Finalist: RICHARD S. BROWN
Why would 11,000 Minnesotans jump into a frozen lake in the middle of winter?
“It’s for a great cause and it’s fun,” said Richard S. Brown, leader of one of the largest Polar Bear Plunge teams raising funds for Special Olympics Minnesota. The state chapter’s 21,000 volunteers and 32 employees support some 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Mr. Brown, chief executive of JNBA Financial Advisors in Minneapolis (primary custodian TD Ameritrade), was inspired to get involved with Special Olympics many years ago by a Special Olympics athlete’s speech.
“He talked about teamwork, competition and playing fair,” Mr. Brown recalled. “He said, ‘If you can change your thoughts, you can change your world.’ There was great impact coming from someone who had great challenges.”
Mr. Brown’s enthusiasm and financial leadership have resulted in dramatic fundraising success: Participation and donations have increased by 45% every year for the last five years. He recently expanded his team to a new city, rallying university students and staff members, city officials and citizens to come out in support.
“As financial advisers, we create success not only for our clients but our communities by listening, learning, helping and leading,” he said.