Thursday, 20 May 2020: Zurich Australia (Zurich) in cooperation with Zurich Insurance Group’s charitable foundation, the Z Zurich Foundation (ZZF) in Switzerland, has announced an immediate wave of community impact funding to support Australian and New Zealand charities in the wake of COVID-19.
The emergency financial support equates to an additional $1.43 million, which is being allocated to 20 different charities – some national, some with local, grassroots focus.
The funding is on top of the ~$2.28 million, which Zurich annually donates to its “hero” community programs, plus an additional ~$1 million donated by ZZF to various charities in the wake of the Australian bushfires earlier this year.
This wave of funding will be allocated to charities associated with mental and physical wellness, homeless support and food security, and domestic violence under the ZZF’s “wellbeing and inclusion” focus. They are charities that Zurich Australia, largely, has had long standing relationships with through the passion and fundraising efforts of its employees around the country – including those that support the OnePath Life brand.
One of the largest recipients of the local allocation is Foodbank Australia who will receive $1 million. The money will help Foodbank Australia source and distribute additional essential food and grocery items to around 2,400 charities around Australia, who are experiencing a spike in demand given the economic downturn associated with COVID-19.
Brianna Casey, CEO, Foodbank Australia, said: “Foodbank has seen an unprecedented 48% increase in demand for food relief across our charity agencies. We are seeing new demographic groups who have never had to ask for food assistance before and we know this problem will not be fixed overnight.
“In the past month, we have sourced more key staple foods than in the three years prior to COVID-19. Through our established relationships with the food and grocery industry, we can turn $1 into $6 worth of food, so donations such as these allows us to effectively and efficiently purchase food to support the many people in our communities affected by COVID-19. We are so grateful to Z Zurich Foundation for this incredibly generous donation which will allow Foodbank to continue to scale up and respond to this new ‘normal’ for as long as needed,” she said.
As well as to Foodbank Australia, the funding allocation is being shared across:
– Zurich’s primary charity partners in Australia and New Zealand, being The Raise Foundation, Beyond Empathy, and Variety – the Children’s Charity.
– Smaller grants divided between the following 16 other charities: Cerebral Palsy Alliance (Steptember); Childhood Cancer Association; Fareshare; Gosford Coast Homeless Shelter, Hutt St Centre; Kids Under Cover; Mr Perfect; Orange Sky; Our Watch; Reach Foundation; Ronald McDonald House Charities; RUOK; Share the Dignity; St Kilda Mums; Twenty10; Wear It Purple
Linda Griffin, Head of Corporate Affairs and Community, said, “The intention of the funding is to help these charities navigate through the short to medium term issues arising from this crisis. Due to it, many charities are facing increased demand for their services, yet are challenged by a reduction in donations plus an inability to rely upon their volunteers in the same way, due to lockdown efforts.”
“Our efforts, both here and as a coordinated international response via the Z Zurich Foundation, are driven by a strong sense of social responsibility, and a mission to empower people to better protect themselves from risk, and to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world.
Z Zurich Foundation’s COVID-19 disaster response aims to support hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people directly around the world
The Australian and New Zealand funding component is a part of the allocation which the Z Zurich Foundation has pledged to support COVID-19 relief in every region in which Zurich operates around the world.
The funding is intended to help existing charitable partners meet an increase in demand for their services, adapt their services to the new (mostly virtual) environment, or maintain their sustainability in the face of reduced fundraising or other revenue sources. Support is also being prioritised to nominated disaster relief initiatives, which provide support in terms of medical needs, mental health, food poverty, domestic violence or schooling (e.g. technology for home-schooling).