In the United States, the tax code, which is replete with deductions for charitable giving, encourages givers to be generous. Not so in Cayman where corporations and individuals donate to scores of charities and good causes for purer motives: the good of the community.
Those in need – the young, the old, the sick, the disabled or the disadvantaged across the islands – are the beneficiaries. The “style” of giving, especially for large organizations, varies from firm to firm. Because substantial dollars are involved, most now include charitable giving as a line item in their budgets, and many companies now have committees that evaluate the never-ending stream of requests for assistance, cash, in-kind donations or sponsorships.
Other organizations operate more ad hoc, reflecting the personal wishes of executives, partners, or, more usually, the CEO.
With so many socially responsible firms giving of their time, energy and funds to worthy causes, it would be impossible for us to recognize all of them, but a representative list, in a broad range of industries, follows. We salute all of the generous “givers” in the Cayman Islands.
Let us be clear: No private sector entity in the Cayman Islands gives, or has ever given, more than the Dart organization. Many of their contributions are given quietly and privately.
“Our activities are motivated by the tenet that if you ‘Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,’” says VP Community Development Chris Duggan. “Dart takes pride in the value of our contributions to our local communities and encourages employees to volunteer.”
Dart’s support focuses on education, youth development, and community service. Over the years this has included a wide range of organizations: youth sports clubs and programs; international service clubs; health awareness and prevention; social intervention or support; education; and arts and culture.
“Our educational initiative, Minds Inspired, funds two scholarships – high school and William A. Dart University – and an annual High School Mathematics Challenge,” says Mr. Duggan. The high school scholarship is for students who excel in math and science and it is for local high schools, while the university scholarship is for local or overseas institutions and is good for any area of study.”
Dart has also given to help fulfill community needs that are not being actively addressed. One such need was for well-designed, outdoor recreational spaces. This led to the development of community parks in each of Grand Cayman’s five districts, which were then handed over to the Cayman Islands Government to maintain and manage.
Accountants and Attorneys
Big Charity Supporters
Dan Scott, EY Cayman managing partner, says that as an organization and as individuals, they believe their actions affect the world around them.
“That’s why it’s important that we combine our energy and enthusiasm with our professional skills to make a difference.”
Globally, EY’s philanthropic focus is on education, entrepreneurship and the environment.
“Education and entrepreneurship bring real benefits to communities in terms of job creation and social cohesion,” says Mr. Scott. “And as the world gets smaller, pressures on the environment grow. By focusing on these three areas, we can help build a better future.”
EY also supports the Special Olympics and Cayman HospiceCare in the Cayman Islands.
“I’m proud of our Cayman employees for their passion and dedication to the Cayman community,” he says. “Through our actions, we aim to inspire others to ask: ‘How can I make a difference?’”
KPMG Partner Anthony Cowell leads the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility team in the Cayman Islands. He says that KPMG has a set of core values which run through the DNA of the organization.
“They define who we are and how we do things,” he says. “We give generously to our community and we recognize that our firm has the scale, influence and business knowledge to make a significant and positive contribution to the issues that affect our community and its environment.”
Mr. Cowell says the firm’s philosophy towards charity extends beyond donations.
“Corporate social responsibility is not just about philanthropy or community services, but how we engage our people at all levels to make a difference that is sustainable,” he says. “Our people are engaged in community programs and their ability and willingness to provide significant amounts of their time for volunteering is what makes us different. Our community team members have a passion to instill a culture of community service within the wider firm, translating into people who will continue to make an impact throughout their lives, even after they are no longer with the firm.”
The aim of professional services firm PwC is to create value in the local communities through the donation of employees’ time.
“We feel that not only is it important to give monetarily, it’s also important to give of oneself,” says PwC’s Senior Manager, Business Development Angilynn Chan-Baraud. “We organize two months of service annually for staff members to participate, and provide each of them with one full working day per year to take during regular office hours to volunteer.
“This is what we call being ‘part of it’; part of the global conversation and movement towards responsible business and community practices that create positive change in the world.”
Although PwC provides sponsorship to a variety of charities, it tends to favor those geared towards helping Cayman’s youth.
“It is our understanding that prevention is key,” she says. “If we can provide our youth with programs that build them up, create positive activities and provide them with positive role models to look up to, we know this will make a difference in the lives of the children, our future leaders.”
Some of the youth-development groups that PwC supports include the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards; the government’s At-Risk Youth after-school program; the PwC under-16 basketball, Positive Intervention Now and the PwC junior tennis circuit.
In 2014, the law firm Appleby launched an initiative called “Charity Day,” in which it invited local charitable organizations that focused on educational programs, child and family welfare or animal welfare to apply for donations.
A committee made up of a cross-section of staff then selected 10 of the applicant organizations to receive donations, including Cayman HospiceCare, Meals on Wheels, the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, the Cayman Islands Red Cross, Literacy is for Everyone and others.
The firm’s managing partner, Bryan Hunter, says that although Appleby had historically supported the work of local charities through corporate sponsorship and staff volunteerism, it wanted to broaden its charitable giving to include a greater number of good causes.
“Charities, schools and not-for-profit organizations make a hugely valuable contribution to society.”
Nasaria Budal, the business development and marketing executive at Appleby, says the number of applications the firm received for Charity Day donations was overwhelming.
“It was certainly a reflection of just how much support like ours is needed.”
Banks Support A Myriad of Causes
Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Ltd says it recognizes its role within the community extends beyond providing financial services.
Rebecca L. Ebanks, Butterfield’s marketing officer, marketing & communications, says the bank supports community initiatives and organizations, with youth being a key focus of giving.
“Supporting the development and aspirations of young people is important to us,” Ms. Ebanks says. “Through our donations to educational causes, we have helped open a world of learning opportunities and advancements for students, ranging from preschoolers to those studying at university.”
Butterfield supports organizations that have a positive impact on patient care and that raise awareness of important health issues. These organizations include Cayman HospiceCare, the Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Cayman Heart Fund.
The bank also actively supports Cayman’s arts and sport scene, including the Cayman Arts Festival, Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Young at Arts Program, the National Children’s Festival of the Arts, Butterfield Young Musician of the Year Award, the Cayman Islands Little League, the Cayman Islands Squash Association junior squash program, and the annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Irish Jog fundraiser.
Cayman National supports a range of charities and organizations through financial donations and staff volunteering, Christy Braggs, executive assistant, says.
“Our community support ranges from grassroots organizations and smaller local charities that can go typically unnoticed but exist to provide the community with valuable information and experiences, to support for more recognized organizations and charities.
“They need assistance whether financial, material or technical to achieve their goals. Without this support the community may not benefit from the opportunities these charities can provide.”
Fidelity Bank (Cayman) Ltd. gives its support to a wide range of charities, clubs and events across the islands.
“We make numerous donations based on requests that we receive every week,” says President and CEO Brett Hill. “Our staff are encouraged to give their time to support any number of causes, and they are more than willing to help out where they can.”
Among the causes backed by Fidelity are the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and Cayman HospiceCare. The bank also takes tables at various charity dinners throughout the year, including sponsoring a table for police officers at the annual RCIPS gala awards dinner.
Sports is another focus of Fidelity giving, with football and rugby getting general support and a number of specific sporting events also receiving Fidelity’s backing, including the Rock International Open kitesurfing championship, the Cross-Island relay and the Fidelity Fun Run series.
Essential Services Give Essential Support
Since establishing its Community Involvement Team in 1997 to coordinate employee participation in community projects, Caribbean Utilities Company has been committed to Cayman’s youth and making a positive difference in the community.
Neil Murray, CUC’s corporate communications officer, says the company has more than 100 employee volunteers who are willing to spend their lunch hours, evenings and weekends to serve as mentors for young people.
“They also have special friendships with young people from the Sunrise Adult Training Centre and the Lighthouse School,” he says.
In 2000, employees of the company established the CUC Children’s Fund, which allows them to make annual contributions to assist organizations dedicated to the needs of young people.
CUC puts importance on environmental awareness and is involved in several conservation-based community programs. Other initiatives supported by CUC and its employees include a long-term sponsorship of the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association 800-meter sea swim; volunteering with the Meals on Wheels program; being involved with the Cadet Corps, Special Constabulary, Chamber of Commerce Earth Day Cleanups, CI Scouts Association and many after-school programs.
LIME has operated in the Cayman community for almost 50 years, going back to the days when it was known as Cable & Wireless. Head of Marketing & Sales Julie Hutton says the telecommunications company’s regional vision is to improve life in the Caribbean, something that sponsorship of events and organizations helps make happen.
“One of our major sponsorships is carnival,” she says. “We are the presenting sponsor of Cayman’s Carnival, Batabano. Carnival exists to celebrate community through culturally diverse arts, events and education.
“The event continues to grow, and we are now seeing visitors coming in to participate and spectate, which adds to our tourism product.”
LIME has long been a sponsor of the Lighthouse School Summer Camp, in which many of its employees volunteer their time throughout the week.
Digicel operates on the philosophy that as the company grows, its communities should grow too. In each of its 32 markets Digicel actively supports the local communities through various initiatives, something which is seen as very important by the company and its founder, Denis O’Brien.
While a number of large initiatives have been rolled out in markets such as Haiti and Jamaica, including the establishment of a Digicel Foundation, in Cayman, Digicel has focused on supporting a number of key local community initiatives across the areas of sports, youth development and special needs among others.
Digicel has always recognized the importance that sports plays in the community, and has actively supported a number of local leagues throughout the years, including basketball, beach volleyball, flag football, and Little League baseball. However, this year Digicel decided to take it a step further by supporting young local talent when they launched the Digicel Kickstart Academy. This initiative will give three young local talented footballers the opportunity to attend a week-long training camp with Chelsea FC.
Over the years, Digicel has also given significant support to several other charitable organizations, including the National Trust, the Breast Cancer Foundation, Special Olympics, and the Rotary Club. They are currently working with Derek Haines in supporting his Six4Hospice initiative to raise $1 million for a hospice in Cayman.
Generous Hospitality Industry
Hospitality organizations are playing their part in helping create a cohesive society on the islands.
“Our resort is focused on enlivening The Ritz-Carlton’s global commitment to make a positive local impact on three critical focus areas – empowerment of children, environmental wellbeing and hunger and poverty relief,” says Marc Langevin, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
In addition to Ritz-Carlton’s Community Footprints program, which in 2013 saw each staff member give an average of six hours of time to local organizations, the resort also encourages their international visitors to take part in local community projects. Their Giveback Getaways invites guests to participate in hands-on initiatives such as the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, beach clean-ups, and packing meals for Meals on Wheels as part of their vacation experience.
Among the community organizations and initiatives supported by the resort are several schools, Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, Feed Our Future, Sunrise Adult Training Care, Family Resource Centre, Cayman Islands Cancer Society, Acts of Random Kindness and National Youth Culinary Camp.
The Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort supports the community in keeping with Marriott International’s philosophy throughout the world.
Grand Cayman Marriott Sales & Marketing Coordinator Nicolas Franco says some of the hotel’s strongest initiatives involve providing internships to support of the Ministry of Education’s Cayman Islands Further Education Centre and the Ministry of Tourism’s Tourist Apprenticeship Training Programme.
“We feel that offering opportunities where students can progress their professional learning and development will provide them with the adequate tools to be successful in their hospitality careers,” says Mr. Franco. “With these internships we also seek to foster and cultivate confidence and a strong work ethic.”
The Marriott also supports a number of other organizations, including schools, the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, the National Workforce Developmental Agency, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, the Cayman Heart Fund and the Humane Society.
Some of that support comes from time volunteered by staff members.
“So far, we have invested more than 1,200 hours of community service and we have plans to do so much more,” says Franco.
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa believes in giving back to the community in which it operates, says Marti Trieschmann, the resort’s Director of Sales & Marketing.
“The Westin has supported the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, that meets at our facility, with one hundred percent of the proceeds from our Silent Auction during our property re-launch,” he says. “We also host our First Responders for a luncheon/dinner every quarter to honor those who serve the community. There are several other organizations that we support through gift certificates for silent auctions and in-kind contributions.”
Retail Organizations Make A Difference
Kirk Freeport spreads its community giving across a wide area of Cayman society, says VP Operations Christopher Kirkconnell. Among others, the company sponsors organizations from sports, health, schools and young people in its program of giving.
“We sponsor events and give donations right across the board,” he says. “We run Ice On Ice for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, the Valentine’s Day Mile in aid of Breast Cancer Research… and are the event sponsor for the RCIPS Police Ball.”
Kirk Freeport is also an active sponsor of many sports organizations and events, including fun run events for the Humane Society and Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, flag football, Little League baseball, the Big Game Cayman Rugby Tournament, women’s rugby, and fundraising golf and fishing tournaments.
Diamonds International launched its Make A Difference program where, once a month, employees volunteer to take part in projects around the island. Cleaning up marine debris on Cayman’s shores is one of those projects.
“Our goal is to inspire the community and to increase awareness of the problem,” says On Azriel, managing director of Diamonds International.
Diamonds International has also supported Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the launch of a special pendant to promote awareness. Five per cent of gross sales of the pendant are donated towards breast cancer treatment and research. The island’s animals are not forgotten; Diamonds International also sponsors the Cayman Islands Humane Society.
Magnum Jewelers is another retailer that supports many local charities, including the Cayman Islands National Trust, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Special Olympics, Meals on Wheels, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, the Humane Society and the Police Welfare Fund.
“We are part of the Cayman Islands’ community and feel an obligation to support that community,” says Magnum’s Harry Chandi. “There are many organizations that do essential work in helping segments of the population in need of assistance, or in improving the quality of life here. The government can only help so much, and it’s up to the private sector to fill in the gaps where it can. The willingness of our local businesses to do so is, in my experience, extraordinary, and it’s one of the reasons Cayman is so special.”
Giving Throughout The Community
Although much of the giving is done by businesses, several Cayman Islands residents also give to the community on a personal level, including Joe Imparato and his family.
“It is my belief that we all have an obligation to contribute to the wellbeing of our community irrespective of our economic or social standing,” says Mr. Imparato, adding that his family shares the same values. “I believe that this holds especially true for those who have been successful in their life’s endeavors and have the means to give back to their community.”
Mr. Imparato says that giving back to the community doesn’t necessarily mean writing a check.
“Perhaps the more important part of giving back is contributing time and effort,” he says. “Not everyone can afford to be generous with a check, but everyone can spare some time and effort in giving back.”
Over the past 13 years, Mr. Imparato has contributed time by serving on the Cayman HospiceCare board. He and his family have also been involved in the Cayman Islands Little League, the Cayman Islands Red Cross, the Cayman Islands Humane Society, and Meals on Wheels. Mr. Imparato is also a generous supporter of the Police Welfare Fund.
Mr. Imparato pointed out that Cayman is a small community, akin to many small towns in America and tiny villages in Europe.
“We become familiar with one another and interact on a daily basis unlike those folks living in cities who cannot tell you the name of their next door neighbor,” he says. “How in such a close community can we not all embrace the concept of helping one another in some manner?”
Bodden Holdings Ltd. owns a number of various businesses in the Cayman Islands and its charitable donations support a wide range of organizations.
The directors and managers of the company say Bodden Holdings has always felt strongly about supporting youth sports programs and service organizations because there is a critical need to help Cayman’s young children develop into tomorrow’s leaders.
The company’s belief is that children who develop the discipline required to excel in sports and academics are usually better equipped to succeed in other areas of their lives.
In addition to several schools and learning programs such as the Cayman Islands Youth Services Unit Culinary Program, Bodden Holdings supports youth sports like the Cayman Islands Little League and the Youth Rollerblade Hockey League.
The company also is supporter of many service organizations, including Feed Our Future, Meals on Wheels, Lions Club, Rotary club, Rotaract, and the Kiwanis Key Leader Programme.
Pinnacle Media, the publisher of Grand Cayman Magazine, considers it a priority to give back to the community, supporting numerous charities and fund-raising events.
Pinnacle is a major sponsor of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service annual awards, the Flowers Sea Swim which benefits a variety of local charities, the Breast Cancer gala, and Hedge Funds Care, among others.
Staff members, too, give generously of their time. The Humane Society benefits from the contributions of staffers Jenny Gabruch, Joanna Maddison, and Kate Allenger. Journalist Norma Connolly regularly participates in 5K runs to raise funds for the Diabetes Association, Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Foundation, and Red Cross, among others. Taneos Ramsey, when he’s not designing newspaper pages, can often be seen in the community as a member of the Special Constabulary with the RCIPS.
Vicki Wheaton, an editor at Pinnacle Media, is the emcee at many charity fundraisers.
Over the years, Ms. Wheaton has hosted the Breast Cancer Gala, The Red Cross Annual Dinner Dance, the Cayman Heart Fund Red Dress event, and run the live auction for the Cayman Watercolours Calendar, which benefits the NCVO and Cayman HospiceCare. She also hosts the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s Festival of Trees annual fundraiser.
“All I have to do is step up on the stage and perform for an evening,” says Ms. Wheaton. “They’re the ones who have been doing all the heavy lifting in the months leading up to their events.”