News and Press
August 18, 2021

Business Leader Steve Menzies Will Head Worldwide Foundation to Address “Human Ecology,” Following Meeting with Pope Francis

Cornerstone funding to establish the St. Francis Day Foundation has been committed by the Steve Menzies Global Foundation in support of efforts to address pressing human and social issues

Pope Francis with Steve Menzies

New York, New York -- August 18, 2021 -- Marking the sixth anniversary of his landmark encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis expressed his keen interest in seeing his encyclical’s focus, “human ecology” translated into action. During a May 26th meeting in Rome, the St. Francis Day Foundation, a nonprofit organization set to serve mankind through a series of mandates was born, as the Pope gave his blessing to a groundbreaking global effort.

The new Foundation will be chaired by insurance leader, Mr. Steve Menzies, Founder and Chairman of Applied Underwriters, long an exponent of care for injured workers, of public diplomacy and strategic philanthropy, who met with the Pope for several hours at his residence in Rome to set the agenda for the Foundation’s work.

Mr. Menzies has committed a cornerstone grant from the Steve Menzies Global Foundation to set the organization, New York operation, staffing and initial project funding, as other benefactors join with pledges of support. The use of a foundation format follows the examples of the Pope’s predecessors who have dealt with social issues from the vantage point of Christian and universal ethics to realize societal and spiritual wellbeing across continents and ages.

On October 4, 2021, St. Francis Day, the Foundation will hold events around the world to launch its initiatives addressing advances in the service of human ecology. Panels, programs and an address outlining the Foundation’s plans for achieving social and civic impact as set forth in the words of the encyclical and by the enduring example of Francis of Assisi are set for that date, the day upon which Francis is celebrated each year. The Foundation will advocate respect for civil discourse and civility, for our natural world and for the plight of the disadvantaged through medical, educational, cultural and social initiatives.

Among the first activities underway are the provision of vaccines and medical equipment to displaced peoples, and the creation of curricula and studies that seek to place technology into a context that offers perspective to the young and to those in danger of digital addiction.

Foundation plans also include establishing regional centers in major cities on each continent to serve as operational bases for the Foundation’s work. The Foundation’s board, currently in formation, will include leaders from the worlds of academe, diplomacy, commerce, the arts and public service.

Mr. Menzies stated: “As responsible insurance executives whose companies pride themselves on having a “good soul” at the center of our commerce, we have identified “human ecology” as a useful, broad outline of the real environment and society in which our policyholders and our staff work each day. Insurance does not exist in a void nor in a pure financial sphere: risk is heightened when social instability and socially acceptable behavior are compromised. More than that, our use of technology must be measured for its long-term human and societal impact. There are so many ways in which human ecology affects our business that the leadership of the new Foundation seemed to be a service to our industry as a byproduct. The new Foundation, in collaboration with the Steve Menzies Global Foundation and the other benefactors who have begun to step up, will bring concern and answers about human ecology across the world. My staff and I feel privileged to play meaningful roles in the success of this undertaking and its mandates.”

Mr. Menzies observed: “This entire initiative derives from the words and works of one of history's greatest exponents of peace, brotherhood and respect for nature: Francis of Assisi. These realities were treated in the Encyclical form in the 21st century by a holy man of foresight and depth, seeking to tackle the social issues of the day in a meaningful context. Much like many of his predecessors, from Pope Leo XIII and his care for the dignity of the worker – a cause especially close to me as a corporate leader and insurer of workers’ wellbeing – to Pope John Paul II and his fierce opposition to conflict and the subjugation of so many of the world’s peoples by dictatorial regimes, today Pope Francis moves to influence the world's thought leaders and to shepherd its citizens with a message of fraternity, reverence for our world and a higher standard of civil behavior. It is a central mandate for us all.”

For further information contact:
Ryan Gerding, Public Relations, at +1 (913) 602-8531 or at, or visit

About the Steve Menzies Global Foundation ([] (,newTab))
The Steve Menzies Global Foundation is a non-profit organization that takes a creative, constructive view to solving grand scale problems related to societal issues, economic issues and intellectual advancement. The Foundation engages Bold Thinkers from its worldwide network of individuals willing to apply and generously share their energy, intellect and resources to solve complex problems that risk going unsolved.

About Applied Underwriters
Applied Underwriters® is a global risk services firm that helps businesses and people manage uncertainty through its business services, insurance and reinsurance solutions. As a company, Applied Underwriters has been distinguished by its innovative approaches to client care and by its strong financial strength. Applied Underwriters operates widely throughout the US, UK, EU and Middle East. Its operational headquarters is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

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