Laying the groundwork for future growth

Collaboration and system-level change – the recipe for scaling up impact

© Aaron Clarke

Canada - Breaking down barriers to employment and changing the system by impacting conversation within the industry

Building on the foundations established in 2021 and 2022, we have renewed our collaboration with United Way Greater Toronto and Zurich Canada* to create social and economic equity for underrepresented youths in the Canadian insurance industry. This will allow them the opportunity to access entry-level roles in the industry with basic insurance knowledge and customer-centric skills sought out by the industry.

Over the next three years, the program aims to positively impact 600+ lives, including job opportunities for youth interested in pursuing a career in the insurance sector. It will also engage hundreds of volunteers. But one of the key achievements is the commitment from others to invest in this initiative. Marsh Canada, one of Zurich’s key broker partners, joined as a funding partner in 2023.

I’m very, very proud of the Zurich Insurance Pathways Program. We believe this program can stimulate the under-represented communities in our industry and serve as a role model for compassionate organizations to build up our communities.

Saad Mered

Zurich Canada CEO

The Zurich Insurance Pathways Program program has changed my life! As a new immigrant in Canada, I saw how difficult it was to want better for yourself but struggled to find those opportunities. This program not only helped me with my career development but also with my personal development.

Nicole Mangena

Zurich Insurance Pathways Program participants 2021

Growing our portfolio and our impact

In 2022, we committed funding to 27 multi-year local grant programs. In addition to projects previously mentioned, other new grants are starting in 2023:


Over the next three years, we are teaming up with Zurich UK*, Zurich Community Trust and Ambitious about Autism to support the mental wellbeing of autistic young people in mainstream secondary schools across the UK.

The goal is to help thousands of autistic students improve their mental wellbeing and self-awareness before reaching crisis point. This program will pioneer and provide ground-breaking autism acceptance toolkits to schools and offer support and guidance to caregivers. Ambitious about Autism will also train UK-based Zurich staff in understanding autism. Read the announcement here.

*Zurich Employment Services


Together with Zurich Canada and Junior Achievement Canada (JA Canada), we launched a three-year program which aims to equip more than 230,000 Canadian youth with mental wellbeing skills and resources. 

The program will build awareness of the critical importance of mental well-being through an array of activities such as webinars, skill-building modules, classroom programs, and youth events. It will target youth between the ages of 12 and 17, and their educators and caregivers. Additionally, this collaboration will allow employees from Zurich Canada to volunteer (in person and virtually). Access the press release here.

Growing the experience

Growing the experience and impact of the team

In January 2022, Sofyen Khalfaoui joined the Z Zurich Foundation to lead the work under our improving mental wellbeing pillar. In November, we strengthened the Advocacy and Communications team with the arrival of Suzannah Richard. We also recruited Adriana Poglia to manage our social equity grant in Africa, starting in January 2023.

To address infrastructure and operational needs, we build on the knowledge and expertise of our management team with ongoing training and upskilling.

Strengthening our foundations

Learning from various stakeholders has enabled us to build capacity

In a rapidly evolving world, public and private organizations must respond to challenges with extraordinary, more comprehensive actions.

It requires a certain agility and simplification of some of the ways we work. It is an ongoing journey, which takes place at a structural level, but ultimately helps us better serve the vulnerable communities we support via the different aspects of our work.

How we addressed process, efficiency, and accuracy while keeping a sustainable approach in mind

Several years ago, we changed the name of our annual report to impact report. This is not just a matter of communication. Changing the name means placing greater emphasis on our critical focus on impact. In fact, how we measure impact has been an ongoing process to ensure the effective delivery of our strategy via our community programming and engagement activities.

This is only possible due to the development and implementation of a robust impact framework, which has enabled us to measure and report impact most accurately.

Digitalization also brings a whole new world of opportunities which we have embraced for our communications and governance areas by 1/implementing electronic signatures for our memorandum of understandings and other contractual pieces and 2/ launching a hybrid annual report with the majority of our content now available online instead of in print.

For the financial statements ended 31 December 2020, we moved to a full audit instead of a limited statutory examination.
The full audit audit also confirms our internal control framework. In addition, we have implemented a new accounting system in 2021, intended to improve our financial reporting further.

Impact report

Implementing a transversal view of adapting to climate change

Our holistic approach to climate change is an excellent example of how we are walking the talk. As a charity, we also build our capacity by learning from various stakeholders. We have been looking at climate change via our programming activities for a decade now.

As the world is changing and the impact of climate change is becoming increasingly well-known, public and private organizations must take immediate, decisive action to address the impacts of climate change on people and communities. Consistency is essential to credibility; therefore, we have been looking at creating a more sustainable society not just via our programs but also through how we manage our financial assets and our operations.

Tree hug

Sustainable investments

We believe sustainability and investment are closely linked. Our asset management approach aims to generate a positive environmental impact through green bonds and equity portfolio investments. This also helps generate income to fund other offsetting and green initiatives. The Z Zurich Foundation is now 100% sustainably invested. In 2022, the positive impact of our sustainable investments was a CO2 reduction of 7161 tons and 4676 KW renewable energy added.

Offsetting carbon emissions

While already offsetting carbon-related emissions produced by the management team (travel, office spaces, electricity consumption), we are also investigating how to offset the emissions linked to our programming.

50th anniversary

Approaching our 50th anniversary with confidence

Over the past 50 years, the Z Zurich Foundation has seen remarkable growth and impact. In 2023, we reach a significant milestone in our history - our 50th anniversary.

Half a century of creating positive change, strong collaborations with organizations spanning the globe, and the unwavering commitment from Zurich fills us with confidence for the future.

But there’s one simple answer to what makes us who we are as a Foundation – it’s the people. The people we work with who face challenging situations and need support. The people within our team who get up every day determined to make life better for others.

The people from public, private, and charitable organizations who work tirelessly alongside us. And the people from Zurich whose passion and dedication makes it possible for us to do what we do.

Our 50th anniversary is a milestone that presents an opportunity for us to mobilize further action and impact. When we reflect on our story, it reminds us of how much we can achieve when we work together towards a shared vision. Throughout 2023, our anniversary will not only be a celebration of achievements but will also serve as a catalyst to boost engagement and launch future initiatives.