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Giving & Getting Back: Ameriprise, Cambridge, Commonwealth

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With the holiday season in full swing, Investment Advisor asked broker-dealers and financial advisors to describe how they have donated time and other resources over their careers. Reading through these vignettes, we have been touched by the generosity of organizations and individuals and impressed by the incredible variety of their non-profit partners.

Here is part 2 of 5 highlighting three of the 14 stories Investment Advisor received from broker-dealers and advisors.

Ameriprise Financial

Brian Mora running the New York City Marathon in 2017 on behalf of Race 4 Chase.

To honor the memory of 2012 Sandy Hook shooting victim Chase Kowalski, age 6, Brian Mora, senior franchise field vice president at Ameriprise Financial, runs marathons, raising money for the CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation, started in 2013 to honor the life of Chase.

According to Mora, already at age 6, “Chase was an avid athlete and particularly loved running and triathlons. Each summer, CMAK takes a group of kids through a triathlon training program, and at the end of the summer, the kids participate in the Race 4 Chase Kids’ Triathlon,” he said.

Since 2013, Mora has completed more than 40 races, including the New York City Marathon and Ironman Florida, to raise awareness and funding for the foundation. To date, he’s raised more than $50,000 for the organization.

Kelly Fox at the Christmas Is for Kids donor center.

For 26 years, Kelly Fox, Ameriprise private wealth advisor, has supported the Greater Attleboro Area Council for Children and is chair of one of the council’s programs — Christmas Is for Kids, a non-profit that helps to make this time “a little brighter for those in need,” she says.

Through this work, Fox raises awareness of the need in the community, encourages hundreds of volunteers and donors to help out and ultimately coordinates gifts for 1,000 local children in Southeastern Massachusetts, ensuring they have new warm clothes and toys. The holidays are meant to be joyful, but for many, the pressure to make ends meet intensifies as the season approaches.

Cambridge Investment Research

Jeff Vivacqua at the Cambridge 2018 Ignite conference presenting a donation to IWIN.

Jeff Vivacqua, senior vice president of marketing at Cambridge, has been on the board of Invest in Others Charitable Foundation since 2016, although he notes that Cambridge has supported the program for years. Invest in Others recognizes individuals and firms across the advice industry that are making a difference by donating their time and money to causes that matter to them.

Vivacqua explained: “By sharing their stories and awarding funding to these organizations, we raise awareness, encourage others to get involved, channel additional resources to those in need, and demonstrate the generosity of the financial advice industry.”

A Walk in the Vines event for Our Nicholas Foundation.

He added that, “We’re also proud of the independent advisors choosing Cambridge who have also been recognized and honored for their dedication in giving back across the country and globally.”

Mark Anselmo, president of Anselmo Investment Management, based in San Diego and Temecula, California, launched the Our Nicholas Foundation in 2005, with his family, following his son Nicholas’ diagnosis of autism.

The purpose of the foundation is to increase autism awareness and provide support for education, work opportunities, therapies, families and social programs that “enrich the lives of children and adults with ASD,” according to Anselmo. “Our hope is that we will provide those on the spectrum and their families the tools they need to thrive.”

To raise awareness, the non-profit holds a Walk in the Vines for Autism. It also has organized other activities to help fund 3,000-plus items for local special education classrooms, four sensory integration rooms, peer buddy programs, play dates, support groups and sports leagues (including Kick With Nick soccer, one of the largest autistic leagues in the country).


Jeffrey Scales (center) at the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City supporting his Riverkeeper work.

Jeffrey Scales, managing principal, JSA Financial, in Rhinebeck, New York, has been involved with various charities for the past 10 years and recently was awarded Commonwealth’s Special Service Award, an honor given out each year at Commonwealth Financial Network’s National Conference that recognizes an individual who has made an impact and personifies the core vision and values of the firm.

Although he supports many non-profits, Scales is most actively involved with Rotary International, which focuses on global service work via the local high school’s Rhinebeck International Club, as well as Riverkeeper, for which his firm serves as a major corporate sponsor and manages an annual cleanup site.

With Rotary International, he enjoys taking “high school students to experience firsthand both the poverty and the joy of Nicaraguans as they live with families and construct school classrooms,” he said. For Riverkeeper, where he serves as an ambassador and committee member, “The Hudson River is the core of water protection efforts worldwide and is my personal connection each day to the beauty of nature that deserves and requires our stewardship,” the advisor explained.

He also is a co-founder and past president of the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and a member of the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, and he serves on the advisory board of the Center for Environmental Policy at Bard College.

— Check out Investment Advisor magazine’s other Giving & Getting Back stories.

Ginger Szala is executive managing editor of Investment Advisor. She can be reached at [email protected]. Janet Levaux is editor-in-chief of Investment Advisor. She can be reached at [email protected].


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