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Financial Planning > Charitable Giving

Advisors Giving Back: Commonwealth’s Nelson Ball Does It All

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[Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series to run over the 2012 holiday season. To suggest an advisor for inclusion in the “Giving Back” coverage, send email to [email protected].]

Nelson Ball A good number of financial advisors give back to their communities with time, services and financial support. Commonwealth Financial Network-affiliated advisor Nelson Ball (left) really, really gives back. Hence, the independent broker-dealer presented him with its Special Service Award recently at its annual conference in San Antonio.

“My favorite story about Nelson’s charitable endeavors revolves around his church, which was long overdue for a fresh coat of paint but was lacking funds and volunteers to make it happen,” shared Commonwealth Financial CEO Wayne Bloom when presenting Ball with the award in early November.

“One Sunday morning, Nelson arrived at services dressed in overalls and a painter’s cap–carrying a roller. He then proceeded to walk down the center aisle and let everyone know what had to be done–and it got done,” Bloom said.

Ball served in the U.S. Army’s counter-intelligence operations during the Korean War. He went into the financial-services business in 1965 and won the Agent of the Year Award from Monarch Life Insurance Co. in 1970.

In 1982, Ball was among the first graduates of a Chartered Financial Consultant diploma and certificate of completion from the American College.

“I’m still having fun with clients I’ve known for 40- or 45-plus years,” said Ball, 81, in an interview with AdvisorOne. “I started my practice in the basement with five kids!”

During his long career, he founded the Rotary Club of Westborough, Mass., of which he was the first president, in 1960. “It’s a really active club,” Ball explained.

Speaking of active, Ball received the Good Scout Award from the Westborough Boy Scouts four years ago. The advisor also worked with a group of local business owners to help launch the Westborough Farmer’s Market, and he supported the expansion of the community’s YMCA as a board member over the past decade or so.

He and his wife of 57 years, Sylvia, have also supported the Pan Mass Challenge, which benefits cancer research, and a host of other causes, including support for a cure for lupus. And best of all, according to Bloom, he helped launch the highly successful careers of advisors–and sons–Daniel and Jim Ball in the mid-’80s.

Was he surprised to be recognized by Bloom at the broker-dealer’s national conference? “Yes, my sons were so devious; they dug through my desk,” he shared. “The only clue I had was that my wife changed her mind and decided to go a few days ahead of the event.”

What’s next for the active advisor and philanthropist? “My granddad worked until he was 98 and lived to 103,” said Ball. “I’m going to beat his record. I love what I do … so I can work and give away a large part of what I make.”

Ball says he has lots to be thankful for and continues to play tennis, as well as the trombone. In fact, he’s featured his musical abilities in a Halloween ad campaign for his practice–along with his two advisor sons. “I’ve got a great family and great-grandchildren!” he said.


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