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 5 of 5 highlighting the final three of the 14 stories Investment Advisor magazine received from broker-dealers and advisors.
For years, Jodi Perry, president, Independent Contractors Division, Raymond James Financial Services, has given her all to the St. Petersburg Free Clinic in Florida. Perry first supported the free clinic for several years through donation drives and monetary donations and then joined the board in 2018.
“It’s important to me because of the breadth of services they provide,” she said. “From healthcare and dental care, to feeding families and children who otherwise wouldn’t have food for the weekends, to feeding the elderly who may not have the means or transportation to get food, and then the three residences they have: one for families, one for men, and one for women. Their focus is to help people get back to being independent.”
Seeing the poverty of Haiti inspired Tyson Ray, founding partner of FORM Wealth Advisors, to launch the Ray Foundation, which today is called Children’s World Impact and aims to break the poverty for neglected widows and children around the world.
“On my first mission trip to Haiti, I witnessed firsthand a country overridden by poverty, brokenness and devastation,” he said. “I knew I had to do more to help change lives in impoverished countries. It’s elevated my purpose for who I am, of what I think matters.”
Since its launch, CWI has donated more than $1.6 million, packed more than 1 million meals, built a school and playground for more than 100 orphans, and financed a well, water filtration and packaging facility that created sustainable income for more than 250 widows worldwide.
Todd Sanford, CEO and president of Sanford Financial Services, has worked on Western Michigan University’s Sanford Center for Financial Planning and Wellness since 2015. It opened in October 2018.
The center has a three-fold mission, according to Sanford: increase the number of students entering the financial planning field, provide peer-to-peer counseling with trained upper-level students in personal finance to help them effectively establish and manage a budget with hopes that through proper planning each student will realize his/her dream of graduating with a degree, and assist underserved individuals in the community with basic budgeting/financial planning advice to enhance their opportunity to have a secure retirement.
“We need to improve graduation percentages, have fewer students indebted to a point that it impairs their ability to save, increase the number of planners given the huge wave of retirement forthcoming, and serve those with limited resources who need advice and assistance,” the advisor explained.
Nineteen years ago, Janine Wertheim, president of Securities America Advisors, as well as senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Securities America, became involved with Fresh Start for All Nations in Omaha, Nebraska, “a Christian ministry that helps people work through issues of their heart by learning to live a forgiven and forgiving life,” according to the executive.
Wertheim said that both she and her husband are passionate about helping people rise above their circumstances: “To watch the life-changing transformation of a person freed from the bondage of unforgiveness is so gratifying. Everyone deserves a Fresh Start!”
Kimberly Kropp of Moylan Kropp has been a strong advocate for 17 years for the Iowa School for the Deaf.
“My son was born profoundly deaf, and since that time it has been my mission to help others like him,” she explained. “I serve on the Iowa School for the Deaf Board of Directors and am actively involved in raising money for scholarships for deaf students and helping them to succeed at all levels of education in their lives. These children are brilliant, and all have their own unique gift. The goal is to provide them the best education at all levels, be it elementary, high school, college or trade school.”
(Securities America is owned by Ladenburg Thalmann.)
Sigma Financial Corp. & Parkland Securities, LLC
“Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC, have an award-winning charitable initiative called Support Our Vets, which has provided over $100,000 in funds for veterans’ charities over the last two years. We have been most involved with the Travis Mills Foundation,” said Jerry Rydell, CEO, Sigma Financial & Parkland Securities.
Rydell explained that the cause is important, because veterans “have given so much on our behalf. We believe that giving back is our duty.”
Sigma/Parkland firms have supported veterans’ charities for over a decade, but one in particular, the Travis Mills Foundation, has been a running fundraiser since 2017. “The firm has contributed just over $65,000 for his unique cause,” the executive said.
Supporting that effort is Randy Hoover of Hoover Associates and a Sigma Financial Corporation financial advisor, who enjoys working with a BD that has the same values as his firm.
“My father was a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War and with that, I feel I have developed a deep appreciation for military service,” he explained.
“I am honored to stand with Sigma Parkland Securities in their support of organizations and charities that are centric to veterans who have been wounded. Not only have we heard incredible tales from the battlefront from veterans at our conferences, but we’ve been able to engage in fundraising through outright donations and charitable auctions.”
In 2005, Amy Rehn, senior vice president of Advisory Services at Triad Advisors and chief operating officer of Triad Hybrid Solutions, volunteered for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and never looked back. Her motivation may have started as personal — she is both a mother and wife to type 1 diabetics — but her drive is to find a cure.
“Each year I raise funds for research, then walk a 5k — the JDRF One Walk — in Atlanta with my family and 10,000 other participants to raise awareness about the disease and connect with other families dealing with similar challenges,” Rehn said.
“I believe with enough support we will see a cure in my daughter’s lifetime, turning Type 1 into Type None,” Rehn added.
Advisor Sean DeFrehn, of DeFrehn Consulting, located in Adamstown, Maryland, has been working with The Dwelling Place since 2002. The non-profit supports homeless families in pursuit of self-sufficiency through housing, education, life skills, and career enhancement.
“The immediate and long-care effectiveness of this program on entire families in the community is greater than any charity I’ve ever worked with,” DeFrehn said.
One example to the success of the program is Anne Marie Walker who formerly was a beneficiary of the organization and eventually became a board member, DeFrehn said.
— Check out Investment Advisor magazine’s other Giving & Getting Back stories.