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September 28, 2022

IICF’s Blazing the Trail Benefit Raises $510,000 for Regional Nonprofits

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IICF’s Blazing the Trail Benefit Raises $510,000 for Regional Nonprofits

Chicago Apprentice Network founders honored at celebration of insurance industry philanthropy


CHICAGO,IL (September 28, 2022) – The Midwest Division of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), a unique nonprofit organization dedicated to helping communities and enriching lives, raised more than $510,000 at its eleventh annual Blazing the Trail Benefit on September 22. IICF hosted more than 350 attendees in celebration of the Midwest insurance industry’s commitment to philanthropy and to honor the founders of the Chicago Apprentice Network. Proceeds of the IICF Blazing the Trail Benefit fund the IICF Midwest Community Grants Program.


The founders of the Chicago Apprentice Network – Accenture, Aon and Zurich – were honored by IICF for their trailblazing work in raising awareness of apprenticeship opportunities and successes, and helping more businesses establish apprentice programs to expand this concept. IICF is working to develop the insurance industry talent pipeline as well by connecting nontraditional talent with apprenticeship and other career opportunities through the IICF Talent Hub as another way to help build a more fully inclusive and equitable workplace of the future.

“In the same collaborative spirit as IICF, the Chicago Apprentice Network works together to create career opportunities within the region and insurance industry,” said Al Crook, Head of HR Business Partners and Apprenticeship at Zurich North America. “Zurich has benefited from this innovative and diverse talent pool and looks forward to expanding apprenticeship further in the years to come.”


Since2017, the Chicago Apprentice Network has grown from these three founding companies to more than 75 companies across multiple industries.


“We’re honored to be recognized by IICF alongside our Chicago Apprentice Network co-founders for our collective efforts to grow apprenticeship programs,” said Kevin Johnson, North America Chief Operating Officer at Aon. “The Aon Apprenticeship program has brought many talented colleagues to our firm, helping us further build a resilient and diverse workforce. We look forward to continuing to work with employers, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations to encourage the development of apprenticeship programs that strengthen our workplaces and communities.”


Also featured at last week’s Blazing the Trail event were IICF Community Grant recipients By the Hand, a Chicago-based nonprofit serving children living in under-resourced neighborhoods with after-school programming, and Intentional Sports, a community partner of By the Hand who is building a professional-level facility for sports, education and wellness to close the opportunity gap for westside youth in Chicago.


“IICF proudly supports nonprofit partners such as By the Hand by uniting the insurance industry in giving back to make a profound impact in the communities where we live and work,” said Jeff Kroeger, President, Insureon, a Division of Specialty Program Group and Hub International, and Chair of the IICF Midwest Division Board of Directors. “Vital funds are raised through IICF Blazing the Trail, Oktoberfest and Rock for Charity and more, annual events that have become insurance industry traditions in the Midwest, allowing us to award meaningful grants to nonprofits serving the needs of our neighbors struggling with food and housing insecurity, and so many other challenges.”


The Blazing the Trail Benefit proceeds support IICF’s Midwest Community Grants Program, through which grants are awarded to local nonprofit and charitable organizations focused on education, health and safety. Since its founding in2011, IICF Midwest has granted more than $4 million to over 200 nonprofits working to better the lives and futures of those in need. Communities throughout the Midwest are served by the IICF Midwest Division and Associate Boards based in the Chicago area as well the Ohio and Heartland (Kansas and Missouri) Chapters. The IICF Midwest is one of five divisions, four based in the US and one in the UK, of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, which has granted a total of$42 million globally since its inception in 1994.


This year’s Blazing the Trail Benefit was made possible through generous insurance industry support including Presenting Sponsor: Aon; Platinum Sponsors: CNA, CRC Group, Great American Insurance Group, RT Specialty and Zurich; Gold Sponsors: AIG, Amwins, Applied, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, Burns & Wilcox and many other event sponsors.


For more information regarding IICF’s Midwest Division, how to contribute or become a board company, please visit IICF Midwest Division at IICF.org or contact IICF Midwest Executive Director Kelly Hartweg at (773) 991-2149 orkhartweg@iicf.com.    


About the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF)

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) is a unique nonprofit that unites the collective strengths of the insurance industry to help communities and enrich lives through grants, volunteer service and leadership. Established in 1994, IICF has served as the philanthropic foundation of the insurance industry for more than twenty-five years, contributing $42 million in community grants along with 300,000 volunteer hours by more than 110,000 industry professionals. IICF reinvests locally where funds are raised, serving hundreds of charities and nonprofit organizations, for maximum community impact. IICF is a registered nonprofit organization undersection 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Learn more at www.iicf.orgor follow us on social media: @doubleicf.          


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