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Omaha insurance executive Steve Menzies receives pope's blessing, launches religious foundation
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Omaha insurance executive Steve Menzies receives pope's blessing, launches religious foundation

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Pope Francis was discharged from a Rome hospital and returned home to the Vatican on Wednesday, 10 days after undergoing planned surgery to remove half his colon.

Omaha insurance executive Steve Menzies recently established the St. Francis Day Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to address social issues.

Pope Francis with Steve Menzies

Steve Menzies, right, who is chair of Applied Underwriters in Omaha, met with Pope Francis in late May. The meeting in Rome set the agenda for the St. Francis Day Foundation’s work.

And, according to Menzies, he has the blessing of Pope Francis.

The St. Francis Day Foundation, headquartered in New York City, is being propelled by a $50 million investment from four major investors, including Menzies’ namesake foundation, The Steve Menzies Global Foundation.

The St. Francis Day Foundation is named after the 13th century Italian Catholic saint, Francis of Assisi.

According to a press release, one of the first steps the St. Francis Day Foundation, which Menzies chairs, will undertake is providing vaccines and medical equipment to displaced populations. It also will seek to create educational materials to teach people about healthy use of technology and the dangers of “digital addiction.”

The foundation’s initiatives fall under the umbrella of what Pope Francis and Menzies call “human ecology.”

“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,” Menzies said in the press release. “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.”

On Oct. 4, the St. Francis Day Foundation will hold events around the world to launch its initiatives. Those initiatives will include panels, programs and an address outlining the foundation’s plans for achieving social and civic impact. The initiatives coincide with the date celebrating the saint.

Menzies, who is the chair of Applied Underwriters in Omaha, formed the St. Francis Day Foundation after meeting with Pope Francis in late May. According to the press release, Menzies met with Francis for several hours in Rome to set the agenda for the foundation’s work.


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