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By Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I
Nature-based solutions, green jobs, and resilient infrastructure are at the core of Liberty Mutual Foundation’s approach to helping marginalized communities that are most vulnerable to climate-related perils.
“We believe investing philanthropically in communities to help them mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change is a natural extension that we do as a property-casualty insurer and an area where we can offer a lot of expertise,” Foundation President Melissa MacDonnell told Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan in a recent Triple-I Executive Exchange.
MacDonnell described the foundation’s three-pronged approach to community giving, which consists of:
- Nature-based solutions, such as increasing access to locally grown food and green space to protect communities from sea-level rise or flooding;
- Green jobs that provide training and skill development in the green economy for low-income and underrepresented youth and young adults; and
- Resilient infrastructure for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
The foundation also supports existing partners in advancing their climate resiliency goals.
“Any organization in our philanthropic portfolio is eligible for these grants, so they can step back and consider how climate is impacting them,” MacDonnell said. “This includes homelessness shelters and job programs. This is our way of acknowledging that climate affects all of us.”
Kevelighan noted that this holistic approach is particularly important for residents of vulnerable communities.
“We’ve been talking at Triple-I about the role everyone plays in climate,” he said. “It’s encouraging that you’re bringing risk management into communities – particularly those that can’t provide themselves enough resources.”
Kevelighan and MacDonnell discussed how other insurers can become more involved in helping vulnerable communities.
“Insurers should carve out the time to listen to the communities” MacDonnell said. “Partnering with communities and public officials is also important. We are at an incredible moment in time where federal funding is available for climate projects” as a result of measures like the Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act of 2022, which aims to build disaster resilience by identifying disadvantaged communities that are most at risk to natural disasters and providing funding for projects that mitigate those risks.