Advisers' selflessness is humbling

Mar 17, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Frederick P. Gabriel Jr.

Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that means “healing the world.” As I understand it, it means that each one of us is responsible for making the world a better place.

Think of it as the Jewish version of “paying it forward.”

To me, that is what the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation is all about: recognizing financial advisers who recognize the blessings in their own lives and take steps — sometimes big and sometimes small — to heal the world.

For the seventh consecutive year, InvestmentNews has the honor of collaborating with the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation to judge and support the Community Leadership Awards.

The awards honor advisers from brokerage firms and registered advisory firms of all sizes for their roles as volunteers in charitable organizations in their communities.

I am not prone to over-the-top sentiment. That said, I can honestly say that reading the stories found on the award nominations is both inspiring and humbling. Every year, I am struck by how much goodness and selflessness people — in this case, financial advisers — are truly capable of.

“In my 29 years in the business, I have always seen financial advisers to be incredibly philanthropic,” said Bill Dwyer, who is stepping down as president of national sales at LPL Financial LLC to become chairman of the foundation. “By their very nature, financial advisers like to help people.”

At a time when the financial advice business often gets maligned as a symbol of Wall Street greed, the CLA awards “bring to the front all the good work that financial advisers are doing all across the world,” Mr. Dwyer said.

This year's competition features five categories.

• The Volunteer Team Award will be presented to a team of advisers and office staff members for their collective involvement as volunteers for a charity in their community.

• The Global Community Impact Award will be presented to an adviser who has actively served as a volunteer with a charity whose primary mission is to help those who live outside the United States.

• The Community Service Award will be presented to an adviser who has made managerial contributions to a local nonprofit organization as a fundraiser, organizer, board member or other executive position.

• The Mentoring Excellence Award will be given to an adviser who has actively mentored a young adult and has demonstrated the qualities of a role model and a champion for youths in his or her community.

• The Volunteer of the Year Award will be given to an adviser who has actively served as a volunteer at one or more local nonprofit organizations and made a contribution considered to have had a lasting impact.

Three finalists and eventually one honoree are chosen in each category.

The Invest in Others Charitable Foundation will make a donation of $20,000 to each honoree's designated charity. A $5,000 donation also will be made to each of the finalists' charities.

“Oftentimes, financial advisers do not want any recognition for their charitable work, and I often remind them that a nomination for a CLA award is really a way to recognize and support the cause they care so deeply for,” said Kandis Bates, the foundation's president.

An awards dinner will be held Sept. 19 at Cipriani in New York.

If you know advisers who are making a difference in their communities, I urge you to share their stories by submitting a nomination form. The deadline is April 26.

Visit investinothers.org for information about this year's Community Leadership Awards.

Frederick P. Gabriel Jr. is the editor of InvestmentNews. Twitter: @fredpgabriel

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