The Case for Support of The Actuarial Foundation
There are more than 20,000 actuaries in the United States, represented by five actuarial organizations, each with a distinct mission of advancing the various facets of the profession. Within the actuarial community, members have long been recognized for their voluntary service, dedication, willingness to help others and spirit of professional unity. It is this history of service, coupled with the unique gifts actuaries offer to society, which forms the core of the Actuarial Foundation – the only independent philanthropic organization representing the actuarial profession.
Leading the Way
The Actuarial Foundation was created in 1994 as a grant-making organization designed to support youth education, consumer financial education, and research and actuarial education initiatives that utilize actuarial science and skills in the public interest.
As a public foundation, The Actuarial Foundation must demonstrate that it uses contributions to conduct philanthropic outreach to the general public. The tax deductibility of financial contributions is essential to the vitality of the Foundation. The IRS categorizes our Foundation as a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible “public” foundation.
With the support and commitment from the five U.S. actuarial organizations in 2004 – the American Academy of Actuaries, the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, the Casualty Actuarial Society, the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, and the Society of Actuaries – the Foundation is now positioned to begin a new era of partnership with industry colleagues.
Educating the Community and Leading the Way
The Actuarial Foundation has led the way in creating quality education initiatives for the public and its aspiring young professionals. Through the Foundation’s example, the general public gains valuable knowledge and insight that will lead to more informed decisions. In addition, school children are finding new reasons to be excited about mathematics.
The actuarial profession plays a unique and important role within the community. Actuaries have a unique opportunity to enhance communities by using their skills, their knowledge and their professional experience. The Actuarial Foundation is firmly committed to reaching out to apply actuarial virtues of accuracy, creativity and accountability to the development of programs that contribute to the public good.
The Foundation’s plan for the years ahead calls for the strengthening of its core programs in youth, consumer and research initiatives.
Youth Education (K-12)
Recognizing the need to radically change mathematics education, the Foundation is committed to inspiring a new generation of math-skilled thinkers.
The Foundation has taken the first step in enhancing student mathematics achievement by strengthening math lessons in local area schools. The development of the popular Advancing Student Achievement program has brought actuaries and educators together in voluntary partnerships to help children understand and appreciate the power of mathematical problem-solving.
As volunteer mentors, actuaries share their time and expertise with children in an effort to foster a greater understanding of math while exposing these children to a new and exciting career. Mathematics is an everyday workplace tool for actuaries. The profession's ability to continue providing competent service in the future requires supporting mathematics achievement among today's students.
As of 2003, the Foundation had 26 schools/programs that participated in the Advancing Student Achievement program with over 300 volunteers who worked side-by-side with educators enhancing students’ mathematics education.
In addition to Advancing Student Achievement, the Foundation is engaged in a wide variety of ongoing youth education programs, including financial literacy materials for students, as well as scholarships that recognize and encourage the academic achievements of graduating high school seniors. These scholarships are for education expenses at an accredited post-secondary educational institution for students pursuing a field of study in mathematics.
Consumer Financial Education
The Foundation’s consumer financial education initiatives promote public understanding of some of today’s most pressing social issues. Through partnerships with other organizations, our initiatives focus on providing information in areas where there are gaps in consumer knowledge and understanding.
By using actuarial science to contribute to finding workable solutions, The Foundation provides insight for consumers to make informed decisions, to exercise prudent use of their financial resources, and to efficiently manage changing economic situations.
Our consumer financial education efforts reflect our profession’s commitment to the public good. Over the last two years the Foundation has developed material to educate consumers on long-term financial issues with the development of consumer financial education booklets and symposiums on the most recent topics of retirement, disability, annuities and decisions that are made during ones lifetime and the lasting effect those decisions can have on ones retirement.
Research, Award, Prizes & Scholarships
A critical component of the Foundation’s plan includes investing in research projects that will advance the actuarial profession and actuarial science to new levels. This has been a highly successful activity and has generated much good work that ultimately benefits society as a whole. Activities include grant making of research as well as cooperative efforts with the U.S. actuarial organizations whose primary focus is development and publication of actuarial research. The range of research areas to which actuarial science applies includes: genetic testing, stochastic modeling, financial economics, and risk diversification, to name a few.
In addition, the Foundation is also looking to increase its research activity into areas that support its mission but are not necessarily actuarial in nature. For example, research into the different approaches male and female retirees take to maintain financial security. The development of these projects, and others like them, will enhance the image of the actuarial profession. These programs are the beginning of a proactive stance by the actuarial community to understand the consumer’s long-term financial decision-making process.
To complement these research projects, the Foundation provides financial support to aspiring actuaries by annually awarding scholarships to college students. Several scholarships are offered through the Foundation - Actuarial Diversity Scholarship; Actuary of Tomorrow - Stuart A. Robertson Memorial Scholarship; Caribbean Actuarial Scholarship; and the John Culver Wooddy Scholarship.
An Investment in the Future
A new day has dawned for The Actuarial Foundation. We have a single vital Foundation for the profession, aimed at developing a strong public presence to educate individuals and to offer a vehicle for actuaries to give back to their communities.
Thank you for your assistance and guidance. With your help, The Actuarial Foundation, working together with the actuarial community, has the opportunity to literally educate the world.