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Helping Big Brothers Big Sisters maintain community-based programs during the pandemic

In April Swiss Re Group announced it was providing the Swiss Re Foundation with an additional CHF 5 million to fund COVID-19 relief efforts. Since then, the Swiss Re Foundation has been in contact with its local and global partners to assess the business impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

We're happy to report back on how funds are being used and how we're making a collective impact. Here is one of the stories.

Helping Big Brothers Big Sisters maintain community-based programs during the pandemic

Swiss Re employees in the Fort Wayne and Schaumburg offices elected Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) as their Charity of the Year partners for 2020. The Fort Wayne office is collaborating with the BBBS chapter of Northeast Indiana and Schaumburg with that of BBBS of McHenry County. During a normal year this would entail making donations to the BBBS chapters and Swiss Re employees volunteering their time on projects.

Through the support of the Swiss Re Foundation, BBBS of Northeast Indiana and BBBS of McHenry County provided 1,647 children with positive adult role models in 2020. BBBS serves children in poor and dysfunctional families throughout their service area, typically through support from a daily stream of caring adults: At school, in day care, in after school programs, through church groups and clubs, and through a BBBS mentor. The COVID-19 pandemic dismantled this entire structure in an instant.

The immediate need of BBBS during the pandemic was to maintain their community-based programs, keep their professional case management staff and cover for the increased technology expenses. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, BBBS made a substantial effort to connect mentors and mentees virtually. Over 3,600 activities were offered through Zoom meetings since the pandemic started. The COVID-19 relief grant by the Swiss Re Foundation has supported all these needs to guarantee a continuation of their programs. Watch in this short video what the Littles and Bigs are thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are dealing with it.

"The impact that Swiss Re has had on our mission is significant," Leslie Blake, Executive Director, BBBS McHenry County, said. "Our ability to serve through this crisis is more paramount than ever and yet more fraught with challenges. Thanks to the Swiss Re Foundation funding we have been able to quickly shift to a digital mode for our matches (1:1 relationships) safety while still being able to provide the one-to-one mentoring support that is so vital to our children during this time".

Josette Rider, CEO, BBBS of Northeast Indiana, added: “BBBS of NEI could not be more thankful to the Swiss Re Foundation who has stood with us as we defend the potential of youth in our communities. Their generous support has sustained us through the COVID-19 crisis and has made a measurable impact in the lives of our children and families".

More information about BBBS

BBBS is the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States. Their mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. When children and teens have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and to focus on academics. Today's youth face a variety of challenges and being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help them navigate these challenges and reach their potential.

The 240 agencies across the country operate in all 50 states and serve youths from age 5 into young adulthood in both community-based and site-based settings. The agencies match mentees (“Littles”) with mentors (“Bigs”) in one-to-one relationships ("Match") and have served nearly 2 million Littles in just the past decade. More than 400,000 Littles, their families, their Bigs, and other mission-critical volunteers are part of the evidence-based mentoring program annually.

Watch this video to learn more about BBBS.

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We ease access to healthcare and viable income opportunities in underserved communities.

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Access to Health and Income Opportunities

We ease access to healthcare and viable income opportunities in underserved communities.

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