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Actuaries Making a Difference

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By Yvonne Cheng, FCIA

We as actuaries are especially equipped when it comes to giving back to society. Here is an organization entirely focused on doing that: the Actuarial Foundation of Canada (AFC).

For those of you who haven’t heard about the AFC, it is the philanthropic arm of the actuarial profession in Canada. It was founded in December 2003 to support youth education, consumer education, and research initiatives in Canada that utilize actuarial science and skills in the public interest. The CIA, Society of Actuaries (SOA), Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), and individual donations provide the majority of the funding to support the foundation’s operations. In addition to making generous cash donations over the years, the CIA has provided valuable services to assist the AFC with its initiatives.

The foundation sponsors a wide range of programs, including student education and scholarships, early childhood education, and consumer education. The main goal for many of these programs is to introduce mathematical concepts early on in school and/or to improve financial literacy in society at large. For many students, an early understanding of basic math will help them grasp more advanced math later on in life.

Here are highlights of the foundation’s activities in 2011 and 2012:

  • Established support for the LittleCounters program, which is designed to teach parents and early childhood caregivers to incorporate mathematical teaching techniques into their child’s playtime (under guidance of Wilfred Laurier University). The main objectives include assisting young children in developing an understanding of early mathematics through play and creating a model for parents and caregivers on ways to use language and engage in play that will support numeracy development.
  • Established the Hugh G. White Memorial Scholarship, with the generous support of Eckler and a number of actuaries. The scholarships are awarded to students who intend to pursue university programs in actuarial or mathematical studies. One of the award recipients attended the 2012 CIA Annual Meeting.
  • Sponsored an initiative in the consumer education area, with a donation of $5,000 to the Winnipeg Harvest Food Bank for the development of a course on budgeting.
  • Jointly sponsored a research project entitled The Impact of the Financial Crisis on the Financial Welfare of Canadian Seniors, together with the SOA Committee on Knowledge Extension Research. Final research will be submitted to the Canadian Journal of Public Policy.
  • Initiated a project to Canadianize and distribute the youth education materials that have been prepared by the Actuarial Foundation in the U.S.
  • Continued support of well-regarded youth education programs, including the Youth Science Foundation (science fairs), the Canadian Mathematical Society (math camps), SMAC (Laval), MathFrog (Waterloo), Jeunes Entreprises du Québec ("Economics for Success") and Junior Achievement of Central Ontario ("Dollars with Sense"). More details about these programs can be found here.
Referring back to the AFC’s mission, it will continue to seek out and ultimately provide funding for worthy activities that will contribute to the goals of:
  • Promoting youth awareness and education in mathematics and financial matters;
  • Advancing public understanding of financial and risk-related matters; and
  • Researching societal issues involving risk, and advancing actuarial knowledge in the interest of the public.
Your generous donation will help ensure the continued success of the AFC and sustain many of these education and research initiatives. The foundation’s outreach will also help to raise the profile of actuaries with the public.

Contributions made to the AFC by Canadian residents should qualify as eligible charitable donations under the Income Tax Act. Further, unlike many charitable organizations, the AFC applies almost all of the donations received from individual contributors to projects and grants, and not to administration. The AFC intends to maintain this enviable practice, and is able to do so partly as a result of the generous monetary and service donations from the CIA.

With your support, together we can make a difference.

For more information about the AFC or to make a donation, please refer to the foundation’s website at www.afc-fac.ca

Yvonne Cheng, FCIA, is a member of the AFC’s Communications Committee.


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