AIG has been committed to bettering its communities from the organization’s earliest days. Then, as now, that commitment often focused on education. AIG has long accomplished this goal by providing opportunities for employees and their families to gain knowledge of the world.
When Nelle Vander Starr—aunt of Cornelius Vander Starr and an early executive of the business through which AIG traces its roots—passed away in 1941, records show that a fund in her name was planned to support women’s education. Starr himself provided similar assistance when he came across someone with immense talent and a need.
Starr was an avid skier, and in 1951, while chatting with the owner of a Japanese ski shop, Chiharu Igaya walked into the store. Igaya, a competitive skier, was headed to the 1952 Olympics in Oslo, Norway, but he couldn’t afford a long stay there, the owner told Starr. Starr knew what to do next: He paid for Igaya and his teammates to travel to the host city and acquaint themselves with the landscape there months prior to the Games.
After the Olympics, Starr supported Igaya with his studies at Dartmouth College. Determined to show his gratitude, Igaya joined Starr's business in Japan and stayed with the company for 49 years, rising to honorary chairman of his division before retiring in 2008.
This dedication to fostering young talent continued. In 1987, the company introduced the High School Diplomats Program, which sponsored Japanese high school students visiting the United States. In 1994, the program expanded, giving U.S. students a reciprocal experience in Japan. More than 2,000 students have graduated from this program, which continues today.
AIG continues to support similar educational opportunities across the globe. In Kenya, it built classrooms in a poor community to help students complete their secondary education. In the United States, a scholarship in the name of former employee Eldon Stevenson benefits children of Nashville employees who attend Vanderbilt University.
In 2008, AIG developed a partnership with Junior Achievement, a nonprofit that helps to teach children about financial literacy.
AIG is always learning and adapting to help others navigate the world ahead. Supporting educational opportunities paves the way for the next generation to find success and shape the future.