Kartina Tahir Thomson gives an overview of the IFoA Foundation – a new home for charitable activities
As a profession, we all recognise the need to give back – whether that’s to other members or to wider society. The IFoA Foundation aims to provide the structure and mechanism for actuaries to support others.
The Foundation has been established through the consolidation of the IFoA’s three charitable trusts: the Memorial Prize Fund, the Memorial Education and Research Fund, and the Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland Charitable Trust.
It operates under the oversight of a Trustee Board, which oversees the running and use of funds. The Board consists of four volunteer trustees (myself, Lyndon Jones, Hemal Naran and James Tufts) and three IFoA executive trustees (Sarah Mathieson, Anne Moore and Karen Brocklesby).
Historically, the trusts that make up the Foundation have focused on awarding prizes relating to actuarial examinations, research papers, events, and school and university examinations. These include the Peter Clark Prize for best paper written by IFoA members, the Brian Hey Prize for best paper in general insurance, and the Geoffrey Heywood Prize for the paper that demonstrates excellent engagement and communication to a wider audience.
For many years, we have also supported the school mathematics competition Enterprising Maths in Scotland at a national and regional level. There is also the Sir Edward Johnston Prize, where the best-performing graduating students on university actuarial programmes in East Asia are awarded scholarships and bursaries. As well as encouraging a love of mathematics in schools and universities, we hope to see the next generation of actuaries emerging through talented participants.
With the establishment of the Foundation, the trustees have taken the opportunity to broaden the objectives of the charitable trusts going forward. While the fundamental focus on rewarding excellence and research is very much at the core of the Foundation, it also looks to emphasise other key principles. The evolution of the Foundation means it can be more impactful going forward.
The Foundation aims to promote, advance and further its charitable purposes by operating as a ‘grant giving’ charity that will support, financially and otherwise, the encouragement and advancement of education, research and study in actuarial science and related subjects.
The Foundation’s overarching strategy is ‘actuaries supporting others’. In developing this strategy, the trustees wanted to ensure that it is in line with IFoA strategy. Additionally, we believe it is essential for the Foundation’s activities to provide a balance between UK and international members, and we seek to ensure fairness, diversity and inclusion. We are passionate about increasing the diversity of the IFoA and the actuarial profession through both membership support and research projects.
The three principles of the Foundation are:
- 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 examinations and those in financial hardship
- Addressing future challenges – Supporting the IFoA’s public interest responsibilities and partnering with other charities on financial education.
From enabling young people in Asia to enter the actuarial profession to supporting students in Africa with their actuarial examination studies, the Foundation is deeply committed to making an impact on people’s lives. We welcome fund applications that resonate with the Foundation’s strategy, and look forward to rewarding partnerships that make a difference to society and the profession.
Being an actuary has always meant helping to solve some of the biggest challenges we face as a society. By choosing to support the Foundation, you will:
- Support the actuaries of tomorrow through study grants, bursaries and opening doors for gifted students from every background
- Celebrate excellence and recognise those at the cutting edge of our profession
- Enable the profession to fully contribute to finding solutions to our most critical shared global priorities – from pandemics to climate change.
We welcome support in several ways:
- Donate in any way you can – this can be a one-off donation or regular monthly, quarterly or annual donations
- Volunteer for the Foundation by giving your time, effort and enthusiasm
- Promote the Foundation’s work.
We hope you identify with the Foundation’s vision and support the cause. The experience is deeply rewarding and we believe that your contribution will have a positive impact on our community. The Foundation launches on 17 August.
Kartina Tahir Thomson is chair of the IFoA Foundation and serves on the IFoA Council