The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association — the sixth biggest annuity issuer in the United States, in terms of 2019 annuity considerations — says it’s trying to “healing healing and inclusion during this troubled time” by starting a Be The Change outreach program.
Roger Ferguson Jr., TIAA’s president and chief executive officer, said in a message to the company’s clients that the new initiative will help the participants bring their strengths to bear on making things better.
Here’s the full text of Ferguson’s message:
To our clients:
Like so many of you, we at TIAA, TIAA Bank and Nuveen are grieving over the recent senseless and tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We are pained by these innocent lives cut short. Yet we are heartened by the way countless Americans have stepped up peacefully to demand change.
We also recognize that Americans are feeling a wave of emotions at this difficult time — fear, anxiety, anger. We are saddened to see this take the form of violence and looting during peaceful protests in many of our cities. This is not the answer to the important task we face: rooting out racism in our society.
As we contemplate the challenge of these times, we are compelled to affirm TIAA’s longstanding and unwavering commitment to the ideals of a diverse and inclusive society – one in which racism has absolutely no place. TIAA has a long history of actively opposing racism in all its forms, and our resolve is stronger than ever today.
To be sure, our nation has come a long way in addressing the scourge of racism. As someone who started his education at a segregated elementary school, I’ve experienced first-hand the progress we’ve made. Yet the pace has been slower than we’d like, and the long line of tragedies like those we have recently experienced — as well as the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on minority communitiesvunderscore that there’s still much work to do.
TIAA has made diversity and inclusion a cornerstone of our own culture. In doing so, we have aligned ourselves with the values that you, our clients, live on a day-to-day basis through your inspiring work — values that are grounded in the dignity and worth of every human being. To do our part to promote healing and inclusion during this troubled time, we are launching our Be The Change program to uplift our workforce and our communities through dialogue, education, and engagement. We hope our program will help to make a difference in creating the kind of change we all want to see.
The places you work — universities, colleges, hospitals, schools — are leaders in our society in striving to expand diversity and inclusion and bring their strengths to bear for the benefit of all humankind. It’s another way you help to make the world a better place. We are proud to stand with you, and we are committed to continuing to raise our voice, with increased urgency, to push forward toward a more just and equal society.
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. TIAA President and CEO
In related news, two other life and annuity organizations, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and the Insured Retirement Institute, have put out responses to the crisis.
Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker’s message
I spent a good deal of time reflecting on current events over the weekend. I thought about our Nationwide values, how valuing people is intentionally at the top of the list. I thought about our caring culture and how proud I am of the strides we’ve made in cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment. I also thought about the journey ahead, and how it’s imperative that we continue to make progress — both within Nationwide and outside our walls.
The past week has been filled with significant emotion We are saddened, angry and concerned by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and we send our deepest condolences to his family for their loss. We’re alarmed about the destruction in our communities. We are struggling to make sense of everything and determine what we can do to be a force for good and affect change.