The financial market collapse in 2008 prompted attitude adjustments in the financial industry. Some firms cancelled reward or incentive trips for top-performing advisors.

At Commonwealth Financial Network, the group decided to put their advisors to work. It began performing community service projects that inspired it to create Commonwealth Cares, a philanthropic foundation. The goal of that group, Commonwealth said in a statement on Thursday, is to provide the time, talent and financial support to a wide range of charitable efforts. Commonwealth Cares currently has a little under $1 million to support its initiatives, according to Wayne Bloom, chief executive officer of Commonwealth Financial Network.

In 2009, for instance, Commonwealth Financial Network turned a Winners Circle Conference—one of its annual reward trips for high-performing advisors—into a community service trip. During its 2009 Winners Circle, the group visited the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County in Marco Island, Fla. Advisors, home office staff, and guests painted the pool area, scrubbed the gym bleachers, and power-washed the cement around the building.

“Advisors have earned these trips,” said Bloom. “ There has never a bigger need for them to be together and to network. We thought ‘how about in each city we’re going’, gather them all together and do a service project.” When the Winners Circle went to Bermuda in 2010, the group refurbished the Lefroy House, an adult medical day center, Bloom said.

Although Commonwealth Cares was just formally announced, it is already set up to allow advisors to donate to it through automatic commission deductions, support charities that advisors are already involved with, and the staff is getting the word out by talking to clients, Bloom said.  

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