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Aetna, The Hartford, Travelers CEOs pledge $50 million to help the City of Hartford

HARTFORD -- In a recent op-ed piece in the Hartford Courant CEOs of Aetna, The Hartford, and Travelers put their money where their mouth is when committing to the capital city.

Mark Bertolini of Aetna, Christopher Swift of The Hartford and Alan Schnitzer of The Travelers Companies, Inc., run three of the largest private-sector employers in Hartford. The piece, published Thursday morning, promises $50 million over the next five years to improve the Hartford Public Library, law enforcement and recreation centers.

"This financial commitment comes on top of our already sizable tax and philanthropic contributions," they wrote. "However, this assistance is conditioned on being part of a comprehensive and sustainable solution for Hartford — a solution that allows the city to stabilize its finances and support quality services."

"Working in partnership with Mayor Bronin, we believe a healthier and stronger city is within our grasp," they said.

CEO of the Hartford Library Bridget Quinn-Carey said she was thrilled to hear this comes with a focus on the city's libraries, especially after facing a fate of almost having to shut down some branches, last year, due to the budget crisis.

"We are the place that's open to everybody and we serve everyone," she said. "We really invest in the future, we invest in making sure that children can be successful at school, that teens have a safe place after school and that adults can build their skills or find employment," she said. "Knowing that there's stable support for multiple years enables us to plan in a way that we hadn't had the benefit of doing so it means we can be more thoughtful about the programs and the services that we offer and it gives us a tremendous level of peace of mind knowing we'll be able to deliver the great services that we do."

At a press conference, Mayor Bronin said this move by the CEO's reflects the recognition of the importance a strong capitol city plays to the region, to the state, and to their businesses.

"These are three companies that have long history in this city that have large employee bases in this city and I think this is their demonstration to the commitment of the city that they each call home," Mayor Bronin said.

Mayor Bronin said the companies made it clear, this move is conditional on their being a comprehensive sustainable solution.

"I give the mayor a lot of credit for asking for help and looking to the large employers to come together and help him solve some of the cites financial problems," The Hartford CEO Christopher Swift said.

Swift said he's hoping this move encourages other businesses to step up and help the city.

You can read the full op-ed here.

In response to speculation about Aetna leaving Hartford, a spokesperson wrote: "We remain headquartered in Hartford, and we're committed to our employees here, who continue to be an important part of our future."