The American College, the nation’s largest nonprofit educational institution devoted to financial services, recently announced that Bryan Clontz has been named as the first Leon L. Levy Fellow in Philanthropy for 2014. Clontz will work to research and promote the best practices of philanthropy, with a particular focus in assisting advisors and nonprofit gift planners collaborate to better serve the needs of clients and donors.
Q: Congratulations on being named the Leon L. Levy fellow in philanthropy. In your view, what separated you from other candidates for this honorable position?
A: Thank you. I have been active with The American College in various ways for nearly 20 years, but the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy program (CAP) and work has always excited me the most — it’s unique in that it’s the only designation that’s devoted entirely to helping advisors and fundraisers collaborate to unleash the generosity of wealthy clients in the estate planning, gift planning and financial planning processes. When the Fellowship came up, the College’s goals almost perfectly matched my current work and interests so it was a perfect fit. I am honored to have been selected, but frankly, am even more humbled the more I learn about Mr. Levy’s success, vision and philanthropy.
Q: How did you get into the philanthropic field?
A: I started as a college life insurance agent in Charleston, S.C. In the “you can’t make this up” category, my very first Chamber of Commerce cold call was to the John Ancrum SPCA. I will never forget how easy it was to set the appointment up, and he even told me that he had been waiting for me to call. During my meeting, I quickly discovered that he thought I was another person who had previously convinced them to have a board meeting on planned giving. The problem was this person didn’t call back and the meeting was only a week away. So I said I would be happy to do it, raced home to read everything I could on the topic, and then made the presentation the next week after my corporate finance final. They became my first client. I couldn’t believe there was an area of financial planning where people could give assets away, basically using redirected tax dollars, to the charities they loved. I have never looked back and have loved every minute of my charitable work.
Q: As the Leon L. Levy Fellow, what are some of your initiatives that will benefit the advisor community?