Since 1994, the Insurance Managers Association of Cayman (IMAC) has been quietly endowing its Educational Scholarship Trust Fund, a needs-based scholarship programme for young Caymanians. Over the past 17 years.
24 students have been awarded financial grants to seek further education in a wide range of academic fields – from the arts to social and medical sciences, and yes, financial services. What makes this scholarship fund unique is its overarching mandate – to enrich the Caymanian economy by sponsoring study in diverse fields.
IMAC is a non-profit association of insurance managers, captive insurance companies and service providers to the insurance industry. It acts as a regulatory liaison to Cayman Islands Government and works to promote Cayman as the leading domicile for insurers and captives.
As part of its commitment to the jurisdiction, the association wanted to give back in a way that would have a lasting benefit and so created the scholarship fund. “Cayman offers much to the insurance industry as a stable, informed and well-regulated domicile”said Scholarship Committee Chairman John Pitcairn.
“Through its scholarship programme IMAC hopes to give back to Cayman in the most meaningful way possible, enriching the community and economy through the development of young Caymanian talent”. Early scholars were supported through donations from IMAC members and their clients; the fund has more recently been bolstered by the proceeds from IMAC’s Cayman Captive Forum, which is the largest conference of its kind worldwide.
Recipients of the scholarship are not limited to financial services study and over the years have pursued degrees in Music, Film, Biomedical Science, Sociologyand Ecology as well as Business Administration, Human Resources and Communications. They have attended top universities across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and as far away as New Zealand. While students are required to remain in good academic standing, they are not required to work in the insurance or even the financial services industry in Cayman, although a number have done just that. All that IMAC asks is that these students return home and apply the knowledge and skills they have gained.
Applications are considered for any course of study at an accredited university, as long as the applicant has met the required academic criteria and has been accepted into their programme of choice. The merits of each applicant are considered, with an emphasis on the availability of alternative financial backing. Mr. Pitcairn added, “We felt strongly that preference should be given to those students who might not be able to pursue their career goals without outside support. The financial package offered is significant – US $36,000 annually – and is intended to cover the majority of the cost of tertiary education. We want our scholars to be able to focus on their studies and gain as much as possible from their academic experience.”
Since its inception the fund has raised $1.9 million and awarded $1.4 million, with a further $405,000 earmarked for the nine students who are being actively supported while at university. The scholarship was awarded charitable status in 2010 and continues to accept pledges from its members and the wider business community so that it may continue to provide its services to young Caymanians. The financial statements are audited annually by KPMG.
Although the scholarship is funded primarily by IMAC members and from the proceeds of its annual Cayman Captive Forum, the association welcomes and encourages donations from other members of the business community. “Our members vary widely in size, and through the scholarship fund even the smallest companies are able to contribute to the academic support of young Caymanians. The money donated goes straight to the students, and the more that is raised, the greater number of students we are able to help,” said Mr. Pitcairn.
Through the assistance provided by the Educational Scholarship Trust Fund, IMAC scholars have gone on to pursue further professional and graduate qualifications, and they have taken positions within well-regarded companies in Cayman. Many of these scholars have said that without the financial assistance provided by the IMAC scholarship, there would have been no way to meet their educational goals. Based on these comments alone, the association believes its scholarship program has been a resounding success.
For more information on the scholarship programme or to make a donation, please visit http://www.imac.ky/scholarship-programme.