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2021 a pivotal year   |   Impact in 2021  |   Capitalizing skills learnings  |   Approaching the future

Woman in the garden

Impact Report
2021, a pivotal year

On this webpage, you will find more information about the impact we had in 2021!
We invite you to navigate through the pages and different tabs to discover why 2021 was such a pivotal year for us. 
Most of our annual report content is online only via this webpage but you can also download our 2021 financial statements. 

  • Chair’s message
  • Head’s message 

Saying that 2021 was an extraordinary year understates the reality. The phrase “before COVID” has rapidly become normal but the consequences are anything but that. The wider impact of the pandemic across the planet, the accelerating vulnerability of communities to climate change, and the less visible but no less dramatic impact of uncertainty and inequity on the mental well-being of our societies and the confidence of the youth of the world in particular, are all too big for just one organization to change. The appalling crisis in Europe has brought with it scars that will drive down even further a generation’s trust and confidence in our future. 

Against this darkening backdrop, I am incredibly proud of the actions that the Z Zurich Foundation (the Foundation), the people of Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) and the charitable organizations we work with are taking. Individual actions can and do make real and lasting difference to the vulnerable in our society. They also create momentum for society-wide change. Today, there is widespread recognition of the need for action to protect our planet and its people. The early activists were not always popular or listened to but their legacy is felt every day. 

We took early action to focus in 2021 on the impact of the pandemic on the vulnerable. Globally, our campaign supported UNICEF’s efforts for the COVAX Facility, aiming to deliver COVID-19 vaccine doses to those who were particularly disadvantaged, was the right action undertaken rapidly. Working in about 50 countries across the world, we have responded to the incredible humanity of Zurich people committed to making a real difference to the communities in which they live and work. We also continued to support the charities we work with so they could focus on the needs of their beneficiaries safe from immediate financial challenges. 

The outstanding Foundation management team, led so well by Gregory Renand, ensured that we didn’t lose sight of the long term change we can effect, for example through preventative work on floods. In fact, we have accelerated this work and its impact rapidly – in 2021 we helped 300 communities in 21 countries put themselves in control to protect themselves from the ravages of flooding and supporting stability for 600,000 people, 90% more than last year. 

The program in Peru has been a key contributor to this increase. The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance is now globally recognized and responded to by governments. Likewise, we have pushed forward with more programs in more countries than ever that support mental wellbeing and deal with social exclusion and inequity. Programs like Tackle your Feelings and collaborations like those with the Forge Foundation and Junior Achievement are having even more impact and last year, through our country programs alone, we were able to make a difference for 925,000 people in 28 countries across the world.

As we turned to 2022, Zurich people and the Foundation showed their humanity once more, this time providing support and homes for those fleeing the horrors of Ukraine. At the same time, we committed to a coalition of the willing to help the mental wellbeing of the youth of the world. By reducing stigma and taking early and preventative action we have already seen that change can happen but it needs society wide commitment to make this happen.
Thank you to the Foundation Team, champions and volunteers across the world, the charities we collaborate with for the impact delivered, my fellow Trustees for your commitment and Zurich for your support to the Foundation.

Gary signature

Gary Shaughnessy
Chair of the
Z Zurich Foundation 

Gary Sh

What 2021 taught me is that despite the challenges, together we can move mountains. Indeed, 2021 was a pivotal year for the Z Zurich Foundation. A year where we again saw people joining forces. 

An amazing example was the fundraising campaign the Foundation launched to support UNICEF’s efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. Zurich employees, customers, suppliers, and distributors answered the Foundation’s call to action to ensure vaccine equity. This was the biggest fundraising campaign in the Foundation’s history. A true example of activism in action and how, when we join forces, we can create brighter futures for the most vulnerable people.
The ability we all have to inspire each other gives us robust foundations to be there in time of crisis, while also delivering on our ambition to make a difference in the lives of 11 million people by 2024.

In 2021, we have made exceptional progress in the execution of our strategy. We positively impacted 3,770,000 people worldwide (18% year-on-year increase). In parallel, we strengthened our capacity and ability to accelerate our impact further, with the development of more multi-year strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations. 
Thank you to all the activists among you who have embarked on this impactful journey with us. I look forward to continuing our work together.

gregory signature

Gregory Renand
Head of the Z Zurich Foundation



3,770,000 lives at least positively impacted *

1,700,000 people received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines as part of our global campaign to support UNICEF’s efforts to ensure vaccine equity worldwide

Adapting to climate change: 602,000 people, whereof 578,000 transformed lives


Improving mental wellbeing: 243,000 people, whereof 3,300 transformed lives


Enabling social equity: 90,000 people, whereof 17,800 transformed lives


Matching of Zurich** employee donations and smaller engagement grants: 270,000 lives


CHF 31m invested in in community grants in 2021, in line with 2020, and CHF 13m worth of new and extended multi-year grants were approved

17 new local grant programs to support projects under the Foundation’s strategic areas


56% of Zurich’s employee*** base volunteered, in addition to providing other innovative forms of engagement during this exceptional year. Employee fundraising was slightly below 2020 levels

CHF 2.4m+ of Zurich employee*** donations (up 88% compared to 2020)


16 Community Hero Awards presented to recognize Zurich employees, who are going above and beyond to support their communities


* Positively impacted & transformed numbers from local grants reporting in July 2020 and 2021 in January. 2021 beneficiary impact of grants reporting on an academic year cycle (July) will be accounted as part of the 2022 impact report
** Zurich Insurance Group Ltd and its subsidiaries (Zurich)
*** Excluded are employees of the Farmers Exchanges. Zurich Insurance Group has no ownership interest in the Farmers Exchanges. Farmers Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Zurich Insurance Group, provides certain non-claims services and ancillary services to the Farmers Exchanges as attorney-in-fact and receives fees for its services

Read more about our work and impact in 2021 

Impact in 2021                                                                         


Capitalizing on skills and learnings to increase impact


Helping more people in more countries in the future


Our Board Members’ reflections on 2021 

"I am continually thankful for and inspired by the hard work and dedication of the Foundation team and all of the members of our Zurich community who support the goals of the Z Zurich Foundation. In the face of a very difficult external environment, they have protected our existing initiatives, launched new programs, and seamlessly pivoted to respond to new challenges.  We have a responsibility to improve society and the Foundation is a clear example of how we continually strive to deliver."

"I take great pleasure in supporting the Z Zurich Foundation as they improve people’s lives around the world together with our excellent partners. The year’s highlight was supporting the team in bringing the purpose and focus on people and impact to life with a brand new Z Zurich Foundation logo and Visual identity. The fresh new look not only helps us get our message across in a more warm and human way it looks contemporary and appealing at the same time."

"As we see the devastating impacts of extreme weather events around the world increasing, the importance of building resilience and supporting climate adaptation has never been higher. I am immensely proud of the amazing step change in impact that the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance has achieved in 2021; broadening its reach into vulnerable communities to be able to positively impact or transform more than 600,000 lives."

"We underestimated the power the grant in Ecuador would have. The objective was to build six new schools for underprivileged children in violent remote areas of the country through Unidos por la Educación. After
Z Zurich Foundation’s commitment, other large companies decided to enter this project, creating a coalition of the willing to broaden the program from education to a comprehensive pilot first of its kind in the country. It includes nutrition and health critical for the success of children in schools."

Thanks to the drive of the Z Zurich Foundation team and our business units’ engagement, the Foundation was very proactive to adapt the programs to the environmental and health 2021 challenges to support vulnerable communities all over the world. 

"It has been a real privilege to join the Board of Trustees for the Z Zurich Foundation to observe the effectiveness of the Foundation close up - in mobilizing rapidly to play a key role in securing vaccine equity working with UNICEF through the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing development of the Foundation’s strategic pillars and in making local grants to causes round the world."

As a first year Board member, I was impressed by the quick and decisive action of the Z Zurich Foundation in supporting low- and middle-income countries gain access to the vaccine against COVID-19.

"Part of a favorite African proverb ' ... If you want to go far, go together' is one way to describe how the Z Zurich Foundation together with the Zurich team is making a difference in our world. More than half of Zurich's people volunteering, record amounts of fundraising, the establishment of new relationships with community partners ... these and many other actions demonstrate the power of engaging together for meaningful impact."

In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to create substantial social and economic inequalities. The power of the Foundation's network and the agility of its team have been vital in helping address medium- and long-term needs.

About Z Zurich Foundation
The Z Zurich Foundation is a Swiss-based charitable foundation established by members of the Zurich Insurance Group. It is the main vehicle by which Zurich Insurance Group delivers on its global community investment strategy.

Additional information
Farmers Exchanges’ employees are excluded from the numbers related to employees. Zurich Insurance Group has no ownership interest in the Farmers Exchanges. Farmers Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Zurich Insurance Group, provides certain non-claims services and ancillary services to the Farmers Exchanges as attorney-in-fact and receives fees for its services.
Throughout our impact report, you can find links to third-party content. The Z Zurich Foundation does not take any responsibility for such content.