Five financial advisers with strong personal commitments to charities were honored Thursday night at the eighth annual Community Leadership Awards.
The awards were presented by the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation and InvestmentNews at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. Anne Mahlum, founder and former chief executive of the nonprofit Back on My Feet, delivered an inspiring keynote speech to an audience of about 400 financial professionals and guests.
"One person has to say something, one person has to do something — [stuff] doesn't happen any other way," she said.
Charitable donations of between $20,000 and $25,000 were awarded to the winners in five categories. Additionally, the charities supported by 10 other finalists each won $5,000. Those honored were selected from 200 nominations.
Bill Dwyer, Invest in Others Charitable Foundation chairman of the board, praised the philanthropic work of all the finalists.
"Our industry must grow the public's trust," he said. "It's helped by sharing the stories of these financial professionals."
Alexandra Armstrong, of Armstrong Fleming & Moore in Washington, won the Lifetime Achievement Award for helping raise more than $10 million for the Foundation for Financial Planning, which provides pro-bono financial planning services. This is the first year this award has been given.
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Armstrong encouraged advisers to consider giving to the foundation.
"With our endowment fund, we can reach people that maybe we can't in our everyday practice," she said.
Other finalists in this category were Jim Richardson of The Richardson Salsman Group at Morgan Stanley in Lexington, Ky., for the Lexington Dream Factory, and John Laurents, a registered representative of Questar Capital Corp. and resident of Matthews, N.C., for the Youth Empowerment Service.
Lynn Phillips-Gaines, a principal of Phillips Financial in Starkville, Miss., won Volunteer of the Year for founding Starkville Bridges Out of Poverty, a three-year-old group aimed at eradicating poverty in Oktibbeha County. It helps educate middle-class citizens about poverty and teach low-income residents how to improve their financial situations.
J. Thomas Uhler, owner of Uhler and Vertich Financial Planners in Fort Myers, Fla., was a finalist in this category for his work with the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties, along with Billy C. Peterson, owner of Peterson Wealth Services in South Ogden, Utah, for founding the Livastride Foundation.
The Community Service award went to Patrick McClain, chief executive of Hanson McClain Advisors in Sacramento., Calif., for his 30 years of service with the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services organization. From volunteer to board chairman, Mr. McClain helped the nonprofit grow to the point where today it provides food for 45,000 people a month.
The finalists in this category were B. Wistar Morris III, a client strategist with Signature advisory firm in Charlottesville, Va., for work with the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia, and Bill Pearson, an adviser with the Pearson Hand & Chua Group and senior vice president at Morgan Stanley in Birmingham, Ala., for serving on the board of the Autism Society of Alabama.
Tyson Jon Ray, founding partner of FORM Wealth Management Group in Lake Geneva, Wis., won the Global Community Impact award for founding the Children's World Impact nonprofit, which provides care and community development for widows and orphans. He created the charity following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where it served patients, built an elementary school and a boy's home, and provided 450,000 meals for orphans, among other support.
David S. Richmond, a partner at Richmond Brothers Inc. in Jackson, Mich., was a finalist in the category for his support of the Lingap Children's Foundation, along with Randall M. Thompson, an adviser with Lincoln Financial Advisors in Houston, for work with Pure Water for the World.
The winner of the Catalyst Award was Michael J. Skrynecki, an adviser with Morgan Stanley in Atlanta, who founded the Wiskott-Aldrich Foundation 12 years ago to support the families of children who suffer from Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome. The foundation backs research projects, conferences and a resource website used by families of those with the rare immunodeficiency disease.
Finalists in the category were Patrick W. Baldwin, a senior vice president with the Baldwin-Marcovici Group in Chicago, for Right Angle, and George Cox, a certified financial planner and senior vice president of the Cox Shook Harsch Group in Seattle, for founding the Alexander Hamilton Friends Association.
"The finalists we honor, and all the hundreds of other financial advisers who were nominated for this year's awards, represent the very best of the financial services industry, committing themselves to serving others and using their unique skills and talents to truly make a difference in communities near and far," said Suzanne Siracuse, InvestmentNews' publisher.
A special report with more details about the winners of the Community Leadership Awards will be featured in the Oct. 13 issue of InvestmentNews.