Wawanesa increases financial support to communities in Canada and United States

Friday, 19 June 2020

Canadian ICMIF member the Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company (Wawanesa) this week announced its Caring Together initiative, which features CAD 1.8 million in new financial support for communities in need arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the fight to end systemic racism.

These funds are in addition to the CAD 3.5 million Wawanesa previously committed in donations to hundreds of community organisations in Canada and the United States this year. This includes the CAD 100,000 donation to food banks in Canada and the United States as reported on by ICMIF in April.

“As a mutual insurer, Wawanesa is guided by values that focus on being a positive force in our communities,” said Wawanesa President and CEO, Jeff Goy. “The health and economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the growing outrage against systemic racism, are powerful forces affecting our communities. Given these unprecedented times, companies like ours have a responsibility to step up and do more.”

Caring Together has three areas of focus where funds will be allocated.

COVID-19 support providing funding to Indigenous and remote Northern communities, United Way centres, hospital foundations, and food banks in Canada and the United States.

Civil rights providing funding to civil rights and social justice organisations in the United States and Canada focused on supporting Black communities.

Employee and broker partner donation matching a dollar-for-dollar donation matching programme open to Wawanesa employees and the company’s insurance broker partners.

“These funds will allow True North Aid to support many Indigenous Peoples and their families as we continue providing practical humanitarian assistance during this difficult time,” said Kenneth Smid, Executive Director of True North Aid. “To support Indigenous self-determination, we work directly with members of the communities to develop plans and make sure that together we are meeting their needs work that has taken on even more urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We’ve seen many changes in our community since the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” said United Way Winnipeg President and CEO, Connie Walker. More people are living with uncertainty. We know stress is high and more people are living in or on the edge of poverty. There has been a toll on our mental health, our relationships and our financial security. United Way Winnipeg is very grateful to Wawanesa in helping to address urgent needs for our most vulnerable in these challenging times, helping to ensure no one is left behind.”

The details of Wawanesa’s Caring Together commitments are:

CAD 500,000 will go to United Way’s COVID-19 Response to increase its support for local community partners in Canada and U.S, providing people and families with food, shelter, and mental health support in disadvantaged and marginalised communities.

CAD 400,000 will go to Indigenous and remote northern communities, supporting needs identified by the communities themselves. To help identify those needs and distribute funds, Wawanesa has teamed up with the Canadian Red Cross and True North Aid.

CAD 400,000 will go to civil rights and social justice organisations supporting Black communities in the U.S. and Canada, specifically the National Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), Black Health Alliance and the Black Business and Professional Association.

CAD 250,000 will go to hospitals in Canada and the US to support frontline healthcare workers and COVID-19 research.

CAD 250,000 will support a dollar-for-dollar donation matching programme, open to all employees and brokers.