Who Are the Industry's Top Pro Bono Planners?
Financial Planning and the Foundation for Financial Planning recognize life-changing volunteerism with the 2nd annual Pro Bono Planners of the Year Awards.
The trauma families experience when one of their children becomes critically ill is often severely compounded by the ensuing financial devastation produced by high medical bills and loss of work. "I was just struck by how few resources exist to help families in this situation," says Jim Dell, who co-founded a charity in 2011 that helps families of critically ill children at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego. His co-founder is fellow FPA member Jon Beyrer. The Professional Alliance for Children gave planning assistance to 30 families in its first year and is on track to help 60 additional families this year through its growing network of volunteers from the FPA and the local bar association.
Pictured: Planners Margot Dorn, Jim Dell, Jon Beyrer and Tom Young
Operation Homefront, a nonprofit based in San Antonio, Texas, that assists military families with financial problems, estimates that Restivo has donated for than 2,500 hours of her time in the past two years to veterans and active duty military personnel. Mostly she runs workshops training other planner volunteers to work with wounded soldiers and their families. Restivo closed her own practice in 2009 to devote herself fully to pursue her passion of helping people with their financial lives.
Pictured: Kate Fries: a trainee of Restivo, Cathie Restivo, veteran Matt Houston and wife Maria.
In the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, people in the blighted community of Liberty City, Fla., suffered disproportionately.
"They had so many foreclosures, it was horrendous," says planner Helen Simon, who is also a finance professor at Florida International University. "All I could think of was if [the residents there] only knew better."
In response, Simon has helped her university provide basic financial literacy education to more than 700 middle school and high school kids from Liberty City over the past four years. The students received this training through the university's State Farm Financial Literacy Laboratory, which was founded in 2008 with a grant from the insurer. Simon and her team at the lab are the winners of this year's team pro bono award for their contribution to fostering financial literacy in a community in great need of it.
Pictured: Students at Florida International University's State Farm Literacy Laboratory, led by Shaun Hotes (left).
Shenkman's goal has been to make this specialized planning information readily available, for both his wife and the other estimated 130 million Americans who live with chronic disease, often with inadequate financial preparation. In the past six years he has built an extraordinary pro bono second career-while traveling the nation in the couple's airstream motor home-by helping more than 10,000 people to live with and plan for lives like his wife's, marked by chronic illness.
Pictured: New Jersey planner Martin Shenkman with wife Patti Klein and their therapy dog.