The Actuarial Foundation’s Educate.Connect.Change Campaign cruises to $3 million

February 25, 2020

The Actuarial Foundation, which helps students apply math in the real world, reached a notable milestone in February by raising $3 million through its fundraising effort: “Educate. Connect. Change.

“This is the perfect time for ‘Educate. Connect. Change.,’” said campaign Co-Chair Doug French, FSA, MAAA, FCA, FIAA, managing principal of Ernst & Young. “Every year thousands of math-related jobs go unfilled because there aren’t enough qualified candidates.”

The Foundation is bridging that gap and future-proofing students through its national math competitions for middle and high school students, a volunteer-driven tutoring program called “Math Motivators,” scholarships, and free math and financial literacy resources.

“A lot of people still don’t know the basic math and economic trade-offs involved in making decisions for their families, retirement, and healthcare,” said French. “Our programs are relevant, they speak to this void, that’s why we’re working to expand our reach.”

The campaign’s silent phase began in July 2019 and was publicly announced at annual conferences hosted by both the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuary Society (CAS). The campaign has also been a vehicle to commemorate the Foundation’s 25 years of service.

Jason Leppin, executive director at the Foundation, is encouraged that the campaign is garnering support from the broader actuarial community. “We are the sole philanthropic organization of the actuarial profession, and there are over 30,000 actuaries across the country,” Leppin said. “One of the highlights for us is that almost $1 million of the funds raised to date are from entirely new supporters.”

Jim Morris, FSA, MAAA, Pacific Life CEO and member of the campaign’s executive team underscored the importance of improving math education through the support of the broader actuarial community. “From recent college graduates who are new to the profession, to those of us who’ve been working for nearly 40 years, it is our opportunity as today’s leaders to pay it forward,” he said.

In addition to the $3 million raised in gifts and pledges, the campaign has also generated over $1 million in planned gifts, an area where Robert Deutsch, FCAS, ASA, MAAA, has led the way, giving the Foundation its largest single personal gift in its 25-year history. Deutsch informed the Foundation of a $1 million estate gift at the beginning of the campaign’s silent phase.

The numbers offer only a fraction of the story. The campaign has leaned heavily on a network of volunteers spanning both coasts, the heartland, and one as far as Switzerland. “This campaign takes a village. We need financial support. We need emotional support. We need volunteers,” said fellow Co-Chair Toni French. “It takes everyone working together. And we’re thankful to all those actuaries who’ve been proactive and generous with their time.”

Campaign leaders and volunteers plan to continue active campaigning until the Foundation reaches its fundraising target: $5 million. “Math is the foundation,” said Doug French. “We use math every day. Math teaches you critical linear thinking. That’s important regardless of career choice and it’s important whether you are dealing with the government, your community, or your school district. A lot of it is basic math.”