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 4 of 5 highlighting three of the 14 stories Investment Advisor magazine received from broker-dealers and advisors.
Serving communities globally is how John Vanderheyden, executive vice president-head of strategic initiatives at Kestra Financial, volunteers. For 13 years, he has worked with Tanzania Life Project and currently is on its board of directors. The charity raises funds in the United States to build deep water well systems in central Tanzania’s remote villages.
“My parents started this organization after traveling to Tanzania to help restore an inoperable well,” Vanderheyden said. “Tanzania Life Project is the result of them seeing the joy on children’s faces as they experienced clean water for the first time.
“The impact of clean water goes far beyond the reduction of disease and improved physical health,” he explained. “It changes the social and family dynamic by reducing time to fetch water (down from as much as nine hours a day) and allowing more time to be with family, attend school, and/or run a business to generate income. It’s been a privilege to partner with others across the globe to help make clean water a reality and to witness the life-changing results.”
Joe Vartanian, managing partner of Gate City Advisors, says that when one of his best clients suddenly lost her husband to cancer in 2012, he felt moved to launch Now What? This advocacy group for widows provides emotional, spiritual, physical, financial and social support, which Vartanian saw was lacking for many individuals.
“It became increasingly clear to her that there was not sufficient support for the widows of Guilford County, North Carolina,” he said. “There was the typical eight-week grief-share program that dealt with emotions, but no program or organization that she could go to and get additional emotional support (after the eight weeks), professional counseling, vetted resource providers to service widows, spiritual support, physical health and well-being advice, financial advice or the availability of an organized social network of widows.”
After conducting some researching, Vartanian learned there were about 52,000 widows in Guilford County. “We decided to start Now What? — a network for widows — in 2014,” he said.
The organization has grown to more than 325 widows, who benefit from its lunch-and-learn events, concert series, Bible studies, counselling services and resource providers. “Our five-member board has raised over $100,000 for programs associated with the above support areas,” Vartanian added. “Last year, Subaru awarded us with a $37,000 check for the Subaru Share the Love Event. We have plans to expand the available programs and continue adding services for our widows.”
If any charity has been busy this year, it’s been the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross serving North Florida.