Recognizing Advisors Who Are Making a Difference

Pro Bono Awards Logo 2017

Call for Nominations! The Pro Bono Awards recognize the community service work of advisors who have contributed their time and talents to help those in need take control of their finances. Winner’s charity will receive a $5,000 grant.

Boost Your Brand, Support Those in Need

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Join Investopedia’s free Advisor Insights platform to help unlock a five-figure contribution in support of pro bono financial planning.

With an understanding of the power of giving back, the Foundation for Financial Planning and Investopedia have teamed up to provide financial advisors with an avenue to support pro bono financial planning while simultaneously promoting their practice and expertise to millions of investors online.

How can you help unlock a donation to the Foundation for Financial Planning?

1. Join: Sign up for free access to Advisor Insights by clicking here. Be sure to use this link to apply so that the Foundation can get credit for your activity.

2. Contribute: Once your profile is live, answer an investor question on a topic like retirement, personal finance, taxes and more – OR publish an original article*.

3. Spread the word: Tell your peers and colleagues about this limited opportunity! Once 100 new advisors join and contribute to Advisor Insights, Investopedia will make a major gift to the Foundation in support of its mission to deliver pro bono services to people in need.

*Investopedia can publish pieces you have already posted to your own website but cannot publish content that is already on any third-party site.

“We are thrilled to partner with Investopedia on this campaign. Share and sharpen your professional expertise while also giving back — it’s a win-win for the growing network of financial advisors who understand the critical importance of pro bono planning.”

– Jon Dauphiné, Executive Director


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We Did It!


Thank you to the generous donors who together contributed $575,000 as part of our ambitious 2016 matching campaign, with all gifts matched dollar-for-dollar by the Charles Schwab Foundation. These critical funds will allow us to significantly increase our impact by supporting worthy pro bono programs and the volunteers who fuel them.

THANK YOU to the following donors for helping us cross the finish line!

Angelo, Gordon & Co.
Alexandra Armstrong, CFP®
Sandra L. Bragar, CPA, CFP®
Ilene Brostrom, CFP®
Larry W. Carroll, CFP®
Bernie Clark
Gregg E. & Tiffani Clarke, CFP®
Ron Cordes
Jon Dauphiné, Esq.
David H. Diesslin, CFP®, MBA
Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff, CFP®
Laurie Dubchansky, CFP®
Sharon Duncan, CFP®, MBA, AIF
Edelman Financial Services
Susan Ferris
Patricia J. Filbrandt, CFP®, CLU
Michael P. Fitzhugh, CFP®, CPA
FPA National Capital Area
Thomas D. Giachetti
Joseph M. Gordon, CFP®
Kenneth Gott, CFP®, CPA
Marilyn M. Gunther, CFP®
Timothy Harrington, CFP®
Joseph W. Jacques, CPA/PFS, CFP®, RFP®, ChFC®, CLU®
Philip O. Johnson, CFP®
Scott M. Kahan, CFP®
Viktoria Kamin, CFP®
Kevin R. Keller, CAE
Susan L. Kendall, CPA, CFP®
Lisa Kirchenbauer, CFP®, RLP®
Michael E. Kitces, MSFS, MTAX, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, RHU, REBC, CASL
Jack T. McCord, CFP®
Nathan Mersereau, CFP®
Mary Moore, CFP®
Sharon Nasstrom, CFP®
Nicholas Nicolette, CFP®
Stephen O’Hara, CFP®
Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc.
Lawrence Pon, CPA/PFS, CFP®
Quest Capital Management, Inc.
Jennifer B. Quigley, CFP®, CASL
Christopher Rivers, CFP®
Peggy M. Ruhlin, CPA/PFS, CFP®
Joseph Sachetta, CPA/PFS, CFP®
Pamela S. Sandy, CFP®
Lauren M. Schadle, CAE
Richard & Karen Schaeffer, CFP®
Joshua C. Schefers, CFP®
Eileen M. Sharkey, CFP®
Anne Shim, AEP®, CFP®, EA
James Stueve, CFP®, CIMA
Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros, Blayney
Laura Tarbox, CFP®
John Totten, CFA
The Van Scoyk Family Foundation
Curt Weil, CFP®
Stewart H. Welch, CFP®, AEP

Giving pro bono financial advice can provide hope in these divided times


This has been a crazy year. The election divided the nation as the candidates argued over who could best champion the interests of the middle class, especially those who are struggling economically and feel left behind by globalization and technological change.

The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule roiled the industry as debate continued on the ethics of the advisory profession’s compensation models and standard of care toward investors. And this year’s scandal involving a major financial institution’s inappropriate sales practices further eroded the public’s trust in the financial service sector’s integrity. Conflict and controversy have consumed much of the national conversation.


The Foundation for Financial Planning exists to catalyze this work, to power pro bono financial planning by providing more than $6 million in support to local organizations and, with our partners, activating more than 15,000 volunteer planners over the last 21 years. As a younger profession, financial planning does not have as lengthy a pro bono tradition as law or medicine, but many planners joined the profession to help people and are eager to lend a hand to those who otherwise could not access services. Our survey of pro bono planners this year reveals this commitment:

• More than half of survey respondents provide one to two hours of pro bono service per month, with almost 10% providing more than 10 hours.

• About 60% said they had no preference between leading educational workshops and providing one-on-one counseling, but of those who did, three times as many (30%) preferred giving one-on-one advice.

• Almost 46% said they had no preference between providing a one-time session versus multiple meetings with the same person, with the rest splitting 2 to 1 in preferring one-time sessions — indicating a perceived need to balance pro bono with ongoing professional duties.

• A whopping 89% of volunteers said they were more likely to do business with a company that visibly supported pro bono, with 38% “a lot” more likely.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of planners say the main reason they volunteer is to “help people who need it most.”


But given the dire need that so many underserved people have for objective, expert financial advice, we are currently only scratching the surface. In these uncertain times, in this holiday season, I challenge you to think about how you might give back. Here are some ideas:

1. Contact your local Financial Planning Association chapter — many have pro bono programs serving vulnerable members of the community and could use new volunteers.

2. If you are a certified financial planner candidate, consider providing pro bono planning services to satisfy part of your experience requirement.

3. Talk to your employer about supporting pro bono activity in your community by, for example, informing the CFP professionals at the firm that they may provide service as an “outside business activity,” providing guidelines and crediting a few pro bono hours as time worked.

4. Explore the nonprofits that help vulnerable people in your community and recommend that they expand or adopt programs incorporating free financial planning — the foundation may be able to support them with a grant.

The bottom line is that your engagement in pro bono can help deepen the profession’s commitment to service in the public interest while providing you with satisfying opportunities to help others who are less fortunate.

One volunteer planner recently told me that he wasn’t sure what he was getting into when he began to volunteer at a local nonprofit; he had only ever worked with high-net-worth clients. But he was struck by the impact he could have and by how much his pro bono clients appreciated his help. He worked with one client, a struggling cab driver, for more than a year — helping him conquer his debt and eventually buy a home.

The planner told me with a smile, “He said I was the reason he realized his dream.”

Won’t you join us in powering pro bono financial planning?

Jon Dauphiné is executive director of the Foundation for Financial Planning.


A Special Thank You to Our Veterans and Volunteers

Sgt. Tony Doyle’s life was forever changed when he was severely injured while on tour in Iraq. Watch his family’s incredible story of courage and resilience, and discover how pro bono financial planning helped them reach financial freedom.

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