to all crises, we do provide assistance for two types of disasters:1) Disasters on a global scale that are so large that they cannot be dealt with by the usual in-country coping mechanisms, and merit a much broader response. The Z Zurich Foundation will launch a global appeal for employee support, with the Z Zurich Foundation matching all donations made, capped at CHF 250,000 maximum per appeal. A recent example of disasters we have launched campaign for include the tsunami in Indonesia (2018).
2) Local disasters, when a major disaster hits a country in which Zurich has an office but where it is not so large as to need a global response. At the request of the local office, the Z Zurich Foundation will launch a local appeal for employee donations, with the Z Zurich Foundation matching all donations made, capped at CHF 10,000 maximum per appeal. Recent examples of disasters for which we have launched campaigns include mudslides in Mocoa, Colombia (2017), and earthquakes in central Italy (2016).
In addition to the cases mentioned here, the Z Zurich Foundation also contributes CHF 500,000 annually to the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies’ Disaster Relief Emergency Fund. This fund allows local Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies access to emergency funding in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, ensuring relief can still be provided even though donations to public appeals may not yet have begun.
Matching program - fundraising
Each year, the Z Zurich Foundation allocates an annual budget of CHF 1.5m to match Zurich Group’s employee fundraising for good causes.
The Z Zurich Foundation matched CHF 4.1m of Zurich employee donations since the scheme started in 2013.
Matching program - volunteering
Each year, the Z Zurich Foundation allocates a budget of CHF 500,000 to match Zurich Group’s employee volunteering hours with donations to good causes. This is designed to encourage employees to volunteer during business hours, while recognizing that volunteering also comes at a financial cost to the charities involved. Each business unit of the Zurich Group submits its total volunteer hours to the Z Zurich Foundation, and in return it earns a proportional share of the overall funding for its chosen organization. Skills-based volunteering receives a higher weighting than standard volunteering, as research shows sharing employees’ business skills, expertise and knowledge is often more valuable to charitable organizations.
In 2018, Zurich employees volunteered over 121,000 hours of which about 30,000 were skill-based. Since the scheme started in 2016, the Z Zurich Foundation matched CHF 1.25m.
Employee support and recognition
Zurich Community Champion awards
In 2017, the Z Zurich Foundation launched a program to recognize Zurich employees who make significant contributions in their communities. Employees can nominate their colleagues for a wide range of activities, including fundraising, volunteering and campaigning. Regional winners will be selected by an employee panel of judges, and prize money of USD 60,000 will be awarded to community groups chosen by each of the winners. Read more about our 2018 winners in our annual report.
From 2019 onwards, based on feedback from Zurich employees, the Zurich Community Champion Awards will evolve into Community Hero Awards to recognize and support even more employees and community groups.
Zurich Community Week
Each year, Zurich encourages its local offices to celebrate the work they do in their communities. We call this Zurich Community Week. Some offices use the week to conduct fundraising or volunteering activities, some use the week to highlight important causes, while others tell stories about their achievements over the past 12 months. No matter how it is structured, we believe employees should use it as an opportunity to reflect on, and be proud of their commitment to improving the lives of others.
School building initiative
In February 2019, 35 Zurich employees from more than 25 business units (including colleagues from Zurich-Santander and Cover-More) came together in Nepal to pilot a new project – building schools in underdeveloped areas with the charity buildOn, an experienced non-profit working across the world to deliver education to the world’s most disadvantaged communities. Nepal was chosen because of the levels of extreme poverty, and consequently our ability to create significant impact, and because of our existing links to the country through Zurich Flood Resilience Program.
Zurich employee volunteers stayed with host families in order to connect with the community and better experience and understand their traditions and culture. The construction of the schools was financed by the Z Zurich Foundation, with participants raising funds to cover the cost of adult literacy programs in each of the schools we built. With most of the village illiterate, providing adult literacy classes is vital if the children attending the school are to receive help and support at home. 100% of participants describe their participations as a life-changing experience.
Photo credit: buildOn