Kartina Tahir Thomson talks about the charitable activities the IFoA Foundation is supporting
Those who have been to Staple Inn may have noticed the window that carries the Francis Bacon quote “I hold every man a debtor to his profession”. At the IFoA Foundation we feel the same way, and aim to provide the mechanism for actuaries to support others.
When we envisioned the Foundation, the words we kept returning to were ‘support’, ‘legacy’ and ‘impact’. While the focus on rewarding excellence and research is at our core, we look to highlight other principles as well. The evolution of the Foundation means it has a greater emphasis to be even more impactful going forward. Our mission is anchored on three principles:
- Rewarding excellence: Providing recognition, prizes and awards for excellence in actuarial examinations and academic research
- Supporting our community: Giving bursaries and grants to school and university students, those studying for actuarial exams and others in financial hardship
- Addressing future challenges: Supporting the IFoA’s public interest responsibilities and partnering with other charities on causes such as financial education.
During his presidential address in June 2020, Tan Suee Chieh talked about shaping the future and creating space for innovation, thought leadership and diversity of ideas. The Foundation’s principles are set in line with the IFoA strategy and ensure a balance in activities geographically. We also seek to ensure fairness and inclusion and are passionate about increasing the profession’s diversity, both through membership support and charitable activities.
From rewarding excellence to supporting our community and addressing future challenges, the Foundation is helping the profession to have a positive impact.
For years, the IFoA’s Scottish Board, with Foundation funds, has supported Scotland’s school maths competition Enterprising Maths at national and regional level. As well as encouraging the love of maths, we hope to see the next generation of actuaries emerge through the talented participants. The Foundation aims to continue this partnership and explore similar initiatives.
Geoffrey Heywood Prize
The Foundation has a history of funding prizes for research excellence. In 2019, the Geoffrey Heywood Prize, for best research paper demonstrating excellent levels of communication, was awarded to Michael McCrea and Mark Farrell for their paper on wearable technology. Mark used his share of the prize money to help other actuaries learn about emerging technologies through a free virtual online event. The Foundation continues to champion thought leadership and support knowledge sharing events.
Sir Edward Johnston Prize
The Sir Edward Johnston Prize was established in 2013. Johnston was the sixth Government Actuary and played a significant role in both the profession and in public life. He had a long association with South East Asia, and the bequest is used in connection with the IFoA’s presence there. The prize is awarded to the best performing graduating actuarial students at a number of universities; to date, students from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore have benefited.
We are working on several initiatives, including encouraging exceptional minds into the profession through bursaries and sponsorships, supporting students through actuarial exams, and working to boost financial literacy. From enabling young people in Asia to enter the profession to supporting students in Africa with their exam studies, the Foundation is deeply committed to making a difference.
The IFoA Foundation is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Registration number SC049518), regulated by the Scottish Charity Regulator. Further information can be found at bit.ly/3bfDD3K
How you can help
We welcome ideas and fund applications that resonate with the Foundation’s mission,
and look forward to rewarding partnerships that make a difference to society and the profession. By choosing to support the Foundation, you will:
- Support tomorrow’s actuaries and open doors for gifted people from every background
- Celebrate excellence and recognise those at the cutting edge of our profession
- Enable the profession to find solutions to our most critical shared global priorities.
We look forward to your involvement in fundraising, volunteering and promoting the Foundation. The experience is deeply rewarding, and your contribution will have a positive impact on our community.
Kartina Tahir Thomson is Chair of the IFoA Foundation and serves on IFoA Council