With the Cayman Islands Cancer Society’s big fundraiser of the year – its sponsored Stride Against Cancer walk/run – having just passed, a brand new sponsored marathon slated for the end of this month, and a whole slew of gala dinners in the pipeline, Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull looks at the business of charitable giving in the Cayman Islands and finds out just what a philanthropic jurisdiction it really is. First in a two-part series.
The Cayman Islands is a small community that relies upon the charity of others, particularly those in the corporate sector, for so many worthwhile fundraising projects. Charitable donations take all forms, from monetary donations to the donation of time, effort and expertise to those in need in the community. Donations are made at corporate level or at a personal level and many directors and members of charitable boards donate the time and energy for free, all for the betterment of the island. Whatever guise the charitable giving takes, all recipients will no doubt agree that no donation is too small to make a difference.
Tim Ridley, former chairman of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority examines the importance of a community with a spirited attitude to giving: “An effective commitment to helping those in need locally and around the world is a critical part of every good corporate and community-spirited citizen. The media, politicians and charities overseas in their adverse comments about Cayman totally overlook our very strong and established tradition of helping others less fortunate. And not just within our own borders but also internationally. The list is long and getting longer. But we all can and should do more, and every encouragement, support and recognition must be given to those who devote so much time and resources to these causes. It is a win-win for all.”
Those involved in charities go to tremendously creative lengths to inspire others to help with their cause. Notable examples include the highly entertaining annual fundraising gala dinners arranged by the likes of the Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer Gala dinner, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the National Gallery and the Cayman Heart Fund.
Suzy Soto, chairman of the Cayman Heart Fund (an organisation which itself is hosting its major fundraiser of the year, the Cayman Heart Fund Red Dress Valentine’s Gala, on 13 February at The Westin Casuarina) says: “Our tiny board all donate their time for free because we all feel so passionately about our cause. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in the Cayman Islands and we are doing everything we can to raise awareness and try to prevent the disease.”
Spirited dedication out of tragedy
Kim Lund, owner/broker with RE/MAX Cayman Islands, details his involvement in breast cancer awareness: “In terms of why RE/MAX got involved, it started about 12 years ago when my late wife, Brenda Tibbetts Lund got breast cancer and realised how little awareness there was in Cayman about the warning signs for this disease and ways of preventing it. She starting working with the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens to raise funds through an annual walkathon and bring more education into the community about this terrible disease. Tragically, Brenda died of breast cancer in 1998 and since then, I have dedicated my time and support to help raise funds on an ongoing basis for the support of those who had breast cancer and to help provide education to aid in the prevention of this disease. Over the last 12 years, this effort has grown and evolved into the Cancer Foundation that myself, James Bovell, and John Broadbent have founded to raise funds and help our local organisations champion the prevention of this disease.”
Strength in numbers
In 1998, hedge fund industry professionals in the States established Hedge Funds Care, a charitable organisation focused on assisting young victims of abuse. Since that time, chapters have opened in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Toronto, Cayman, and London. The organisation comprises those companies with interests in hedge funds, including investment managers, investors, prime brokers, attorneys, accountants, administrators and information providers.
In particular, the Cayman Committee of Hearts has representatives from Butterfield Fulcrum, Citco, Deloitte, dms Management, Ernst & Young, IMS, KPMG, Maples and Calder, Mourant, Ogier, PWC, Rawlinson and Hunter, UBS, and Walkers.
Hedge Funds Care Cayman holds an annual benefit dinner to raise funds and last year’s event netted approximately US$250,000 for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect in Cayman. In addition, last year’s event also saw attendees of the dinner contribute US$10,475 (CI$8,800) towards storm shutters for the NCVO’s Nadine Andreas Foster Home.
Individuals making a difference
Veteran marathon runner Kenneth Krys, of Krys and Associates, says the one of a kind trail run that he is helping to organise for Sunday 28 February dubbed ‘Off the beaten track’ is to aid a tremendously good cause, with monies raised in sponsorship going to the charity Facing Africa.
He explains: “I became interested in Facing Africa after participating in the Marathon des Sables in April 2009. The MdS is a cross-country ultra-marathon which is frequently cited as the toughest footrace on Earth. Following from that, a group of local people who share my interest in Facing Africa, a charitable organisation which seeks to alleviate the effects of a disease commonly called NOMA, have established essentially a local Cayman chapter of the organisation.”
Jane Wareham, an active proponent of Facing Africa gives some further background: “Krys & Associates along with Stuarts attorneys, together with other prominent corporate sponsors have been working in aid of children suffering from the de-habilitating disease known as NOMA. The World Health Organisation estimates that in excess of 140,000 children die needlessly from the flesh eating disease every year. The children that contract this disease suffer a slow death as they lose the use of their mouths and become unable to swallow food, to drink water, to smile.
“Facing Africa is a UK registered charity that sends experienced surgeons on missions to the African NOMA belt stretching from Nigeria to Ethiopia each year at a cost of $65,000 per trip and which desperately needs further funds to continue its essential work.”
Jane says the charity is actively supported in the Cayman Islands by Stuarts Attorneys, Krys & Associates, dms Management ltd., RBC Wealth Management, Tower Marketing, among others and confirms that a number of fund raising events will be organised in support of this worthwhile cause including this charity run.
“The marathon will include off trail experiences around the island with a percentage of all monies raised being donated to the local Paediatric Ward at George Town Hospital,” she explains.
Ken gives further insight to the run itself: “The name will give you a clue that this will not be an ordinary running event along major road arteries, but will involve some cross-country running and also will traverse sections of the Island I expect the typical runner will not have seen, or at least will not have raced through!”
Read more on Cayman’s good corporate citizens next month in The Journal.