Five financial advisers and two firms received top honors Thursday night at the annual Invest in Others Awards, formerly known as the Community Leadership Awards, presented by the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation.
The awards program, in its 11th year, recognizes individuals and organizations for outstanding charitable initiatives and corporate philanthropy. About 550 professionals and guests attended the gala at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York.
"The recent catastrophic events in Houston, Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean have brought droves of people together to help those in need, but the financial advice industry is no stranger to this kind of community service," said Megan McAuley, executive director and president of the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation. "This year's finalists and winners demonstrate what it's like to use their skills and talents to serve those in need and address challenges in their communities."
Each adviser winner was a finalist in one of five categories, chosen from hundreds of nominations submitted to the foundation. Winning advisers received $20,000 awards for their designated charities ($25,000 for the Lifetime Achievement Award) and the other finalists received $5,000 each.
Mark Anselmo, president of Anselmo Investment Management in Temecula, Calif., won the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Our Nicholas Foundation, which supports children with autism and their families.
Over the past 12 years, the non-profit has provided the public school autism programs with thousands of items and has created a community center.
The other finalists for the Lifetime Achievement Award were Gerald H. Denney, Jr. of Piedmont Wealth Management for Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, and Ben Sax of Merrill Lynch for the Anti-Defamation League.
William Sparks, an international financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch in Encinitas, Calif., won the Volunteer of the Year Award for the charity he founded in 2008, Los Angelitos de Encinitas.
The non-profit provides after-school programs each year for about 750 local low-income children.
The other finalists for the Volunteer of the Year Award were Jonathan E. Baker of the Jon Baker Financial Group for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Georgia Chapter, and Mary Brooks of Integre Wealth Management for White Pony Express.
The non-profit serves 1,000 poor children every year from eastern Massachusetts, providing summer and school-year programs to third graders through high schoolers. Mr. Reilly has served on the Crossroads board for 26 years.
The other finalists for the Community Service Award were Jim Geraghty of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management for Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps and Jonna D. Keller of First Security Investments, for Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County.
Jody C. D'Agostini, senior partner with the Falcon Financial Group in Morristown, N.J., won the Catalyst Award for her work as the founder of Community in Crisis, which serves as a community coalition and a central hub fighting the heroin/opiate crisis in her local area.
The non-profit focuses on education and outreach through events and informational materials, and programming and training for people who are in recovery, their families, and law enforcement.
The other finalists for the Catalyst Award were Derek Christopher Fiorenza of Summit Group Retirement Planners for Fiorenza's Food For Friends (F4) and Paul Housey of ISTO Advisors for Building Bridges. Link
Michael Thaler, co-founder and managing partner with Equity Concepts in Henrico, Va., won the Global Community Impact Award for his work for Effective Ministries, the non-governmental organization he founded in 2003 to focus exclusively on the needs of the impoverished West African country of Niger.
In 14 years, EMI has raised nearly $12 million and carried out about 100 specialized missions with more than 1,000 volunteers.
Each corporate philanthropy winner was a finalist in one of two categories.